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You are here: Home Resources Documentation Case studies East and Southern Africa: Documentation with IFAD Swaziland: Videos and articles from participants

Lessons in supporting family farming in Swaziland

In December 2013, family farmers, field workers and journalism students analysed and articulated their experiences from the field in a documentation process, facilitated by ILEIA.

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Reflecting on their own work, they wrote four articles to share the lessons that can be learnt from their experiences. In addition, a film maker produced four compelling films on each, all released in the middle of the International Year of Family Farming.

"Lessons in supporting family farming: Stories from Swaziland” presents four stories. One explains how bees can bring about a fundamental transformation of the lives of family farmers. Another looks at the increased production of fresh, healthy vegetables by applying principles of permaculture and which proved especially successful with women. There is a story of land reclamation, how dedicated farmers managed to restore barren land into food producing areas. And finally, the book presents the experience of the Nkonjwa community, and why they remained unwilling to participate in a development project.

This process generated many lessons about supporting family farmers. Some highlights:

• Family farmers should be in the lead in development initiatives on their land.
• It is important to involve traditional authorities.
• Family farmers learn much better from each other than from outsiders.
• Women are crucial in the sustainability of any initiative.
• Communities have their own reasons for participating in a project, or not, no matter how often they are told it is beneficial for them.
• Unity in a community is paramount to any success.
• We sometimes learn much more from failure.

The stories:

The films, produced by Ray Magagula:

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