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Field Trip: 1-4 APRIL 2014, Report by Julious Piti

What changed in your life after eco-community training in Chikukwa 2013?

 Introduction and overview

There were 16 farmers in Murehwa on 2 April, during the monitoring trip to the group that was trained by CELUCT in October 2013. The people gathered under a tree, telling their stories of change. We visited 8 projects sites that showed and told their story of change in context. I saw water harvesting schemes developed, nurseries for mangoes and indigenous trees, trees planted in the indigenous forest in the mountain, compost heaps from crop residues that could have been burned, pit beds, swales and bee keeping project developed. The people were able to talk about future projects that would help to strengthen and improve the wetland, for example protection the top part of the wetland. However there is a big challenge if this task is to be accomplished: proper facilitation, planning and monitoring is needed. The project is not a short-term project, it involves 60 families and needs careful planning so that people will work together. Lots of training on natural resources management, permaculture and building community relationships needs to be carried out in the near future. We really need a practical training for three days or four on different sites, with proper preparation so that the impact is felt by the larger group of families living on this wetland.

Figure 1 Murehwa team on project tour

Names of the people at the meeting

1.       Takesure Hwatera – Secretary of the head woman Gladys Gutu

2.       Simba Tendai –Police man for the head woman

3.       Gilbert Gutu and his wife

4.       Thomas Gutu

5.       Mr Mangwende Chief-Trainee

6.       Trust Zvomuya- Trainee

7.       Petros  Makuwatsine–Trainee

8.       Abedenigo Gutu Trainee

9.       Tinashe Gutu

10.   Iden Chengere (son) son of Headwoman Gutu

11.   Gladys Gutu the headwoman.-Tranee

12.   Ivin Zvomuya -Trainee

The meeting started around 1pm on the 3 April at Gutu village ward 8, Murehwa in the wetland under an indigenous forest.

On a sunny day, the spot we were sitting was cool due to the plants that were providing shade, making the air fresh.

The headwoman Gutu was the first to tell her story of change.

Story 1: Gladys Gutu

“Despite the death of my son in-laws during the period after training, we managed to use organic manure to grow maize on dry land cropping area by just carrying the manure and spread in the field.

Started reclaimed one of the gully in the wetland by developing swale from the top to harvest the water into the ground while spreading the water and sink it.

We organized 3 acre land to be developed, to become community orchard and indigenous forest mixed farming food forest in the wetland.

We have reduced the use of chemical poison in our vegetables and chemical fertilizers in our garden, this reduces water poisoning and on 26 April 2014 Chief Mangwende the paramount chief of Gutu is ordering the organic vegetable for his ceremony.

The people are more united and we are able to discuss our problems more openly although we still have internal conflicts with people who cut the forest.”

At her home she has planted 4 apples trees, 8 avocado, 4 bananas.

“We would like to improve our wetland area by protecting the area from cattle and planting more trees around the wetland area and for that we need training and resources to achieve our goal.”

Story 2: Trust Zvomunya

Figure 2Trust Zvomunya Seeds fro the training raised as seedlings

Figure 3.Trust Zvomunye background of his home

“We carried some seeds and plants after training in Chikukwa, I planted 1 avocado, 3 wattle trees, 4 mango trees, 3 apples, one orange tree, 2 pawpaw trees,  I was using organic matter and compost to grow maize and that proved to work for me. The maize were intercropped with cow peas and pumpkins.”

Story 3: Ivin Gutu Chiyengerere

“After training I planted one orange, 4 apples, 3 pawpaw trees, we organized a permaculture committee that is responsible to monitor and administer permaculture activities in our area and our permaculture club name is called Japachapa. We are busy trying to develop tree nurseries of mango and other indigenous trees. The club needs to fence an area of three acres that we would like to protect young plants from grazing cattle as an orchard. We would like to fence the area away from cattle and goats.”

Story 4: Petros Makuwatsine

Figure 4 Crop residues turned into compost

“After the training I was able to develop water harvesting schemes from my door steps of five pit beds. I used organic fertilizer from the forest and from the kitchen to an area of 50m by 50m. I’m growing vegetables with less poisons such as, peas, beans, peas.”

Story 5: Abednigo Gutu

Figure 5 Bee keeping promising

“After the training, I talked to my parents who sent me to train in Chikukwa as a report back and we improved the secret forest above our home by replanting several other indigenous trees and suprus trees.

We identified companion plants in our orchard and gardens; I planted bananas, tomatoes, in my orchard as mixed cropping. We are now making compost from the cow dung that we did not use much before.”

Story 6: Father of Abednigo, the headwoman’s secretary

Figure 6 Abedenigos' father, proud of his son who went to learn in Chikukwa

“After my son went for training we improved our orchard, we added apple trees, mango seedlings, other indigenous tree seedling. We target to plant and expand our indigenous forest. The idea is to harvest the water so that we can reduce soil erosion.

Story 7: Mr Hwatera

Figure 7 Community trainer by nature Mr Hwatera

We are now using inter- cropping in our garden, planting rape with tomatoes mixed with onions. Onions repel some insects and they all do not share the same disease therefore, I use small land to produce more food.”


Figure 8 Taken last year same place on the (left taken April 2014, right taken 2013)

He has four by 50m long swales that are aligned to harvest water from the steep slope; the swales protect his home, and some swales harvest water from his home into his field bellow. The water harvesting scheme is well-done, there is a sign that he started with these swales long back before Chikukwa training but this can be a relevant venue for a follow up training workshop.


Recommendations following monitoring trip

1.       Follow up workshop in Murehwa for three days with Chikukwa farmers (at least 3 farmers from Chikukwa).

2.       Follow up should include lots of practicals on the land: at least three sites on water harvesting, tree planting, compost making, use of herbs, organic pest and disease management, conflict resolution that include traditional knowledge systems.

3.       Topics to be discussed: conflict resolution, history of land use design in this wetland and how they want to improve the wetland as a community. Compiling of integrated land use plan for the wet land which must come from the people.

4.       Participants should include major stakeholders in the wetland such as Agritex, Environmental Management Agency representatives and community.

5.       Facilitation team must be well prepared and well equipped with enough training materials for three to four days.