Sharing knowledge on the use and conservation of water for food production

Amanzi for Food Online Learning Network

This Learning Network was established in March 2022 with initially 26 members from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia. In the Amanzi for Food Training of Trainers Course we introduce the idea of Learning Networks and decided to create a different Learning Network for course participants and individuals that’s completed the online course. The Learning Network provides a space in which members can seek advice from one another in RWH&C and related sustainable agricultural practices. As with all Learning Networks, the purposes will evolve and change over time depending on the members’ interests and the activities in which they become involved. It will be the members themselves who decide which topics or issues they wish to share with each other and take further.

In the course we say that Learning Networks are “where different stakeholders in the farming sector, including farmers, farmers’ associations, extension officers, education and training institutions, NGO personnel and others come together to learn about and implement new practices.  In the WRC Amanzi for Food project the initial focus for learning networks is on RWH&C practices, but they can agree to open discussion and collaborate on any other issues in which they have a shared interest. Learning Networks are essentially collaborative groups, sharing a range of different experiences, skills, understandings and resources with each other.  They can use social media, such as WhatsApp to communicate amongst themselves and collaborate on practical activities.  Collaboration can only strengthen everyone’s learning and increase the chances of developing viable productive demonstration sites. These sites can then be used to spread the interest in and understanding and use of RWH&C practices to others.”

Below are the profiles of some of the network members

Job Tjikongo

Country: Namibia

Province/Region/District: Kunene region

Position: Ecologist, Conservationist and Educator at EduVetures Trust a non-profit organisation in Namibia under the ministry of Education, arts and Culture.

Main focus of work: Research and Environmental education.

Main interests in RWH&C: Water conservation strategies, sustainable agriculture and local water harvesting methods.

Key expectations of AfFLN: I expect partnership with group members in various projects, and knowledge sharing with everyone on AfFLN group.

Key contributions I can make to the Network: My contribution will be the sharing of knowledge, participate in most discussion when available.

Khuthala Swanepoel

Country: South Africa

Province/Region/District: Western Cape Province

Position/Organisation or self-employed or unemployed: Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning (DEA&DP)South Africa

Main focus of work: Support Local Networks relative to Environmental Education/ESD initiatives Support Food Security Initiatives at School & Community Level through Education. Connect people to work Together in a Region. Provide Support on Capacity Building through collaboration.

Main interests in RWH&C: Support RWH & C for food production in the context of formal education through curriculum development or  integration. Extension support through training programmes for communities.

Key expectations of AfFLN: Draw relevant knowledge that can support local networks better on RWH & C. Learn and share knowledge on Change Projects relative to Food Security..

Key contributions I can make to the Network: Many years working with farmers and others in resource management. A reasonable understanding of RWH&C and other water management practices. Extensive experience in capacity building and capacity support across a range of disciplines.

Lawrence Sisitka

Country: South Africa

Province/Region/District: Eastern Cape

Position/Organisation or self-employed or unemployed: Self-employed; Research Associate, Environmental Learning Research Centre, Rhodes University
Main focus of work: Capacity building in natural resources management, including in agriculture, and terrestrial and marine conservation. Supporting the development of individual and collective agency in rural communities for addressing their many challenges.

Main interests in RWH&C: Developer of AfF Training of Trainers course; Part-time farming – collection and use of rainwater as primary source of water for the farm.

Key expectations of AfFLN: a platform for sharing ideas and experiences related to RWH&C, and other key issues affecting small-scale farmers and rural populations. Also a way for people to provide support to others in establishing productive demonstration sites and in other activities.

Key contributions I can make to the Network: Many years working with farmers and others in resource management. A reasonable understanding of RWH&C and other water management practices. Extensive experience in capacity building and capacity support across a range of disciplines.

Samuel Agden Itana

Country: Namibia

Region: Oshikoto Region

Organisation: Ministry of Education

Main focus of work: Hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from LINGUA College. Serving as Administrator in Omuthiya Circuit Office responsible for School’s management in the Circuit Official routine correspondence between schools and Regional offices Capturing of Educational statistics annually. Stock Control board member in the Region, during my free hours I run a backyard garden at home growing vegetables and fruit trees.

Main interests in RWH&C: As a black child, I grew up in an environment where rain water is a source of everything in terms of food security and human consumption. Therefore, my passion in Agricultural activities is very high. My interest in RWH&C is to grasp knowledge and ideas on how to harvest and make use of the rain water wisely.

Key expectations of AfFLN: Guidance and information on how to secure food security through Agricultural activities.

Key contributions I can make to the Network: Be part of the discussion contributing with the little understanding I have required and experienced throughout my life journey

Fortune Tafrenyika

Country: Zimbabwe

Province/Region/District: Manicaland and Masvingo provinces (covering Zaka and Chivi Districts in Masvingo then Buhera and Mutare Districts in Manicaland)

Position/Organisation: Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Specialist working with Environment Africa (NGO)

Main focus of work: Increasing community resilience to shocks and stresses in the face of climate change through improving household food, nutrition, and income security.

Main interests in RWH&C: Rainwater harvesting and conservation structures as means to achieve better crop and livestock production and ultimately better yields

Key expectations of AfFLN: to network with other AfFLN members share ideas on current technologies which can assist the rural farmers to earn living in the face of climate change.

Key contributions I can make to the Network: bringing vast experience in the implementation and mentorship of resilience designs to the learning network

Khuthala Malundana

Country: South Africa

District: O. R. TAMBO District, Eastern Cape Province

Position: Programmes coordinator for Food Security

Organisation: Development Education and Education leadership teams in action

Main Focus of Work: Doing workshops on agro ecology for small scale farmers around O. R. Tambo District. Provide support through capacity building

Main interest in RWH&C: To share and do demonstrations with small groups

Key expectation of AfFLN: To solve problems and share new information

Contributions I can make in the Network: Share agro ecology knowledge and experience with small scale farmers.

Dr Wilma van Staden

Name: Wilma van Staden

Province/Country: Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

Organisation: Environmental Learning Research Center, Rhodes University

Main focus of work: Climate-Smart Agriculture, Environmental education mediated through Information Communication Technology.

Main interests in RWH&C: Shortage of water and the quality of water is a major concern when faced with climate change. RHW&C practise are essential to improve our resilience and adaptation to climate change.

Key expectations of AfFLN: Connecting with people, sharing knowledge and providing support to other members practicing RWH&C and other Climate-Smart sustainable agricultural practices.

Key contributions I can make to the Network: As part of the Amanzi for Food Team I will keep the group up to date on new information and events. I will also be there to answer questions and provide support.

Dr Nomfundiso Louisa Giqwa

Country: South Africa

Province: Eastern Cape

District: O. R. TAMBO

Position: Retiree/ Pensioner

Organisation : Unemployed

Main focus of work: Hold a Doctor of Philosophy in Education from Rhodes University. Serving as an External Council Member in a TVET College, Member of the Academic Board, Supporting teaching and learning. At home doing homestead farming: Vegetables, Poultry and starting with sheep farming.

Main interests in RWH&C: Interested in developing some of the different ways of conserving rain water contained in the RWH&C documents . I want to later be able to assist other people to develop their own.

Key expectations of AfFLN: Visit those demonstration centres already developed and be assisted to develop mine.

Key contributions I can make to the Network: I can assist AFFLN with the knowledge of growing Xhosa chickens/ imileqwa. I can also assist in extending our territory by assisting others to learn about RWH&C.

Sarah van Lingen

Country : South Africa

Province/Region/District : Eastern Cape

Position/Organisation or self-employed or unemployed : Work on a Contract Basis for Rhodes University ELRC. I promdominantly work within the online course development space – working alongside ELRC colleagues to develop and facilitate online courses Main focus of work: Work on online learning and developing networks within online learning spaces. The focus area of my work has been on rain water harvesting, small scale farmer development. I have also recently been doing working within the Education for Sustainable Development sector.

Main interests in RWH&C : Water has long since been a passion of mine. I live on a farm and understand the importance of water. I also have a strong passion for community development and Network development. I feel that we are all part of communities and can only achieve great things when working to together with one another.

Key expectations of AfFLN: I hope to learn from my fellow network members, learning about what they do, how they do things and best practices in the communities around me. I look forward to the opportunities for collaboration in this Network.

Key contributions I can make to the Network: I might not have a large wealth of practical knowledge and content, however I believe I can contribute through facilitation of conversations and supporting of dialogue and discussion in this network.

Ishmael Makwaeba

Province/Country: Gauteng/South Africa

Position/Organisation: Regional Manager  (North) Socio-Economic Development Division; South African National Parks

Main focus of work: Community development, environmental education and awareness

Main interest in RWH&C: On-Demand natural resources needs and possible initiatives to harvest, store and retain longer for optimal utilisation which equals sustainable conservation practice. The practice also talks to multiple responses to human livelihood needs and environmental crises such as global warming.

Key expectations of AfLN: Networking, the establishment of community pf practice and co-learning.

Key contribution I can make to the Network: Experience in the field of environmental interpretation and education, community development in the biodiversity arena and integration of these practices with technology as a Certified Google Educator with a passion for the improvement of teaching and learning practices.