How we work

GardenAfrica is the only UK organisation specialising in horticulture for social development in Africa.

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  • GardenAfrica operates alongside knowledgeable and trusted partners to build local capacity and to guarantee appropriate, safe and thoughtful delivery of donor support. Our small, professional team remains responsive to the ever changing realities of people, their communities, and their environment.
     
  • Together, our work fosters self reliance by training people to grow species for food, fuel, medicine and/or fibre with the most efficient use of water, soil and other available resources.
     
  • We equip people with the skills to train others, to select and breed plants for particular traits: be they to improve nutrient content, soil fertility, drought tolerance, pest resistance, visual appeal for market, durability for transportation and shelf-life, or for their medicinal/pesticidal properties to make biological sprays and powders to reduce crop and post-harvest losses.

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Our approach

We believe that the conservation of socially, ecologically and economically important plants is essential for sustaining human health and well-being.

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  • Our work is grounded in agro-ecology to find appropriate and low-cost solutions to alleviate poverty and environmental degradation which undermine nutrition health, and food and livelihood security
     

  • Drawing on the best scientific, traditional and indigenous knowledge, our approach aims to both alleviate dependence on expensive synthetic or proprietorial inputs, and to improve livelihood options through the development, use and sale of these locally generated resources.
     
  • The majority of those we train go on to train people in their communities, while others set up small businesses.

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Our techniques

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Identifying appropriate horticultural practices

We identify appropriate horticultural practices which draw on the best scientific, indigenous, and traditional practices to restore damaged ecosystems for the sustainable production of food, fibre, medicine, and energy.

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Facilitating the exchange of information through training

We facilitate the exchange of information through training to increase capacity for knowledge and skills sharing within and between generations, leading to diversified production and market access which increases resilience and enhances livelihood opportunities.

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Learning lessons by listening to people we work with

We make sure we are always learning by listening to people we work with, and by collectively monitoring the effectiveness of our approaches and evaluating their impact on participating communities, the environment that sustains them, and the policies that might enable them.

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Improving understanding of interactions between people & plants

We disseminate learning about the interactions between people and plants to promote understanding of links between the resilience of an ecosystem and of the human populations that depend on it for health, income and shelter.

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Advocating plural development approaches

We advocate policies and practices that recognise the need for plural approaches to persistent development challenges. We promote the rights and responsibilities of people to make informed choices about the conservation and use of their productive assets.

 

From my garden we now have money for electricity, and I have a phone. My husband now trusts me, and even gives me the money to take care of. My children see that I am a responsible parent. They are healthy and I can now afford to pay for them to attend school. They are all expert gardeners and help me a lot.
— Ncobile Mkhonta
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