Review of the “Container gardening project in Malawi” (Willem Van Cotthem)

Malawian Patrick HARRY studied in Belgium in 2007.  Before his return home he discussed with Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM (University of Ghent) the importance of the container gardening method for his country.  Convinced about the opportunities that container gardening would offer to alleviate hunger and malnutrition and to combat desertification in Malawi, Patrick immediately started experimenting growing vegetables in containers in his home village.  His initiative is gradually growing into a successful project, largely thanks to the support of many members of the open Facebook group, called “FRIENDS OF CONTAINER GARDENING PROJECT IN MALAWI”.

 

PATRICK’s  FIRST MESSAGE (JANUARY 2008)

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/good-news-from-malawi-p-dimusa-willem/

In January 2008 he reported :

“Hi Professor Willem,

I have managed to plant a lot of seeds and seedlings in bottles and the results are excellent. I am starting to cultivate my garden so that I may plant the melons seeds you gave me.

Now Malawi is receiving good rains and I a have tried to plant hybrid maize on one and half acre of land. I am expecting good harvest this year.

I have also finalised the constitution for the association you recommended and I have already come up with a programme for the whole of this year. I will keep in touch with you.

Patrick“

———–

On his desertification blog, Prof. Willem VAN COTTHEM proudly replied :

Good to hear that Patrick booked his first success with container gardening, growing plants in plastic bottles (see former messages on my blog on container gardening
<www.containergardening.wordpress.org>

I really believe that this form of container gardening may offer a lot of additional opportunities to grow vegetables in the most difficult conditions of drought and desertification.

Malawi receiving good rains now, will hopefully be in a position to register good harvests.  However, container gardening should remain an excellent tool for providing complementary food.

May Patrick show the Malawians that his successes with container gardening in plastic bottles and plastic bags can easily be duplicated everywhere else, thus contributing to continuous actions to keep the country clean by eliminating all that plastic from nature.

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PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF MAY 2008

I want to thank you for the container farming methods you taught me when I was in Belgium. A lot of my friends are now growing trees and vegetables in their homes in containers and plastic bags. I hope our country Malawi one day will be as clean as Belgium. I have plans to do this “King of Farming” at a large scale in the future. I managed to harvest 35 bags of maize and my family is now happy to have enough food. Next week I will be travelling to South Africa to do my practical part of journalism studies in Pretoria. But i will keep in touch with you.

Lots of best wishes,
Patrick”
.

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PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF DECEMBER 2008

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2008/12/16/malawi-container-gardening-against-hunger-and-desertification-p-dimusa/

After I learned a lot about container gardening from Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem in Belgium, my life has changed for a better, because in otherwise useless plastic bottles and plastic bags I can now grow vegetables to produce food for my family, as well as beautify my home with beautiful flowers. At the same time, I am cleaning the environment around my house.

Now my fellow villagers in Piyasani village in the outskirts of Lilongwe city are flocking to my house to learn about this new initiative. In November this year, I started collecting tree seeds from the surrounding remaining forest. As the rain has started, I am planning to set up a community nursery for tree seedlings using the container gardening method. With this plan I hope to be able to donate these tree seedlings to a school, so that the children will be able to plant a school woodlot. At the same time, this will motivate schools to start the same initiative, as it is one of the cheapest methods for agriculture and reforestation for the poorest countries in Africa. No capital is needed, since you can do this project around your home.

I have a lot of photos on this project.  They will be sent to Professor Willem so that other people can learn something about the importance of container gardening through his blog.

Apart from container gardening, I am also doing vegetable farming at a small scale for sale and for feeding my family with nutritious meals.

However, I am looking for well-wishers and donors who can come forward and assist me in buying a piece of land which shall become an Education Centre for container gardening in Malawi. Anyone who is interested can either e-mail me at patdimusa@yahoo.co.uk or call me at +2659028290.

May God bless Professor Willem Van Cotthem for introducing this kind of initiative to the people of Africa.

Patrick Harry DIMUSA – Piyasani Village, Malawi.”

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PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF JUNE 2009

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/the-future-of-malawi-patrick-harry/

Piyasani village is one of the rural area villages which is located to the west of Lilongwe city. The village is the home of the founder of the organization  Patrick HARRY, where he is currently staying.  Malawi is a poor country with most of its people surviving on one dollar per day and this why the project started to empower the community to take part in this simple and cheap project.

Piyasani village is the headquarter of the organization. Its container gardening project encourages the growing of vegetables and the raising of tree seedlings.  It is one of the first projects to help in both nutrition and reforestation in Malawi .

BACKGROUND

The project helps to clean up the environment from all trash and dirt, because every useless paper or bottles or containers shall be used to grow plants. This project is ensuring that the people avoid sanitation problems and as a result diseases like cholera are prevented.  The container gardening project is sensitizing children, because they are the future leaders of tomorrow.

The Future of Malawi is a non-seeking-profit organization (nspo), which was founded in December 2007 in Belgium by Patrick HARRY. He is a Malawian by nationality. He was motivated by Professor Willem VAN COTTHEM, who is doing a similar project in Algeria and aiming at realizing similar projects in other parts of the world.

This container gardening project is a blessing to this country, which is experiencing serious deforestation and poor nutrition, especially among children under the age of five. The project is suiting Malawi because it can be started even with zero capital, as most resources to be used can be found locally for free or costing almost nothing.

Malawi is loosing its vegetation cover every year at a faster rate than the trees being planted annually and this is why this organization is targeting raising tree seedlings to make sure that all deforested areas get back  their former glory.

As death rate of children is so high, due to malnutrition, this project encourages growing of vegetables, in order to make sure that the future generation will be healthier. As most people depend on maize as a staple food, this project encourages growing other crops, which can be added to the staple food list, like rice, cassava, vegetables and even fruits for vitamins.

There are several organizations which are in the forefront of helping to save the remaining natural heritage in Malawi, but none of them is encouraging the cheap way of raising tree seedlings like the Future of Malawi is doing. So this organization is the first one to take up the challenges of both nutrition and deforestation.

The organization is proud to be assisted by international members to set this project on the map and help it to achieve its goals.

PROJECT SITE
The project is located in Piyasani village in traditional authority Njewa to the west of Lilongwe city, which is experiencing serious littering problems. It is the best site for the project, because every otherwise useless bottle or plastic bag or container can be used by the project. This is one way of ensuring that the environment of Lilongwe is as clean as possible. The other target of the project is to help make Lilongwe one of the cleanest cities in Malawi.

PROJECT GOAL
To bring back the environment of Malawi to its former glory. This shall be achieved through the container gardening project.

OBJECTIVES
• To help to combat hunger in Malawi
• To help in poverty alleviation
• To effectively assist in combating desertification.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES
• Offering environment education to the people of Malawi
• Training essions
• Project monitoring and evaluation
• Management of the project and several other services
• Fundraising activities

PRIORITY ISSUES
The priority issues to be addressed by the project are related to: awareness, environmental conservation, education, poverty alleviation, container gardening education centre establishment, reforestation, and establishing partnership with international organizations to help to bring volunteers for the project implementation activities and also fundraising activities through donations or organization of local fundraising activities.

OTHER AREAS
• agriculture
• awareness
• health
• indigenous knowledge
• land purchasing

THE CURRENT FUNDRAISING ACTIVITY
Currently the founder of the organization Patrick Harry has set up a Computer school as one way of fundraising the organization. The Computer school is located in Piyasani village, where the organization office is located. It is the cheapest school of all to make sure that even poor people in the village, who can’t afford to go to college have access to learn the new technology. The school is offering courses in all packages. All the money to be raised is for the enhancement of the Container gardening project in Malawi. Meanwhile the organization is requesting well–wishers to support the organization in anyway, whether materially or financially.

EXPECTED RESULTS
• Increased planting of trees annually to minimize deforestation
• Poverty alleviation through money raised from sales of container gardening plants.
• To have bumper yields in crops and vegetables to help check hunger.
• Encourage communities to take Container gardening as business.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Patrick Harry is the manager of the project with assistance from the general secretary and the treasurer.

International members (partners) and local members will take part in the success of the project through advice, financial help or material assistance.

A member or partner can choose to work with THE FUTURE OF MALAWI (FOM) either as a member, a volunteer or a friend of FOM. Any contribution to the organization is welcome.  Every donation made to the organization, whether material of financial shall be used  for the intended purpose and transaction shall be recorded for future reference. Auditors will be allowed to conduct their audit every year and an annual financial report shall be submitted to all targeted individual and organization, whether local or international.

A village committee shall be established to make sure that the community fully takes part in the project.

STORIES OF CONTAINER GARDENING PROJECT IN PHOTOS-MALAWI
By Patrick Harry.

The project is involved in trying to reduce deforestation in the country by planting tree seeds in otherwise useless containers. After the tree seedlings reach a considerable height they are transplanted at the project site, while others are donated to various schools around Lilongwe city.

Apart from raising tree seedling, also various vegetables are being planted in otherwise useless containers and plastic bags as one way of checking the problem of hunger. Some vegetables are also being sold to villages to teach them that they can reduce poverty using this kind of initiative.

The organization is planning to build an education centre, which will also act as a demonstration centre for the project.

Education of children in container gardening was identified as the best way of spreading this kind of initiative, because children are taken as the future leaders of tomorrow.

When the founder of the organization was in Belgium for a three months international study programme, he had a meeting with Professor Willem VAN COTTHEM who introduced him to the container gardening initiative. In his speech, the professor said “Imagine that a school has one thousand children and every child grows only one tree in a plastic bottle during the school year.  How many trees could be planted every year in Africa ?”.

It was through this encouragement that The Future of Malawi (FOM) decided to give priority to sensitize the people of Malawi about the importance of container gardening.

As the country is facing a lot of problems like g-food shortages, poverty and desertification, this is the time to wake up the people and help them rescuing the country through a very interesting initiative called ‘Container gardening’. Everywhere in the country people can use free useless bottles and useless plastic bags to plant tree seeds, seeds of vegetables or other plants.

In order to prove to the village that Container Gardening can work, the project started planting flowers in containers and plastic bags as one way of beautifying the project site.

Now the Future of Malawi project site has been nicknamed by various villagers as ‘THE FOUR SEASONS CENTRE’ . “Four seasons” is one of the famous flower production companies in Malawi and their campus is really beautified with flowers. So, how comes that villagers compare the FOM project site with such a big institution?

Some villagers are copying the initiative and some of them are now planting flowers in their homes.

For more information please contact:

Patrick Harry,                        OR                        c/o Mr Elius Harry,
Piyasani village,                                                         British high commission,
T/A Njewa,                                                                 P.O.BOX 30042
Lilongwe.                                                                    Lilongwe 3,
Malawi( central Africa)                                            Malawi ( Central Africa).
Cellphone: +265999071966.

E-Mail : ptrckharry@yahoo.co.uk  /   patdimusa@yahoo.co.uk

‘HELP US TO COMBAT HUNGER , POVERTY AND DEFORESTATION IN MALAWI’

=======================

MESSAGE OF WILLEM VAN COTTHEM (OCTOBER 2009)

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/container-gardening-to-create-food-security-p-h-dimusa-malawi/

Today I received a short report from Patrick Harry DIMUSA on his first efforts to launch container gardening in his home country Malawi.  Patrick studied in Ghent (Belgium) in 2007.  Before returning to his country he visited me to get some advice on technologies and methods to improve plant production in Malawi.

We discussed the advantages of :

1. Soil improvement by applying a water- and fertilizer absorbing soil conditioner.
2. Participation in our Seeds for Food project.
3. Container gardening to produce vegetables and other food crops in bottles, plastic bags, pots, etc.

Once back home, Patrick started a small-scale container gardening project in his own village, also using the seeds he received in Belgium (donated by many people of Western Europe).

Here is his first report on the results of his magnificent initiative :

“Dear Professor Willem,

First I would like to thank you for introducing me to “container gardening”.  To say frankly, the initiative impressed me and after my arrival back home, I formed an NGO by the name of “Future of Malawi (FOM)”.  The objectives of that organisation are to contribute in the fight against hunger, desertification and poverty in Malawi.

I remember well your advice that it is better to target children in this project, because they are the future leaders of tomorrow.  That is why FOM is working with children on most of its activities.  Most of the container gardening sensitization is done in the schools surrounding my village, which is the central location of my project.

Ever since I started this action I never received any funding.  Most of the money for the organization of activities comes from my pocket.  I did it because I believe in hard work and in the fact that everything that starts small can become big.

Currently, I am planning to buy some land to construct an “education centre” or a “demonstration centre” for the project.  To my site I take container gardening as the only possible rescue for poor countries like Malawi, because it can be started on a low budget.  Moreover, it helps to keep the environment clean by collecting useless plastic bottles and plastic bags, which are massively polluting nature.  Growing seedlings of trees contributes to the reforestation of our country.

As the founder of this project I am facing a lot of challenges to keep it going forward, due to financial constraints.  Therefore, let me take this opportunity to ask all well-wishers to support me.

Please show my pictures to the visitors of your website.

May God bless you and your wife.

With lots of love,

Patrick Harry DIMUSA

c/o Martha Harry
Theatre for Change
British Council
P.O. Box 30222
LILONGWE 3 – Malawi

===================================

PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF FEBRUARY 2010

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/malawi-container-gardening-project-progressing-p-harry/

Dear Professor,

I am writing to report about the progress of our Container Gardening Project in Malawi, in particular that in Nkhotakota where a project site has been identified. Throughout the month of January 2010 I have been busy conducting a baseline survey with 3 volunteers to find out the extent of hunger, poverty and desertification (deforestation) in Nkhotakota district, plus the main cities of Malawi: Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu. The summary report of these findings will be sent to you soon.

Meanwhile, I would like to request you to post the seeds for the Nkhotakota to my sister’s address:

Martha Harry, C/O Theatre for Change,

British Council,

P.O. Box 30222,

Lilongwe 3,

Malawi

All people interested in supporting our project are invited to send their seeds of tropical vegetables and fruits to the same address.

Let me also tell you that TST-members from The Netherlands contacted me for partnership to assist them when starting container gardening in Blantyre at their two orphanage centres.

May God bless you.

PATRICK HARRY

Coordinator of the “Future of Malawi (FOM)” project.

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PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF MARCH 2010

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/container-gardening-against-hunger-and-desertification-in-malawi-p-harry/

THE EXTENT OF HUNGER, POVERTY AND DESERTIFICATION IN MALAWI

INTRODUCTION

Agriculture is the most important sector of the Malawi’s economy as it employs about 80% of the workforce and contributes over 80% of foreign exchange earnings. However, over the past recent years, the sector has been constantly shrinking due to the high poverty level among the poor rural farmers, hunger and poor rains due to serious deforestation in many  parts of the country.

HUNGER

Worldwide 800 million people go to bed hungry every night the majority of them in rural areas (Source : Reaching the Rural poor- pg 1, James D.Wolfensehn).

In Malawi this year, rain has been a problem with several areas receiving little or no rain. Some of the areas with a dry spell include district of Chikwawa and  Nsanje. In Nsanje, 4625  hectares have been affected,while 27648 hectares have been affected in Chikwawa. Other areas, like Lilongwe district, also suffered the same problem due to shortage of rain for some weeks, which has resulted in poor maize production in many fields despite the heavy rain still falling presently.

 

DEFORESTATION/ DESERTIFICATION

50,000 to 70,000 hectares of forest are being destroyed every year according to the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi Report( WESM).  This year, Mzuzu city was seriously destroyed by hailstorm due to the lack of a tree cover acting as a windbreak in the city.

Many people in both urban and rural areas are still destroying trees for charcoal, fuel wood  and timber despite the government warning on all  illegal destruction of the forest through the Ministry of Forestry .

 

POVERTY

Most people in Malawi live below the poverty line of earning 1 dollar per day according to the UN data. Poverty is really serious in Malawi for the following reasons:

  • High unemployment rate
  • Poor harvest due to drought, shortage of land due to overpopulation and poor farming practices
  • Hunger
  • Disease
  • High death rate due to HIV/AIDS

RESEARCH FINDINGS AND CONCLUSSION

The findings from the survey have proved that the ‘container gardening initiative’ shall help to combat the problems of hunger, poverty and desertification in Malawi due to the following backing points:

  • Shortage of cultivation land shall be solved through container gardening which does not need a lot of space.
  • It  is a source of food in terms of production of vegetables and fruit tree seedlings.
  • This kind of gardening is very cheap for the poor population which is struggling to survive due to extreme poverty.
  • The project will help to clean cities, urban centres and villages.
  • There will be wealth creation among the rural poor from the sales of vegetables and tree seedlings.
  • Desertification shall be reduced due to an annual reforestation program which shall be launched in schools throughout the country.
  • Container gardening education among children shall help the future generation to be free from hunger, poverty and desertification.
  • Production is high in container gardening as one can harvest a lot per square metre of  the arranged garden

Therefore, container gardening is the best initiative to help combat hunger, poverty and desertification in Malawi  .

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PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF JULY 2010

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/desertification-container-gardening-and-crafts-work-in-malawi-patrick-harry/

“Dear Professor Willem,

Malawi with a high percentage of poor people is very rich in natural resources, which the people are now realizing. In the photo below you will see some of the items (door mats) which are being made to finance my container gardening project in Nkhotakota.

It is from this small capital that we will be able to support new initiatives like our container gardening project.

It is my way to help the helpless in my village.

Patrick Harry (June 2, 2010)

————

Message to Heather MORRISON (Toronto, Canada – donor of seeds)

Dear Heather,

I’m writing to thank you for the seeds of Melons and Papaya which you have kindly donated to the Container Gardening project in Malawi. Let me assure you that the seed donation will benefit the project in terms of Melons production and production of Papaya tree seedlings which shall be given to the communities to grow fresh fruits.

Any future donation of you or other donors will be greatly appreciated.

May God bless you.

Patrick Harry.

===============================

PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF JULY 2010

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/seeds-for-a-container-gardening-in-malawi-patrick-harry/

Dear Professor  Willem,

Please receive a photo of our Container Gardening project in Nkhotakota with seedlings of different flowering plants to beautify the project site, cuttings of the Red Bloodwood tree ( Corymbia gummifera, a hardwood ‘gum tree’ native to eastern Australia, formerly described as Eucalyptus gummifera)  and Guava seedlings.

I am raising both fruit trees for source of food as I am doing in vegetable growing. Other tree species (both local and exotic) are also being raised to help in combating desertification in the surrounding areas of Nkhotakota.

Thanks ,

PATRICK

REQUEST

Please send dry seeds of tropical fruits (melon, watermelon, avocado, papaya, cherimoya, guava, rambutan,lychee, tamarind, dragonfruit, pomegranate, passionfruit, etc.) to Patrick for his nice container gardening project in Malawi:

PATRICK HARRY

BOX 30222

LILONGWE 3

MALAWI

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PATRICK’sMESSAGE OF JULY 2010

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/support-for-container-gardening-in-malawi-patrick-harry/

Dear Prof. Willem Van Cotthem,

Please receive another photo of myself busy collecting seeds of an indigenous tree species in the surroundig woodland in Nkhotakota. I will grow tree seedlings in containers to start a reforestation action with the youngsters of the village.

It is my wish that hard work will make our Container Gardening Project in Malawi a success in the future.  This is why I am collecting a lot of seeds locally. I will also welcome any seed donations from well-wishers in other countries, who are interested in supporting this Container Gardening Project (see former postings on Malawi on your blog).

I would like to inform you that I have many more photos to be sent to you, but it would be nice if well-wishers could enable this with some financial aid :

ACCOUNT NAME: PATRICK HARRY
BOX 30222 LILONGWE 3 MALAWI
ACCOUNT NUMBER : 0121207094200
SWIFT CODE : SBIC MW MX at Standard bank.

So once again, if there are other good people coming forward to support us with a small donation, I will greatly appreciate.

May God bless you.

Patrick Harry.

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PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF AUGUST 2010

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/from-computer-school-to-container-gardening-the-road-to-success-in-malawi-p-harry/

“Dear Prof. Van Cotthem,

I am writing to inform you that I have started a Computer School to support my family and my Container Gardening project.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement you have been showing to my project in Malawi. Please keep it up.

My project is going on well and now I am busy sowing fruit tree seedlings plus local vegetables in containers.

May God bless you.

Patrick.”

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PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF OCTOBER 2010

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/send-the-seeds-of-the-tropical-fruits-you-eat-to-malawi-patrick-harry/

“I am writing to inform you that the progress of our “Container Gardening Project in Malawi” is attracting the eyes of international media.

Today I have been interviewed by a French journalist by the name of Sophie Bouillon, who said she knows you.

My project is still going on well with some extra seeds donations from Canada and USA to arrive soon.

I have now managed to construct a fence around the field where we have planted vegetables and tree seeds in Lilongwe. I am back in Lilongwe, because my life was very unbearable in Nkhotakota where the project site is located.

I believe the attention the project gets in the media will help to encourage well-wishers to come to our help.  They can support us to realize our dream of constructing an “Education Centre for Container gardening in Malawi”, where we can train youngsters in the production of fresh food.

My main target is to do full time education and practical training of Container Gardening to the children, so that desertification, poverty and hunger are minimized in my country Malawi.

May God bless you.

Patrick HARRY
Box 30222
LILONGWE 3
MALAWI
Patrick HARRY <ptrckharry@yahoo.co.uk>”

Donations are most welcome:

ACCOUNT NAME: PATRICK HARRY.
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 0121207094200
SWIFT CODE: SBIC MW MX at Standard Bank.
Donations to Patric HARRY – BOX 30222 – LILONGWE 3 – MALAWI

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PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF NOVEMBER 2010

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/send-some-seeds-of-fruit-trees-to-patrick-as-a-support-of-his-container-gardening-project-patrick-harry-in-malawi/

“Today, I was reading a book entitled Poverty and the Environment published by the World bank.  It book states that Malawi is in biomass-distress due to a high level of deforestation.

According to the book 95 percent of the households use biomass derived from fuelwood, which is their source of energy.  All this is leading to deforestation.

Therefore, our Container Gardening Project will help to solve this problem through its  tree seedlings raising program.

During the reforestation period our saplings will be used to replace the destructed trees  at the village level.

All well-wishers are welcome to support the project through seed donation or any kind of support.  We would be happy to receive seeds of tropical fruit trees like avocado, cherimoya, papaya, moringa, marula, pigeonpea, tomato tree, sea buckthorn, monkey orange, cowpea, etc.

May God bless you.”

Patrick Harry.
Coordinator of the Container Gardening Project

Box 30222
LILONGWE 3
MALAWI

============================

WILLEM VAN COTTHEM’s POST ON HIS DESERTIFICATION BLOG IN DECEMBER 2010

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/any-of-the-visitors-of-this-blog-wanting-to-join-this-aid-action-in-malawi/

My good friend Patrick HARRY in Malawi is promoting container gardening in his country to help combating hunger and malnutrition.

He founded a youth association :

CONTAINER GARDENING EDUCATION PROJECT

Patrick HARRY – P.O. Box 30222 – LILONGWE 3 – Malawi
(ptrckharry@yahoo.co.uk)

Some people from different countries gently decided to help Patrick by sending him seeds of vegetables.  They deserve our sincere thanks.

One of these nice “sponsors” is Sandie ROACH (Perth, Australia):

Sandie: “I will very happily send my seeds to Malawi. Will ‘Rocket’, ‘Capsicum’, ‘Tomato’ and ‘Pumpkin seed’ be suitable for the Malawi climate?

Willem: “All depends on the climatic conditions, but I suggest to offer Patrick a chance to test the different species: if some don’t germinate or some perish later on, they will still constitute organic matter in the soil. And those who develop into juicy vegetables will make Patrick’s team really happy. Let’s do it.

Sandie: “Lilongwe features a humid subtropical climate that borders on a subtropical highland climate, with pleasantly warm summers and mild “winters”. Due to the altitude, temperatures are lower than would be expected for a city located in the tropics. Lilongwe features a short wet season that runs from December to March and a lengthy dry season that covers much of the remainder of the year, particularly June and July which are cooler than the rest of the year. However, the city sees heavy downpours during its rainy season, seeing around 200mm of rain in a month during the wettest months.

Sandie: “Okay, I will post some ‘Rocket’ seeds off tomorrow and I will also write to Patrick and his team. Thank you for the very helpful information Willem.

———————————-

Any of the visitors of this blog wanting to join this aid action?  Send vegetable seeds and seeds of tropical or subtropical fruit trees to Patrick’s address (see above).

Warm thanks,

Willem

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PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF DECEMBER 2010

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/container-gardening-in-malawi-patrick-harry/

Status of the Container Gardening Project :

“The first phase of 2011 will witness the construction of a huge greenhouse to accommodate more vegetables. It is my wish to teach the community that food problems can be solved through cheap container gardening. People can grow more plants in a small space using all kinds of containers: plastic bags, bottles, pots, etc.

In this photo one can see my young melons, pumpkins, maize, lettuce and tomatoes. Behind my back there is a temporary greenhouse, which I use to protect my plants from rain and sunlight, as well as from goats and chicken.”

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THE OPEN FACEBOOK GROUP “FRIENDS OF CONTAINER GARDENING PROJECT IN MALAWI

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/a-development-cooperation-fairy-tale-willem-van-cotthem/

A development cooperation fairy tale (Willem Van Cotthem)

A couple of years ago Patrick HARRY (Lilongwe, Malawi) set up his “Youth Container Gardening Project”.  This successful initiative aims at motivating young Malawians to produce fresh food (vegetables, fruits) in all kinds of containers at home.

Yesterday, we launched at Facebook a group called “Friends of Container Gardening in Malawi” :

“This is an open group of people interested in the “YOUTH CONTAINER GARDENING PROJECT” of Patrick HARRY in Malawi. Patrick was a student in Ghent (Belgium) and took advice to start container gardening in his home country. He is teaching and training youngsters in the container gardening technique, thus helping youth to grow fresh food (vegetables and fruits) with a minimum of irrigation water. The main objective of this project is to provide food security and to limit malnutrition, particularly of children. Members of this group are invited to send seeds of (sub)tropical vegetables and fruits to Patrick HARRY – C/O Martha HARRY – Theatre of Change – British Council – P.O.Box 30222 – LILONGWE 3 – Malawi (Africa).”

Today, Laura KIDD surprised the members of this Facebook-group with the following message :

“My daughter and I went to the post office to post our parcel of seeds to Patrick … it has a long journey ahead … bon voyage little parcel, hope you arrive safely! :)”


And Laura added :

“It’s a pleasure to be able to offer something to this project. I have spent some time in Southern Africa and so I can understand some of the challenges facing the project.  Part of me feels that if the western world can help Africa develop in an ecological way, then Africa has the potential to save the planet (or a large chunk of it anyway)!”

Isn’t this a nice fairy tale in the world of development cooperation ?  The world looks a bit brighter again. FORMIDABLETASTIC ! Thanks, Laura and daughter.

—————-

Marty WARE (Australia) joined the squadron announcing :

“I have collected so far some Mini Mamma Capsicum seeds, Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Basil and some seeds from our local tomato market. I have Cos lettuce just about to be collected too!  I am looking forward to posting them off soon,
Marty”

Thanks, Mate !

———————–

And Carole GONZALEZ to add :

“Thank you for starting this. I am to retire on very little income soon and I just cannot afford to continue to support Patrick as I have. He has a good start and is doing some wise things to assure the future of his family and allow his attention to be spent more on container gardening rather than just getting by with no extra time.  I also thank you for broadening my knowledge. I now find it hard to walk on by any shrub or flower that is going to seed.”

May Carole find lots of flowers on the new path in her life !  Big hug from a Belgian Prof.

=============================================

A MESSAGE FROM SANDIE ROACH (JANUARY 2011)

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/save-your-seeds-and-help-stop-world-hunger-my-zero-waste/

Save your seeds and help stop world hunger (My Zero Waste)

Read at :

http://myzerowaste.com/2011/01/save-seeds/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+myzerowaste%2FcNPS+%28MY+ZERO+WASTE%29

by Mrs Green

Our guest post today is from Sandie Roach.  Sandie is a waste hating, student of life, being home educated by her kids in Perth Western Australia. A year ago we shared a guest post from Safia Soliman about her seed savers project. The article moved Sandie so much that she has been saving and sending seeds ever since!

SEED SAVING

The idea is that instead of throwing away or composting seeds from the every day fruits and vegetables you eat; they are sent to other countries to be grown into food. I have to admit, at first I was sceptical. Could seeds from our food thrive in other countries and help improve food security and reduce hunger in other parts of the world? It would seem they can.

WORLD HUNGER

Lettuce, beetroot, carrots, onions, melons, pumpkins, peppers, avocados, papayas and eggplants are examples of many of the foods which can be successfully grown despite severe water shortages. Anyway, enough from me – over to Sandie!

YOUTH CONTAINER GARDENING PROJECT

Patrick Harry has set up a Youth Container Gardening Project in Malawi and would love to receive seeds saved from the fruit and vegetables you grow or purchase. All you have to do before mailing your seeds is three simple steps:

  1. Rinse your saved seeds with water
  2. Leave them to dry (not on a piece of paper because this sticks!)
  3. Sort the seeds by species and put in a labeled envelope

POST YOUR SEEDS

Once your seeds are sorted and ready to be sent, please post to:
Patrick Harry
C/o Martha Harry
Theatre for Change
British Council
P. O BOX 30222
Lilongwe 3
Malawi.

It doesn’t matter how small your contribution is, all seeds are appreciated.

SEEDS FOR FOOD

More information about this wonderful project can be found at Professor Willem Van Cotthem’s Seeds for Food site. According to the site for $61 in seeds, $1.3 million worth of vegetables can be grown. Isn’t that a fantastic and heart warming example of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure? Keep up to date with Seeds for Food on their facebook page.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Patrick reminds us that it is a matter of survival for these people to have healthy and nutritious food. Growing their own crops with your seeds will enable them to survive the hottest season of the year when food is in short supply.

Seeds for Food believes this project can e a world changing initiative where citizens of the developed world take steps towards self-reliance and sustainable development in the third world.

I hope you will join me in sending seeds. How sad that these precious sparks of life should end up in our bins, when for the price of a stamp and a little tender love and care, they could develop into life sustaining nutrition.

====================================

A NEW MESSAGE FROM SANDIE ROACH (JANUARY 2011)

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/friends-of-container-gardening-project-in-malawi-sandie-roach-on-facebook/

Friends of Container Gardening Project in Malawi (Sandie ROACH on Facebook)

Read on Facebook:

Sandie Roach posted in “ Friends of Container Gardening Project in Malawi“.

 

CONTAINER GARDENING PROJECT IN MALAWI

Container Gardening project founder and Coordinator, Patrick Harry at the project site, 2010, Piyasani village, Lilongwe, Malawi.

BACKGROUND

Container gardening project in Malawi started in 2007 by Patrick Harry, a young Malawian who studied in Mechelen, Belgium. He was trained in the initiative by Prof. Willem Van Cotthem of Belgium.

Despite several challenges the project has been facing, the project is still going on and is helping to educate children in Container Gardening as one way of making sure that the future generation is free from hunger, malnutrition, poverty and desertification.

PROJECT SITE : Piyasani village, T/A Njewa in Lilongwe.

PROJECT GOAL : To help uplift livelihood of people who are hardly stricken by poverty through a cheap kind of gardening.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES :

-To combat hunger and malnutrition
-To combat poverty
-To combat desertification
-To offer free Container Gardening education to children

PROJECT ACTIVITIES :

-Container gardening education
-Public awareness, information and communication
-Video shows on environmental films to children
-Organize debates or talks
-Encourage formation of Container Gardening children clubs
-Local and international volunteer program introduction
-Partnership establishment with government, NGO`s and individuals
-Container Gardening articles publication in electronic and print media
-Books publications on Container Gardening project
-Seed and useless container collection
-Establishment of village woodlots plus vineyards
-Project fundraising activities

PRIORITY ISSUES 2011

In 2011, with all the young members of our project, we will concentrate on combating hunger and malnutrition with container gardening, growing a lot of vegetables and seedlings of fruit trees, which will be donated to the poorest kids in the village and the surrounding area to alleviate the malnutrition of children.

Secondly, we developed plans to construct an “Education Centre” in Lilongwe, which will act as headquarter of the Youth Container Gardening Project. Therefore, we are hoping that you will help us in sourcing some funds, especially for the construction of this Education Centre, possibly a centre of attraction throughout Malawi, South and Central Africa.

There the project is inviting all friends of Container Gardening project in Malawi plus all interested parties to donate every little contribution to the project.

ADVANTAGES OF CONTAINER GARDENING

-You can grow a lot on a small space, so you don`t have to worry about space.
-You can harvest a lot on a small space
-It helps to clean the environment from garbage
– It helps to combat hunger and malnutrition through vegetables and fruit trees production
-It helps to combat poverty through sales of Container Gardening tree seedlings and vegetables
-It helps to combat desertification through reforestation program
-It is cheap and anyone can afford it as most material used can be obtained for free.

EXPECTED RESULTS

-Hunger and malnutrition to be minimized
-Poverty to be minimized
-Desertification to be minimized
-The future generation to be equipped with Container Gardening knowledge

For further information please contact:

POSTAL ADDRESS:

Patrick Harry
C/O Martha Harry
Theatre for Change
P.O.BOX 30222
Lilongwe 3
Malawi.

CELL: 0881496755.

PHYSICAL ADDRESS:

Piyasani Village
T/A Njewa
Lilongwe
Malawi.

Your support to the project will be greatly appreciated.

Patrick Harry
(Founder and Coordinator of Container Gardening project in Malawi).

==================================

PATRICK’s MESSAGE OF JANUARY 2011

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/17988/

CONTAINER GARDENING AND CLEANING VILLAGES, TOWNS AND CITIES IN MALAWI (Patrick HARRY)

VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58juqATSpoY

A message from Patrick HARRY, Container Gardening Project founder and coordinator)

The birth of the Container Gardening Project in Malawi is a blessing to the nation, as it helps to create a healthy environment, free from litters.  Firstly, heaps of garbage are checked, since most of the containers used in the initiative are obtained for free from waste disposal areas.  Furthermore, littered roads situation is minimized as most of plastics bags are thrown everywhere on the roads.

In addition, streams which are nowadays blocked by junk, and badly-smelling rivers will get cleaner, as most of the littered containers will be used for growing vegetables and raising tree seedlings.  Moreover, water borne diseases will be reduced if all waste containers are collected and used in this container gardening initiative.

There are several reasons why there are so many litters in most towns and villages in Malawi. This is mostly because one fails to collect the garbage, due to a lack of capacity building.

Despite all the litters around us today in Malawi, there are still some solutions.  Firstly, the private sector must play an important role in trying to eradicate this problem.  Apart from that, the communities must take part in waste management disposal, like they are doing in India, Bolivia and Egypt.

Lastly, education is the most important solution to the littering problem in Malawi, because education helps in changing the attitude of youth.

====================================

SANDIE ROACH’s MESSAGE OF FEBRUARY 2011

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/18021/

Save your seeds and help stop world hunger (MyZeroWaste)

Read at :

http://myzerowaste.com/2011/01/save-seeds/


Blog by Mrs Green

Our guest post today is from Sandie Roach.

Sandie is a waste hating, student of life, being home educated by her kids in Perth Western Australia.

A year ago we shared a guest post from Safia Soliman about her seed savers project. The article moved Sandie so much that she has been saving and sending seeds ever since!

Seed saving

The idea is that instead of throwing away or composting seeds from the every day fruits and vegetables you eat; they are sent to other countries to be grown into food.

I have to admit, at first I was sceptical. Could seeds from our food thrive in other countries and help improve food security and reduce hunger in other parts of the world? It would seem they can.

World hunger

Lettuce, beetroot, carrots, onions, melons, pumpkins, peppers, avocados, papayas and eggplants are examples of many of the foods which can be successfully grown despite severe water shortages.

Anyway, enough from me – over to Sandie!

Youth Container Gardening Project

Patrick Harry has set up a Youth Container Gardening Project in Malawi and would love to receive seeds saved from the fruit and vegetables you grow or purchase.

All you have to do before mailing your seeds is three simple steps:

  • Rinse your saved seeds with water
  • Leave them to dry (not on a piece of paper because this sticks!)
  • Sort the seeds by species and put in a labelled envelope

Post your seeds

Once your seeds are sorted and ready to be sent, please post to:

Patrick Harry

C/o Martha Harry

Theatre for Change

British Council

P. O BOX 30222

Lilongwe 3

Malawi.

It doesn’t matter how small your contribution is, all seeds are appreciated.

Seeds for food

More information about this wonderful project can be found at Professor Willem Van Cotthem’s Seeds for Food site.

According to the site for $61 in seeds, $1.3 million worth of vegetables can be grown. Isn’t that a fantastic and heart warming example of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure?

Keep up to date with Seeds for Food on their facebook page.

Sustainable development

Patrick reminds us that it is a matter of survival for these people to have healthy and nutritious food. Growing their own crops with your seeds will enable them to survive the hottest season of the year when food is in short supply.

Seeds for Food believes this project can e a world changing initiative where citizens of the developed world take steps towards self-reliance and sustainable development in the third world.

I hope you will join me in sending seeds. How sad that these precious sparks of life should end up in our bins, when for the price of a stamp and a little tender love and care, they could develop into life sustaining nutrition.

===================================

 

About Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.
This entry was posted in container gardening, HORTICULTURE/GARDENING, MALAWI. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Review of the “Container gardening project in Malawi” (Willem Van Cotthem)

  1. Nik Rasula says:

    Two friends and myself initiated an Fall seed drive in our Calgary community. Designed to coincide with Halloween, we were able to accumulate 6,585 seeds for Patrick Harry in Malawi. Seeds were mainly pumpkin, but included green pepper and squash as well. A great pilot project that was well received and one that we will repeat this year.

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