CBO members receive training in rainwater harvesting, home g ... , Seychelles © Elke Talma / MFF Seychelles
In the context of climate change, extreme weather events such as droughts and floods occur at least once a year in Seychelles. Women tend to be the head of households and thus they are often at the forefront of responses to natural disasters at the household level. Perseverance Villages 1 and 2 are villages in a newly developed housing area and residents come from various districts and from all walks of life and backgrounds. They have yet to constitute a genuine community where there is security (including food security), safety, and support mechanisms. . The overall goal of this project was to reduce the impacts of climate related shocks (specifically water shortages) on food security, personal safety and security of households headed by women living in Perseverance Villages 1 and 2, and to empower these women with the knowledge, skills, and tools and to promote sustainable living.
Residents of Ile Perseverance are beginning to see the first signs of the effects of climate change, through extreme weather events, such as prolonged droughts, frequent flooding events or severe storms. More than 50% of households are headed by women in Seychelles and they are at the forefront when houses, livelihoods and lives are damaged or destroyed by natural disasters.
The Perseverance Villages 1 and 2 are built on reclaimed land and the 2 housing estates comprise of residents from various other districts and from all walks of life and backgrounds. They are yet to constitute a genuine community where there is security, safety, support and love and care. Presently, there is no real sense of belonging and nurturing for all persons living in the neighbourhood.
Residents of Ile Perseverance 1 and 2
A community-based organization (CBO) was set up on Ile Perseverance with the main aim of providing support women engagement in community activities.
Members of the CBO benefited from various capacity building exercises and various networking activities, allowing members to share experiences and knowledge.
A community nursery was set up and is being maintained by members of the CBO under the supervision of a technical expert, with additional support from private sector donations, fostering a sense of ownership. Produce from the community nursery are being sold, allowing the CBO to earn an income which is used to not only keep the nursery going but also support the school.
GEMPlus struggled to recruit participants for capacity building activities due to stigma associated with being classed as “vulnerable” or even “single”. Eventually, they had to revise their approach within the community and include both men and women in project activities.
A number of technical experts were hired under the project to assist with capacity building sessions for CBO members in rainwater harvesting, home gardening, composting and food processing. Given the limited space available for home gardening within the low income housing estate, a community nursery was also set up at the primary school.
The community nursery, would not have been possible without the support of home gardening expert, Mr Gabriel Prudence, who worked tirelessly, and without pay, with CBO members every Saturday morning to maintain the plants in the nursery. His passion for planting motivated a core group within the CBO to give up their Saturdays too. In October, the CBO had a stall at the National Agriculture Bazar and got good reviews for the quality of the plants on sale as well as their professionalism. Another, Bazar is being planned for December and the CBO are working tirelessly to replenish their stock. This is indicative that the CBO is likely to be sustainable, i.e. will continue to operate post project period.
It is crucial that the correct technical expert is identified to assist where relevant and that they have a good rapport with the community to ensure the success of project implementation.
A community-based organisation was set up under the MFF funded project, allowing members to benefit from capacity building sessions in rainwater harvesting, home gardening, composting and food processing. Technical experts were hired as necessary, but in the case of the home gardening expert, a strong rapport was established with the community and together they set up a successful community nursery at the primary school. Income is generated from the produce sold and these funds not only supports nursery maintenance but also CBO activities and school activities.
A Community Based Organisation (CBO), “Perseverance an Mouvman” was created, with members actively involved in project activities.
• An Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the CBO and the Perseverance Primary School, building partnerships and providing structure for long term collaboration.
• A community nursery was set up and is being maintained by members of the CBO with additional support from private sector donations.
• Produce from the community nursery are being sold, allowing the CBO to earn an income which is used to not only keep the nursery going, but also support the school.
• CBO members received training in to promote awareness about climate change, and learn about rainwater harvesting, home gardening, composting and food processing. These are now being implemented in their respective homes and has resulted in monthly expenditure saving or increased household income.
• CBO members participated in networking events with other organisations, sharing experiences on sustainable practices.
Maggie Estico is a 55 years old wheelchair bound grandmother and has been a resident of Perseverance Village for the past five years. Maggie was born on Diego Gracia, a British Indian Ocean Territory, and was forced from her native island home in the late 1960’s and displaced to Seychelles with very little of her personal possession to sustain her through the transition.
Despite her disability, Maggie is one of the most active beneficiaries of the community based organisation “Perseverance an mouvman”. She attends all sessions and when she was absent, its usually because she has been hospitalised. Despite her latest surgery, Maggie spends all of Saturdays in the community nursery. “I am at peace when I am at the nursery. When I am at home, I feel burdened and have to keep thinking about my health as well as other issues happening in my life, but at the garden I am at peace and once busy everything else does not matter,” says a smiling Maggie.
Maggie has a reputation for preparing the soil. “She just has a way with mixing the soil with manure in preparation for planting. She does it extremely well,” said Beryl Dookley, CBO chairperson. “A lot of people are afraid of the soil and say it’s dirty, but I want them to know that soil is the source of all life on earth,” explained Maggie.
Maggie is keen to develop her home garden further now that she has her rainwater tank. “I am waiting for my surgery to heal and then I will be planting. I cannot wait to do! My grandson is also very keen,” said an excited Maggie.
Produce for from the community nursery. , Seychelles © Elke Talma / MFF Seychelles
Ile Perseverance, Seychelles
1st Dec 2017 to 31st Oct 2018
Gender and Media Association of Seychelles (GEMPlus)
Gender and Media Association of Seychelles (GEMPlus)