Week 4 has got off to a flying start here in Bulawayo. The Restoration of Hope team have been busy all week working with local schools on a whole host of topics; HIV/AIDS, Sexual Reproductive Health, Child Rights and Income Generating Activities just to name a few. 

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Never has a saying been more appropriate for our team based in Nkulumane. This week we’ve been working on a start-up IGA (Income Generating Activity) project with Mcumbatha, a local Secondary School. The project is based on a sustainable fish farming model, which enables the school to have a continuous supply of fish for the foreseeable future. The only cost incurred is the start-up cost of materials, and a dozen or so fish which are expected to reproduce relatively quickly. 

At the moment we are working with a pre-existing group of children who the first and second cycle of ICS Volunteers worked with on another IGA project, and have formed a new group of children to take ownership of the Fish Farm project. Over the coming weeks we will be combining practical field work and classroom based learning in our sessions. It is our hope that the children will get a good understanding of the importance of IGA’s and use their new found knowledge to set up other IGA’s in their school and the wider community.

At the moment our practical sessions have been pretty intense. We’ve spent most afternoons digging the pit for our fish pond. Not an easy feat in 30 degree heat! The children have been really enthusiastic about getting involved, and put all of us to shame with their physical ability.

Over the course of the next few weeks we hope to lay down the plastic sheeting, gravel, and get the water into the pond – and of course the fish! Once we get the fish in it should be relatively easy to feed them as the school has its own maize field, and the fish can also be sustained with chicken droppings – which we’re told are in constant supply from their chicken coop. We are also going to invest in some water based plants, which should hopefully help to oxygenate the water meaning it doesn’t need to be replenished too often. When the fish reproduce the school will then harvest and sell them to the local community in order to generate some money for the school to use towards activities, resources and educational trips.

Aside from the Fish Farm project, we’ll also have been working with the children on the Herb Garden IGA project which was established by the volunteers from Cycle 1 and 2. At the moment the Herb Garden isn’t in a good enough state to plant anything, as over the course of the holidays the ground condition deteriorated so we’ve been working hard to get it back on track. With the help of the pupils and their enthusiastic teacher, Mr Mtambara, we’ve identified two plants/herbs they’d like to grow and sell: Aloe Vera and Mint. 

Although there’s a lot of work to undertake, we’re all really confident that with hard work from ourselves and the pupils we’ll be well on the way to running a successful IGA. 

Written by Jonah Bacon