WINNIPEG, MB—Throwing money at a problem doesn’t work, says pastor Tim Plett. “It’s not that giving money isn’t important—it is,” says Plett, who leads The Table church in Winnipeg. “The inequitable distribution of wealth in the world is unquestionably a fundamental problem.” The Table is partnering with Score Against Poverty, a project addressing food and farming issues in the Mwenezi District of Zimbabwe, a region that faces serious water challenges that limit agricultural production.
Score Against Poverty launched a conservation agriculture project last year in five Mwenezi villages with support from The Table and the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation. The project encourages local farmers to adopt conservation agriculture technology, which includes adopting the three key principles of conservation agriculture: minimum tillage, crop rotation, and maintaining permanent soil cover.
Vurayayi Pugeni was raised in Mwenezi and now lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Pugeni is passionate about eradicating extreme poverty in the world because he believes everyone should have the dignity of being able to feed themselves and their families.
Pugeni says working alongside those who are disadvantaged in the world is an opportunity for him to share the gospel through good works.
“What’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christian if you aren’t proving it by helping others?” Pugeni asks.
He says Score Against Poverty’s work seeks to address the food security and nutrition needs of small-scale farmers, those with chronic illnesses, pregnant and nursing mothers as well as children under the age of five. Causes of food insecurity and chronic poverty in Mwenezi district include drought, floods, disease, and lack of social services and nutrition information.
“The local people of Mwenezi have a voice and they participate not only as project participants, but as workers and policy makers for this community-based organization,” says Pugeni. “Women occupy leadership roles in the management committee and also in the network of volunteers.”
The year’s training was successful and the farmers implemented the new techniques in a sample area of their land with the limited resources they had. Unfortunately it was a dead year with little rain, but the quality of crop was still evident in areas where the people used conservation farming.
One of the lead farmers on the project, Clemencia Moyo, told Score Against Poverty volunteers she feels empowered to produce food for herself. “My soils were sick and tired, and my crops used to wilt from mid-season drought,” she says. “Now I can heal the soil and produce more on a small piece of land.”