Building capacity to improve the use and supply of water
Choma, Zambia: UN Volunteer Primitivo (Tom) Tengco, (Philippines), is now in his fifth year as a UNV Agriculture Development Specialist and Team Leader of the UNV Asia Youth Volunteer Exchange Programme (AYVEP) in Zambia. Much of the technical support he provides in the rural Choma District involves imparting practices and recommendations to improve local farmers’ use and supply of water.
During 2011, he coordinated one community’s training courses on better crop and dairy production with the construction of a diversion canal for the local water enclosure. This enabled the dam to impound more water when it rained and thus increased water available for irrigation and watering livestock.
UNV’s Youth Environmental Management and Education Project (YEMEP) project provides unemployed youth with skill building in environmentally sustainable farming practices, beekeeping and deforestation mitigation. Tom works on the project together with national UN Volunteer Julie Simuchembo, the YEMEP Volunteer Coordinator, and Jones Mulomba, Choma District Forestry Officer.
Water use and harvesting often come up. Tom helped the Tuyakumbele Youth Group at Gamela use and improve vegetable cropping (planting plan) near a dam. He also assisted a tomato farmer in the group to maximize water use by advising the digging of deeper wells.
“For example, I suggested rice, a viable crop for Zambia’s wetlands, to the youth group,” he continued. “By digging the irrigation canals deep enough between the crop beds, they can farm fish alongside the rice,” he continued. “Earth excavated from the canals is used to raise the level of other crop beds above water to grow different high value crops.”
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