In 2020, the essence of Mandela Day – take action, inspire change, and make every day a Mandela Day – is more important than ever before.
With so many communities across the world affected by the spread of Covid-19 there has never been a better time for individuals and groups to unite to find ways to help those in need of support.
In South Africa particularly, many communities continue to be plagued by poverty and unemployment and the current pandemic has exacerbated this problem placing severe pressure on ordinary South Africans already struggling to meet their basic household needs.
The concept of sustainable food security which focuses on food availability, food accessibility, food utilisation and food stability remains a critical challenging in South Africa. Unathi Sihlahla, INMED South Africa’s, Programmes Director says, “Food accessibility is one of the dimensions that we, as INMED SA, find to be a major challenge for households in low-resource disadvantaged communities. This significantly Impacts on the ability of these households to obtain and consume a nutritious diet, with enough variety and an adequate supply of nutrient-dense foods.”
According to STATS SA, 2019, 53.4% of households were involved in planting fruit and vegetables in order to increase their access to food. The report also states that 16% of households had inadequate access to food, with 6% experiencing severe inadequacy, and that, as the number of children increases per household, the level of inadequacy also increases, where 29.6% of households with 3+ children experience inadequate access to food, and 7.6% experience severe inadequacy.
Food security begins at home and in the backyard
Sihlahla says whether it is growing a single tomato plant or having a large backyard garden, growing fruit or vegetables in a home, community or school garden, provides a simple solution to improve household and individual access to nutritious food.
As a result the INMED SA teams have been hard at work creating and supporting home gardens in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. They are also launching a “Seeds For Life” project which will help contribute to the alleviation of food and nutrition insecurity, impacting the lives and wellbeing of adult’s and children’s health in five major areas. “Growing fresh food from seeds, is a uniquely satisfying, therapeutic and enriching experience for adults and children. It often re-connects people with nature, it nourishes them, it provides a measure of control in accessing fresh food, provides people with dignity and can be a shared labour and source of joy,” says Sihlahla.
“Every day has to be a Mandela Day. Today our teams handed out nutrient-dense food parcels to the families of the children who attend schools that are part of the organisations Health in Action programme in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. This has been an amazing experience. We are however committed to taking action and making a meaningful longterm change in the lives of those who need it most,” concludes Sihlahla.