From a distance the white and red cabbage bulbs sit neatly in rows. The crinkled leaves of the cabbages seem to protect the bulbs from the scorching midday sun. From this quarter acre farm Eunice Kapinda makes an average of USD $40 every season. As a single parent, this money is sufficient to support her three children.
Eunice received cabbage seedlings, among other seedlings, through her membership in the Ntembo community conservation group in Mushota ward, Kawambwa district. The group is a beneficiary of AAH Zambia’s Sustaining Environment and Natural Resources in Kawambwa District (SENARK) project in Luapula province. SENARK’s main objective is to support activities aimed at reversing and mitigating the negative impact on the environment and improving natural resources management for improved livelihoods. It is funded by the Civil Society Environment Fund with the support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland.
Kawambwa district like many other areas in Zambia, has borne the brunt of the effects of environmental degradation and poor natural resources management. The main challenges in the area include land degradation leading to poor quality soil, deforestation and forest degradation, soil caused by a lack of ground cover and pollution, unsustainable farming methods and a lack of entrepreneurship skills and limited livelihoods.
This state of the environment in Kawambwa has aggravated poverty levels, especially among the rural population. The rural population, being largely dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods has suffered decreased productivity and increased food insecurity. In turn levels of malnutrition among children have continued to be high. Statistics show that the stunting and wasting rates among children below the age of five is as high as 50% in Luapula Province.
Two of Eunice's children happy to get new school books
Before Eunice joined Ntembo Community Conservation Group in May 2016, she had challenges supporting her family as a single mother. Members of the group were trained in conservation farming methods, use of the energy-saving cookers, tree planting and the integration of nitrogen-fixing plants in her field.
SENARK targets rural communities that are experiencing poverty and exclusion, and are faced with high levels of environmental degradation in Kawambwa. These include viable poor women, men, youth and children, chronically ill (including HIV and AIDS infected and affected) individuals, the aged and disabled people.
From the farm savings Eunice is exploring rearing goats in order to be completely self-reliant in the near future. Eunice is thankful that AAH Zambia is supporting the communities through various interventions that improve lives.