THE VICTORY GARDEN CAMPAIGN
HELPING FIGHT THE FOOD CRISIS IN MALAWI

Helping 150,000 Villagers Ward Off Famine
by Cultivating High-Yield Low-Cost Home Gardens

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March 2017: Congratulations to Khombe village for surpassing 75% of families having gardens in less than 8 months!

THE CRISIS

In Malawi, villagers rely on a once-a-year maize (corn) harvest — a non-native crop — to feed themselves through the year. With frequent floods and droughts, families often cannot grow enough food to feed themselves. In 2016-17, Malawi faced its worst food crisis since 1985 as its maize harvest registered a 42% decline, and a state of emergency was declared because half the nation’s population needed food assistance. 

One typical farmer, Kalekeni Chiundo, said his April 2016 maize harvest amounted to 1 oxcart, or about $34. But his expenses for seed, fertilizer, transport, bags and other items totaled $115 — a net loss of $81. In debt and with scant food supplies, Mr. Chiundo didn't know how he'd feed his family.

Above: Mr. Kalekeni Chiundo and his wilted maize harvest

 

THE LAUNCH OF THE CAMPAIGN

F2F's Victory Garden Campaign provides long-term relief to Malawian farmers like Mr. Chiundo by teaching them to bring food-growing into the villages and next to their homes. As villagers transform the barren earth by their houses into small, lush gardens that continuously produce food, families begin winning their own war against hunger and extreme poverty. 

Built on several years of pilot projects, F2F launched the Campaign in July 2016. Kicking off with three weeks of community-led events in three tribal districts near Lilongwe, activities included garden demonstrations, youth sporting events, song and drama events, and home garden workshops.

 

HOW IT WORKS

Working closely with the tribal chief leadership structure, the Campaign uses peer-to-peer training to put new farming knowledge into the communities. In short, F2F picks the most motivated villagers and trains them to be Victory Garden facilitators. As of May 2017, over 105 FACILITATORS have received advanced training on how to create and maintain multi-varied, productive home gardens using permaculture, organic, and bio-intensive gardening practices. 

After receiving their training, facilitators then conduct 1-day VILLAGER WORKSHOPS to teach groups of 25-30 villagers about home Victory Gardens. Participants must create at least one garden on the day of their workshop.

Facilitators conduct VILLAGER WORKSHOPS every month, and encourage and inspire people to reach out to relatives, neighbors, and friends to start their own gardens, generating a collective sense of inspiration and motivation as villages across Malawi learn that they can grow enough food to eat. The goal of the Campaign is to create enough Victory Gardens to benefit over 150,000 villagers by the beginning of 2019.

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Facilitator workshops train local villagers to teach their fellow villagers how to create gardens.

Villager workshops, led by their local facilitators, teach groups of 30 people how to create home gardens.

Large public events help spread the word, as well as give others the chance to show off their gardens

PROGRAM EXPANSION

JUNE 2017: TANZANIA (tentative)

In June 2017, F2F will travel to Tanga, Tanzania, to hold home Victory Garden workshops in these rural communities.

APRIL 2017: MOZAMBIQUE (tentative)

In April 2017, F2F will hosts a team from Mozambique's Gorongosa district to develop possible plans to bring Victory Gardens to their communities.

FEBRUARY 2017: PHALOMBE, MALAWI

In February 2017 F2F partnered with the Ekari Foundation to bring the Campaign to Phalombe in southern Malawi. With the help of 4 of our facilitators, 35 Phalombe villagers created low-cost high-yield Victory Gardens. In the meantime, friendships were formed and a promise was made that all 225 families in the village would have gardens by July 2017.

DECEMBER 2016: NHKATA BAY, MALAWI

In December 2016, with the help of 3 chair facilitators, F2F taught Victory Gardens to 21 chiefs and leaders from TA Fukumaphiri in Nhkata Bay in northern Malawi. 23 gardens were created, with plans for the 21 participants to help create hundreds more in the coming months.

 

February 2017: Villager workshop in Phalombe

December 2016: Villager workshop in Nhkata Bay

THE HISTORY OF VICTORY AND HOME GARDENS

Victory Garden Campaigns during World War I and II rallied American and British citizens to grow their own food at home. In 1943, 20 million gardens produced 40% of all vegetables grown that year in the U.S., enabling more resources for the war and galvanizing a whole nation behind a common cause. More recently, the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization has facilitated home garden projects in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Niger, Somalia, Lesotho and Algeria.