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Malibongwe was really struggling when Positive Cycle arrived. The admirable efforts of the plucky little pre school to grow enough fresh produce to help them feed the very little and very needy children at the pre school were not succeeding. This pre school food growing project is an excellent case in point demonstrating Positive Cycle's oft stated credo, 'It's the knowledge that makes a difference'. Funding was insufficient on this project to allow for a continuous labour effort and volunteers prepared to work for no other reward than the produce of the garden itself were not present.

Vegetable garden at Malibongwe pre primary in Vosloorus.

Knowledge is like a seed, and when planted in the right soil it can produce results that continue to grow independently of the original plant. Despite the lack of funding, and the fact that ultimately no particularly impressive results were recorded Positive Cycle is nonetheless proud of having installed a garden and disseminated some information at needy little school.

We hold Malibongwe up to scrutiny to show funders what is really required. It is clear that the knowledge that was passed on to community members was valuable and could well form the genesis of who knows how many vegetable gardens in the future. The unfortunate lack of labour budget (or willingness on the part of community members to volunteer) serves to illustrate that these projects are not for the faint of heart. It is unwise to proceed (at least in terms of funding, charitable donations by individuals of their own time is an entirely different matter) on a project, and expend resources without a clear and practical strategy for the continuing support of the project.

Malibongwe taught Positive Cycle, as a training company, that there are several essential components to a succesful project to uplift disadvantaged communities with bio dynamic food growing techniques and know how and these are:

  • Identifying those special people in a community who will not only readily accept new knowledge, but most importantly, share it with other members of the community in a charismatic way, getting their friends, families and co workers excited about the idea of growing crops for food and profit with natural methods that don't require such substantial year on year reinvestment.

  • Providing sufficient initial material support in terms of infrastructure, layout and organic soil imputs.

  • Following through. Positive Cycle is enthusiastic about follow up support. It is very easy to spend time in office blocks, working out budget allocations, and forget about the fact that human beings are being dealt with on the ground. People are driven by passion, not money. The money takes care of the necessary, but left alone and under resourced the people on the ground at any given project, not just Malibongwe pre primary can become discouraged. They are not to be blamed, the realities on the ground are disheartening. Continually revisiting the site, dispensing not just extra plants, seeds and knowledge but also simple encouragement and the assurance that they are not alone in their endeavour can make all the difference between failure and success.

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