BACK TO EDEN

Restoring flora and fauna of Bova community back to its 1980 condition or better, while combining indigenous knowledge & modern technology.

Photo of Robert
0 1

Written by

Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Mr Robert Mtombeni

Initiative's representative date of birth

13 January 1983

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Zimbabwe

Headquarters location: city

Harare

Where are you making a difference?

Zimbabwe, in a rural area called Gokwe, in Bova community

Website or social media url(s)

www.practicalagrosolutions.com

Date Started

November 2016

Project Stage

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan going forward)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €100k - €250k

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

I Robert, was born in Bova community of Gokwe, back then, the forests used to provide us with wild fruits, herbs and vegetables, the fields were fertile or good enough for my family to grow crops. This has changed, the forests are no longer habitants of wild animals or provider of nutritious wild fruits, herbs and vegetables, and nothing can now grow in the fields without fertilizers. We have tested the goodness of life when nature provided, during the 1980s. We have also faced the challenges of today, when nature no longer provides due to human activities that have negatively affected our environment and biodiversity. With those two experiences, we agreed as the community, to do everything that it takes for us to restore the situation.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Human activities such as unsustainable hunting and agricultural practices have negatively affected the ecosystem of my community. This has resulted to food insecurity and contamination or complete dry up of natural water sources such as rivers and springs. Solving this problem will ensure food security for both humans and animals, and it will restore the biodiversity or ecosystem of my community, hence when mother nature is happy, every creature will be happy.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We are teaching communities about sustainable use of natural resources such as water and land, one such example is the introduction of the "pfumvudza" plot concept, video available on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_KErAAHrM4 We have also introduced moringa planting in communities, as a tool that can help address both the issue of soil conservation and climate change, more information on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWU_yRMn7yY Furthermore, we have partnered with Ecocert S.A to encourage organic farming, where we encourage and teach the community to no longer use synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. The community likes this initiative because Ecocert issues them with an internationally recognised certificate that enables them to sale their produce as organic certified, hence generating more income, as organic foods fetch a higher price on most international markets, especially in the developed world.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

We are combining indigenous knowledge and modern technology to develop solutions that are based on scientific research, proved and tested methods that worked well in the past. Traditionally, in my community, the nearest clinic was 10km away, but families used to be healthier than now back then, why? With the help of Bindura University of Science and Technology, we have found out people were healthier due to a healthy and balanced diet they used to consume, hence the need to include such traditional foods in our diets, back to "Eden". Our approach is community based, in the community, with the community, for the community, unlike other organizations that imposes solutions on communities, our solutions are derived from the community.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

We are working with Bindura University of Science and Technology, SIRDC ( a government research institution), Ecocert S.A ( International organic certification body) and Foundations for Farming Trust (an organisation that teaches communities on sustainable farming). We are also working with technology companies such as D.F.M Technologies and Afri Agri-Tech, as these provides us with tools to remotely monitor our work using satellite and GIS softwares. All these collaborations are available on our website www.practicalagrosolutions.com

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

Over 3000 inhabitants of Bova community are participating and reaping the benefits of engaging in sustainable agricultural practices. 3 commercial farms in Zimbabwe, with a combined total area of 3760 ha of land are now organic certified, these are Nyamuli farm (Cheerland Pvt Ltd), Geluck Farm and Watershed Farm (Nutraleaf Ltd). These are available on the Ecocert website http://southafrica.ecocert.com/ A rural orphan care center called HCOC Zimbabwe, is now on the path to becoming self sustaining and able to feed over 1400 school children daily, due to practising organic farming.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

We will continue to work with Ecocert S.A to have more rural and small scale farmers being organically certified so that they can export their produce. We will also involve more commercial farmers into organic farming. We have already started engaging with partners in South Africa, Malawi and Rwanda, for us to expand to those countries.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

We are ensuring food security for the rural and small holder farmers who are now engaged in sustainable organic farming. We are also ensuring the provision of healthy nutritious organic certified food for people in the developed world, who will be buying the food stuff from our organic certified farmers and communities.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Companies that wish to delete or offset their carbon footprints, can fund the planting of moringa in communities through us, moringa absorbs carbon 20 times more than other general trees. In the long term, the project should be self sustaining through selling of high value organic certified food from our demo plots and partner farmers.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Our team is comprised of agronomists, who are Mr Robert Mtombeni and Mr Shingirai Kubare, Academias such as Dr Cris Gadzirai and Dr Marianna Smith. We plan to work with other local people as we grow. Full team can be viewed on our team section on www.practicalagrosolutions.com

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Evaluation results

6 evaluations so far

1. 1) OVERALL EVALUATION

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 16.7%

No - 0%

2. 2) CONNECTION TO BIODIVERSITY

5 —Absolutely! It’s crystal clear how the solution is directly contributing to preserving and/or restoring biodiversity. - 66.7%

4—Yes, it establishes a clear connection to biodiversity. - 16.7%

3—Somewhat, the entry speaks to biodiversity but the direct impact is not well established and/or it is focused on a single species without considering its impact on the broader ecosystem - 0%

2—Not really, the connection to biodiversity is weak - 16.7%

1—No. The entry does not reference the solution’s impact on biodiversity. - 0%

3. 3) Is this entry IMPACTFUL?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

4- Yes, I think so. - 50%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 16.7%

1- No. - 0%

4. 4) Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

4- Yes, I think so. - 33.3%

3- Maybe. - 16.7%

2- Probably not. - 16.7%

1- No. - 0%

5. 5) Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 16.7%

4- Yes, I think so. - 66.7%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 16.7%

1- No. - 0%

6. 6) Is this entry ACTIVATING CHANGEMAKING?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 50%

4- Yes, I think so. - 33.3%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 16.7%

7. 7) Does this entry value COLLABORATION WITH OTHER STAKEHOLDERS in its approach?

5- Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

4- Yes, I think ko. - 50%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 16.7%

1- No. - 0%

8. 8) FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions - 100%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 66.7%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 66.7%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 66.7%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 100%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 66.7%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 0%

Other option - 0%

9. 9) FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 100%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 50%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 0%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 0%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 0%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 100%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 50%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming - 50%

Other option - 0%

0 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment