The Siyazisiza Trust was awarded a grant of R 900,000 from the Wesbank Fund to cover a range of activities that would set the foundations for a four-year Food Security and Agricultural Livelihoods initiative called the Masilimeni Programme. The primary goal of this programme is to grow a resilient network of micro-farming households and micro-farming hubs in each targeted community by 2019.

Central to this year’s activities was the undertaking of a Baseline Study that would be used to monitor and evaluate programme activities over the next four years. LIMA Rural Development Foundation was contracted to undertake this study on the Trust’s behalf.

As well as the above study, funding was set aside under the application to undertake nutritional and environmental awareness. Siyabona Creative Learning Trust was contracted to present nutritional awareness training that was very well received by our beneficiaries. At our request, it focused heavily on the nutritional value of traditional food crops as a precursor to promoting the use of these crops in the coming four years.

The Wildlands Conservation Trust was contracted to undertake environmental awareness training and mentoring. This too was very well received and has begun to set the scene for introducing more sustainable approaches to agriculture.

The first year of the Masilimeni directly benefitted 1,260 beneficiaries, many of whom we have seen increased levels of awareness of the value of good nutrition and a healthy environment.