The initiative had provided rainwater harvesting tanks (with a capacity of 5000 litres) to 1000 households in the Inanda, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu and Mzinyathi areas by the end of 2009. The tanks supplement the use of greywater for the irrigation of home gardens, and can also provide backup drinking water for areas without access to piped water. It also enables beneficiaries to expand their gardens to improve food security and provide opportunities for generating additional income. Along with the rainwater tank, households were provided with gutter systems, and supply taps at the base of the tanks.
Households were chosen for the project on the basis that they were some of the most vulnerable community members, and showed evidence of existing food gardens (ie. Showing application and commitment to growing crops). Beneficiaries then received a one-day formal practical training workshop in how to establish and manage homestead gardens. They were also given tools to help establish these, including a hoe, organic compost, seed trays, seeds and seedlings. Beneficiaries also received training in how to develop their own compost, but additional organic compost will be provided by the eThekwini Water Treatment Works to active gardeners. Mentoring and support was provided to these households, and assessment was undertaken after several months. Active gardens were rewarded with additional compost and seeds.
Local contractors attended accredited training workshops, and were used to install the ferro-cement rainwater tanks, including bases and lids. An accredited training programme was also developed for area agricultural facilitators or “champions”. These champions facilitate linkages between gardens and the Municipality; and between gardeners and potential markets. Temporary job opportunities were also created for plasterers, plumbers, storemen and community facilitators.
Thus, the project enabled numerous households to be able to access sustainable supplies of water to irrigate food gardens. This helps to increase their food security, and enables them to access a source of income. Other job opportunities were provided for local community members through the construction of the tanks; through ongoing monitoring and assessment of the home gardens; and through facilitating the links between gardeners, and the Municipality and potential markets.