Lauru Kastom Garden Project

Project focus

The improvement of community food security through the provision of agricultural training.

Lauru Kastom Garden Project base – the Sasamunga Primary Health Care Unit building in which the LKGP was based on the island of Choiseul.

Project duration and funding

Duration: 1997-1999.

Funding: (Australian dollars)
AusAID – $54 410
APACE contribution – $19 290 (including in-kind)
In-country contribution – $6500 (including in-kind)
Total project funding – $77 200.

The project

The Lauru Kastom Garden Project (LKGP) was set up to extend the work of the KGP to the island of Choiseul. The village of Sasamunga, on Choiseul’s west coast, was selected as the project base.

Link with primary health care

The invitation to work on Choiseul came from the Sasamunga Community Hospital doctor, Peter Zabel, and his wife Maria, a nutrition trainer. The arrangement was formalised by the Sasamunga Hospital Committee which was made up of local people.

The purpose of the LKGP was to supplement the work of the hospital’s Primary Health Care Unit (PHCU) by delivering agricultural training as the basis for improving community nutritional health. Assessment had disclosed that poor nutrition was responsible for the declining health of village children.

A project of two parts

The project consisted of two components:
the establishment of a large food garden in the grounds of Sasamunga Hospital to supply nutritious food to hospital patients and to serve as a training garden; the garden was used to trial the cultivation of bush food species as part of the Lauru (Babatana) Ethnobotanical Manual Project
agricultural training of coastal villagers.

Being part of the hospital’s primary health care unit, the trainers gained access to more people than would have been possible operating alone.

Training local people to be trainers

In January 1998, two Sasamunga people – Gwendolyn Pitakaka and William – started part-time work with garden manager, Salathiel Sore, in the hospital garden.

Their task was to:
rebuild the vegetable and swamp gardens
improve the alley cropping system
construct a nursery and trial the cultivation of selected bush foods.

Cooperation brings success

The project’s links with the hospital proved that alliances with institutions were an effective way of extending the reach of projects.

Thanks to the training, when the AusAID funding finished in 1999 sufficient skills had been imparted to allow participants to apply for future funding themselves.

No Comments

    Leave a Reply