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 October 2017, over 120 Facilitators have continued conducting scores of workshops in villages in 7 tribal districts that have taught thousands of families how to create and maintain home victory gardens.

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 & Campaign updates

December 2017: Phalombe, malawi

On December 5, 2017 F2F's chair facilitator team from Lilongwe traveled back to Phalombe to meet with their team leaders. They conducted 5 workshops and created 180 gardens in one day.

The total number of gardens in Phalombe is now 598.

november 2017: phalombe, malawi

In November 2017, the F2F team from Lilongwe traveled twice to Phalombe to help the Chair Facilitator Team conduct its first garden workshops and organize its first public outreach event in which 14 village headmen and nearly 100 adults came to learn about the Campaign. 

The F2F team also finished its baseline household food security survey, interviewing all 120 villagers who participated in the first 4 garden workshops. The survey captures data concerning agricultural productivity, hunger and nutrition, and gender relations. We included gender relations because we anticipate that the Campaign will result in men taking more responsibilities with these home victory gardens, overturning the prevailing attitude that activities by the home are solely the work of women.

February 2017: phalombe, malawi

In February 2017, F2F partnered with the EKARI Foundation to bring the Campaign to the Phalombe district in southern Malawi. With the help of 4 of our facilitators, 35 Phalombe villagers created low-cost high-yield Victory Gardens.

We are thrilled to announce that we are now expanding the Campaign in the Phalombe district. We kick off more victory garden workshops this November with the aim of creating 15,000 home victory gardens that produce food for 50,000 people within 2 years.

This Campaign is supported by the The Charitable Foundation and its Australian partner, Action on Poverty.

TANZANIA (tentative)

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

MOZAMBIQUE (tentative)

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

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.

 

December 2017: Newly created victory garden as a result of December workshop.

November 2017: First event for, and hosted by, the local villagers who were trained to be victory garden facilitators

November 2017: Phalombe facilitators and one of the 60 families who learned how to create a victory garden

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.