A successful collaboration between the Institute of Natural Resources NPC (INR) and the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa yielded exceptional results and positive impact on many livelihoods during the devastating times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the collaboration, between October and December 2020, UNDP and the INR implemented food security interventions in poor communities across the rural and peri-urban areas of KwaZulu Natal province.
The impacts brought by the COVID-19 hard lockdown exacerbated the historical challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality experienced in urban, peri-urban and rural communities of South Africa. Food prices skyrocketed while most people who were “breadwinners” lost their jobs. In dealing with these challenges; the project introduced three innovative vegetable production technologies (Keyhole garden, Tower garden and a Trench bed with a simple drip irrigation system) in order to improve access to fresh produce. The use of grey water (water from bathing or washing clothes or dishes) to irrigate the vegetable gardens was explored as an option for communities with irrigation water. The vegetable gardens were complemented with one of three options for providing a source of animal protein – either three commercial egg-laying hens, five indigenous dual-purpose Boschveld chickens, or a pair of New Zealand white meat rabbits. This work was implemented in 11 project sites with 138 beneficiary households.