Climate change, food security and child protection

Heather Chimoga Orphanage) located in Murehwa, is a beacon of hope for many children who have lost their parents. The orphanage is dedicated to supporting these vulnerable children through various projects focused on ensuring their well-being, particularly in terms of food and education.

In 2018, Mr. Mukondwa, the Director of the orphanage, had a wonderful opportunity to participate in our comprehensive two-week training program, I Was Hungry. During the program, he learned various skills and concepts to help him better manage the orphanage. Since then, he has been successfully applying the farming concepts he learned at the center to create a better environment for the children under his care. Mr. Mukondwa’s dedication to the implementation of the training concepts has significantly improved the lives of the children and staff at the orphanage.

For the 2023-2024 farming season, Mr. Mukondwa’s plots faced a challenge due to the El Niño weather phenomenon. However, he managed to overcome this challenge by implementing mulching techniques. Mulching helped to retain moisture in the soil and protected the plants from extreme temperatures, which ultimately ensured a successful harvest. This harvest is now set to sustain the orphanage by providing much-needed food for the children under their care.
To further enhance the food sustainability project, each worker at the orphanage was assigned a plot to tend to. Twelve plots were cultivated, each contributing to the overall goal of ensuring that the children have a constant and reliable source of nutritious food.

Child protection is a vital part of HCOC’s work. During a speech at a field day celebration, to mark the successful harvest, the Director explained that the organization’s research has found that many cases of abuse, particularly among orphans, are linked to insufficient food in households. To address this issue, the organization has implemented livelihood-based social security measures, including providing fees and lunchtime meals at schools where most of the orphans are placed. However, the challenge lies in ensuring that food is also available at home to prevent children from being lured outside the orphanage or their homes with food.

The organization believes that farming and child protection go hand in hand, as farm produce can provide families with the means to provide for their children’s needs. Efforts are also being made to eradicate child marriages and prevent abuses that arise from the inability to meet children’s basic needs. Hence the organization encourages individuals, parents and guardians to establish their own Pfumvudza Plots to promote self-sufficiency and food security.

 Mr. Mukondwa emphasized the importance of mulching and sustainable farming practices. “This is the time to harvest mulch before people burn it,” he said, urging others to not waste this valuable resource.

Chrispen Edieti, a staff member at the orphanage, also commended the orphanage for their dedication to serving the children. “Let’s all give back to the community by taking care of the children so that God can continue to give more to us,” he said. He also encouraged others to implement a Pfumvudza plot in their gardens, highlighting the success that can be achieved through sustainable farming practices.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Agritex, and other public services at the district level, Heather Chimoga Orphanage Care continues to implement various aspects of agricultural development to ensure the sustainability of their projects. By embracing different approaches to farming and community engagement, the orphanage is setting a positive example for others to follow.

Heather Chimoga Orphanage Care stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when passion, dedication, and community spirit come together. Through their commitment to supporting vulnerable children and promoting sustainable agriculture, they are not only changing lives but also inspiring others to do the same.

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