Poor HIV+ patients eat cow dung

Discussion in 'News from around the damp planet' started by Michaelangelica, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

    May 2, 2006
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    By Solomon Mondlane

    “Some HIV positive patients in Swaziland are so poor they have resorted to eating cow dung before taking anti-retroviral drugs...”
    This news article disturbed me and I vowed to be one of those to make a difference in this Kingdom - helping schools and communities to grow their own organic food gardens for improved nutrition and health with the available resources.
    “Phezu kwemkhono MaSwati!” I am calling upon every Swazi citizen to come on board. Together we can! Permaculture and organic farming turn problems into solutions that work for us.

    “Heal the land – Feed the nation!” Modern farming often uses strong artificial chemicals which work against nature. Permaculture looks at things in a completely holistic way, in accordance with the laws of nature.
    One of the principles of permaculture is, “Work With Those Who Want To Work.” We are not going to force anyone to be part of this project. No matter how small we are, as long we are committed to feed our families, victory is certain.
    FTFAs EduPlant programme, funded by ABSA, Engen and the Woolworths Trust is excelling in South Africa. We continue to share school success stories that we hope will motivate and encourage Swazi schools, business and government to replicate these.
    Toronto Primary School, just outside Polokwane, has been part of the EduPlant family since 2002, winning the mentoring schools category in 2008. All 1 394 learners are fed a healthy, nutritious meal each day thanks to the fresh produce grown in the garden, such as cabbage, spinach, onions and carrots. Surplus is sold to the local community, helping to raise funds for the school. The driving force behind this very successful project is principal, Alwin Kgopa.
    “I was introduced to EduPlant by an official from environment affairs and attended a workshop,” she explains. The course was a turning point for Kgopa. When she returned home she knew precisely what she needed to do to make not just the Toronto School garden a success, but to inspire others to become involved in the project and learn more about permaculture.
    “It took a couple of years of struggling with the concepts and attending more workshops before the idea really took hold. In 2002 Toronto was one of the winners of the competition and I attended a two-week permaculture training course. After that it became my passion”, she says.

    Rasekgokga Sabina, a learner, says, “EduPlant has taught us how to grow food without damaging the environment and we can get more food from the ground.”
    Learners and educators help the community members to start similar projects and backyard gardens without the use of chemical insecticides and pesticides.

    The school also uses permaculture as a tool to educate and create awareness around climate change. Fruit and indigenous trees a are planted and they make people aware that whenever they cut one tree it must be replaced with ten trees or more.
    Toronto recycles paper, tins and glass. Burning of garbage is avoided at all costs and organic waste is composted. They use electricity wisely, are involved in energy audits at the school and learners work with solar panel stoves as an alternative to gas or electric stoves.
    They have a water wise garden, using mulch and harvested rain water. Learners audit how much water is used in a heavily mulched garden as compared to an unmulched one. The school uses grey water to irrigate trees.
    “The learners love the garden,” Alwyn beams proudly. “They love the food it produces. They know that by eating healthy food they become strong and healthy, and are able to garden for themselves. With that knowledge they will never go hungry!”
    Dikolobe Primary School in Limpopo Province was the Provincial EduPlant winner in 2010. They also placed second in the Climate Change Leadership Awards in the Climate Hero Category in 2011 for their promotion of indigenous habitation, food security, renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as a comprehensive recycling programme.
    There are 854 learners, 167 of whom are estimated to be orphaned or vulnerable. “We eventually found our starting point through EduPlant. The school has a feeding scheme that caters for all the learners, hence food security at the school is paramount to guarantee good nutrition for these learners,” said a Mrs Molpe, an educator.

    The educators confirm that there is a positive impact beyond improved nutrition. Learner absenteeism has reduced and interest in the garden and permaculture has improved amongst both the learners and the educators.

    “We acknowledge that humans contribute to increasing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases and we therefore accept responsibility by taking the following actions,” commented Molpe. “Educating the community about climate change, walk to school campaign, removal of alien plants and replacing them with indigenous plant, creating awareness around precious resources and how to use them wisely. reusing, reducing and recycling waste and clean-up campaigns to reduce pollution.”
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    EduPlant Awards announce 21 winning schools
    Out of a record-breaking number of entries received in this year’s EduPlant Schools Competition, 21 schools have triumphed. The competition that recognises the year-long effort made by participating schools received 580 entries this year, proving that sustainable food gardening is not only prolific, but also motivating for well over 400 000 learners involved across all nine provinces.

    “We are delighted to see how the principles of sustainable living are being embraced across so many schools in South Africa,” said Joanne Rolt, Programme Manager for EduPlant. “This not only means we are strengthening food security for some of our most vulnerable communities, and providing a new income stream for many, but are succeeding in establishing a new mindset away from dependency and charity.”

    EduPlant is a permaculture food gardening programme initiated 16 years ago and developed and coordinated by greening social enterprise Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) to motivate schools and their communities to grow food naturally and care for their environments sustainably.
    For the past 20 years FTFA has been contributing to sustainable development and mitigating climate change through greening, food security, environmental awareness and education programmes. As one of FTFA’s core programmes, EduPlant provides schools with the skills and start-up resources to help them establish their own permaculture food gardens. This year, 72 workshops reached 8 000 teachers as a result of the commitment to the programme from funding partners ABSA, Engen and the Woolworths Trust over the next three years.

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  2. Don Hansford

    Don Hansford Junior Member

    Dec 17, 2009
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    These sorts of stories are very saddening. The root cause of the cow-dung eating is the literal nature in which many poorly educated people take written labels. Other reports I have seen of this story tell of reporters interviewing patients whom state that the reason the eat a mix of cow dung and water, is that the label says "Take only during or after a meal" - many of them don't have a clue when their next meal may be, but figure (rightly or wrongly) that they must eat something before taking the drugs.
    There was a case a few years ago where three large shipping containers full of cans of baby food were painstakingly donated, loaded and shipped to one of the many famine-struck areas of Africa. Practically all of the tins were destroyed, rather than be distributed to the starving mothers. The reason? Most of the starving are illiterate (especially in English) so people tend to rely on the pictures on the cans to show if they contain fish, or beef, or beans - all of these cans had pictures of smiling babies on them!

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