Sustainable Home Gardens in Rafah
Statement of Need
The idea of implementing family gardens emerged from depravity caused by the land confiscations and economic sanctions imposed on Gaza since January 2006. The massive loss of jobs due to closures and curfews and the consequent unprecedented decline in per capita income fundamentally changed the trend in food demand as with as the composition of the diet. With 81% of Gazans living below the poverty line and more than half the population relying on foreign aid for basic amenities such as flour, rice, and sugar, promotion of livelihood generation is essential. The need for nutritional improvement is reflected in the 47% of Gazan children that are mal-nourished, and ailing with anemia and diarrhea. Additionally, according to UNRWA, insufficient sanitary conditions and the absence of sewage conveyance systems pose serious threats to public health and are the major cause of environmental degradation. Therefore, developing low water input urban gardens will provide an alternative means for food security in a time of water shortage for larger scale agriculture. Therefore, the need to instill the techniques of urban agriculture in the Gaza Strip is fundamental to bringing independence back to Gazans. Most of the Gazan population stems from a farming background, and gardening has always been a historic Palestinian tradition. The proposed project for implementing home gardening will draw Gazans back to their lands and their farming practices, but more importantly will empower their livelihoods.
It is intended that University students of Gaza will execute assessments, train the community through various workshops, and initiate gardening activities to ensure cultural sensitivity, sustainability and acceptance within the community. The students will be trained in aspects of assessment methodology, data collection, workshop execution, urban gardening techniques, and ultimately project management with the oversight of Save Gaza members, local university professors, and local NGOs. The gardens are intended to be created and maintained with low capitol, labor and organic inputs. Very small gardens with minimal maintenance once a week can sustain up to 5 years worth of output. Composting, trenching and mulching methods will be introduced to Gazans who can then alter their traditional practices to a degree of sustainability.