Community Garden for People Living With HIV – Botswana

Botswana MapThe village of Rakops, Botswana, is located just north of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The majority of its 8,500 inhabitants are subsistence farmers creating a livelihood through the rearing of cattle and production of non-arable crops. It has the 3rd largest population in the Boteti Sub-District.

According to the 2008 Botswana AIDS Impact Survey, the Boteti Sub-District has an HIV Prevalence of 14.6%. A recent report by the Rakops Primary Hospital stated that there are 1,520 active HIV positive patients registered in the village hospital and clinic.

For people living with HIV and participating in antiretroviral therapy (ART), personal care and positive living are obvious requirements to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

There does not exist a local source of nutritious vegetables, as the nearest grocery store is two hours away. Furthermore, those in need do not usually have the resources or time to tend their own gardens.

The Leretlhabetse Support Group (LSG) is a community group that serves those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. They have identified a key objective of serving the People Living with HIV (PLHIVs) community with cost-free vegetables as an immediate means to prevent suffering and death in the community. They have further recognized that educating beneficiaries on proper food preparation is essential to maintain the nutritional value of the crops raised.

This project is to assist the LSG of Rakops, working in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture and Peace Corps Volunteer Alexandria Price, to implement a vegetable garden and vegetable preparation class for PLHIVs.

A plot of land has already been acquired, and the total commitment and support of the community has been achieved. The initial crops to be raised will include rape, choumoellier, onion, tomato, carrots, cabbage, beetroot, spinach, green peppers and garlic.

Botswana Landscape

The Vegetable Garden will provide nutritious food to PLHIVs, LSG members, and home-based care patients. The project is sustainable, in that 20% of vegetables will be sold, with the proceeds used for the maintenance of the garden.

As part of a larger community effort, Water Charity is participating in the project by providing for the irrigation of the garden and the toilet facilities. Included are a 5,000 liter plastic tank for the collection of rainwater, piping, and fixtures.

The project contains the key elements of gardening training, the actual implementation of the garden, and food preparation training. This will assist PLHIVs and caregivers in maintaining healthy lifestyles. Accessible to over 1,500 people, and delivering services to about 70 people at a time as needed, it is an extremely cost-effective means for serving a critical need in the community.

The participation of Water Charity in this project has now been fully funded, through the generosity of The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust as a part of their Clean Water Projects initiative.

We encourage others to continue to donate using the Donate button below, and we will notify Peace Corps Volunteer Alexandria Price of your donation. Additional funds will be used to fund the next project by Alexandria and/or those of her counterpart PCVs in Botswana.

This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.