The Durban University of Technology (DUT) Midlands campus through the Entrepreneurship Centre donated over 150 seedlings to 50 homes in the community of Imbali and Edendale in Pietermaritzburg, recently.
The Centre initiated an One Home One Garden Project for the DUT’s Midlands neighbouring community, intending to pledge the university support to its immediate community, especially during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic and to strengthen the relationship between the institution and its people. The project themed: Sustainability and Food Security is aimed at addressing the current food security issues constituted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The purpose of this project is to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 in the communities with child-headed homes, old-aged people, orphans, people living with disabilities and unemployed individuals surrounding the DUT Indumiso Campus. The Centre will provide continued support to these communities to ensure the long-term sustainability of the vegetable gardens.
Environmental Affairs, Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA), local councillor from Umsunduzi Municipality, Rural Black Industrialist, Midlands Campus Director: Dr Joseph Molete and students who are in agribusiness, are all the stakeholders who played a critical role in the success of the project.
Phase one of the project began from 1 to 2 June 2020. In phase one, The Centre and its stakeholders donated and assisted 50 homes in planting more than 150 seedlings in their gardens. The agricultural specialists from Rural Black Industrialist guided the 50 families on the most effective planting methods to use and also advised them on how to maintain their garden for exceptional results and sustainability. Spinach, onion, cabbage, tomatoes, beetroot, potatoes seedlings were donated to these communities.
The project kicked off with an address by the Midlands Campus Director: Dr Joseph Molete, who emphasised the importance of making an impact in the community. “As a university, we strive to make an impact in our communities. We have a big plan to reach more people in our province, this is just the beginning,” said Dr Molete.
Commenting on the project, Centre Manager: Miss Nontokozo Ngcobo said, “We want to encourage our communities to start producing what they consume, even in a small percentage. As the Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Thandwa Mthembu would say, we need to take leadership in our community. Let us all work together. This will be an ongoing project which will assists communities in producing healthy food for home use and commercial purposes. We will provide trainings on how to preserve, process and add value to the vegetables from their garden. I would like to thank the Centre team, stakeholders and the community for their willingness and dedication towards the project,” she said.
The second phase of the project will be implemented next month in July 2020. It will specifically be focusing on old aged homes, orphanages and local schools. Those who would like to donate seedlings, garden tools and protective clothing can send an email to email@example.com.
Pictured: DUT Midlands Entrepreneurship Centre stakeholders and Mr Dlamini: one of the beneficiaries.