Over the past few years WESSA has been involved in the Department of Water & Sanitation Rain’s Water Harvesting (RWH) project – both the pilot project in 2004 and the expansion phase during 2007– 2009. These projects, implemented in the Lutengele villages in Port St Johns on the Wild Coast, enhanced water security, through storage, for increased household food production. Intensive community facilitation and skills development in the field of household food production techniques, including sustainable land use management considerations, were embedded in WESSA’s work in attaining improved food security.
The Lutengele villages have been at the centre of WESSA inputs and the area is emerging as an example and leading community of practice who are attaining successful life improvements. Effective water use, food growing techniques, household skills sharing and the voluntary groupings of food growers into a self-established women farmers group are evidence of the development investment producing the long-term sustainable living outcomes. More recently the increase in available harvest, including fruits and vegetables, has given rise to household surplus acquiring an economic value through sales, and thus stimulating Local Economic Development (LED).
The most recent expansion phase, funded by the National Lotteries Commission, began in June 2017 and will run for 12 months. The project aims to further improve local agricultural and economic development in the Lutengele Villages through increased household vegetable and fruit production as well as adequate infrastructure development, established supply networks, increased agricultural human capital and improved land and water management. Approximately 60 households in two villages will participate in the project.