Meet Mody, an elderly widowed farmer from southern Zimbabwe who is helping to re-green her farm and local environment thanks to training and support from Dabane Trust, our partners in the region.

Mody Nyathi (pictured) is 81-years old and hails from Mahlokohloko Village in Gwanda District. She has put into practice the theoretical knowledge on environmental conservation that she acquired from training workshops with Dabane.

“I am an intelligent old lady! After the workshops, I did not waste any time and implemented what we had been taught. There is no soil that is lost in my fields as I practice climate-smart agricultural principles. My children now also practice conservation farming which they learnt from me.”

Mody Nyathi, farmer from Gwanda District, Zimbabwe.

According to a 2015 land use mapping survey that was conducted on Mody’s area using Google Earth, there is excessive land degradation in the region. The baseline survey also revealed that indigenous grasses like ‘umadodlwana’, ‘uqethu’ and ‘uhatshi’ need to be resuscitated as they were now scarce due to erosion and overgrazing.

Before Mody started conservation work, she survived on food handouts from her children and rain-fed agriculture where she harvested low yields of around 7x50kg bags of cereals. The harvest used to last her an average of five months.

Later in 2015 though, Mody attended training workshops through Dabane on environmental conservation and management, as well as climate-smart agricultural practices to equip communities with knowledge and skills on how to promote vegetation and crop production suited to their environment.

Mody actively participated in the workshops and action planning meetings that were held, spearheading the conservation of the environment and water for improved food and water security in her village.

Through knowledge acquired, Mody helped to bring back indigenous grasses, that is, “uqunga and umadodlwana” that were slowly becoming extinct in Gwanda. The former is used for thatching, while the latter for making brooms. She dedicated a few plots over 1 hectare in size to the growing of these grasses. Community members then started flocking to her in search of thatching grass and she realized she could earn an income from her conservancy work.

In late 2016, Mody managed to sell over 80 bales of thatching grass at $2 each in one season. Her passion for conservation of the environment has led to improved food and household income. The income generated from the sale of her grasses has enabled Mody and her family to supplement their diet and pay for meal costs.

The grass also conserves water and reduces erosion and run-off in her farmlands leading to further improved yields. She can now harvest up to 20x50kg bags of cereals. Mody affirms after all of her grafting:

“I am an intelligent old lady! After the workshops, I did not waste any time and implemented what we had been taught. There is no soil that is lost in my fields as I practice climate-smart agricultural principles. My children now also practice conservation farming which they learnt from me.”

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