This Lent, our Bishop, Christopher, is asking for our financial support for Southwark’s linked dioceses in Zimbabwe and projects there focusing on food security.

At The Barn, we fall under the Kingston Episcopal Area which is linked to the Diocese of Matabeleland. This is a huge Diocese (about 75,000 sq. kilometres). To the west, it hits the country’s borders with Zambia, Botswana and Namibia and a tiny bit of it even borders South Africa. It covers both rural land and towns where there used to be a lot of industrial and economic activity. But it seems that no matter where you go in the Diocese now, life is hard and there is food poverty and a lack of employment and opportunities.

The Diocese of Matabeleland is currently implementing a Food Security Project in Natabazinduna. This is a town northeast of Bulawayo in Umguza District. Bulawayo is one of the biggest towns in the Diocese and is where the Cathedral can be found.

A group learning about farming at the St Aidans centre MatabelelandThe Diocese has taken two approaches to improving the food security situation for vulnerable households in Ntabazinduna:

  1. Supporting a total of 220 farmers directly with seed and fertiliser and with creating bore holes for water.
  2. Establishing a farmer learning and demonstration centre at St Aidan’s Farm. A total of 32 households are receiving training in all aspects of irrigated agriculture on the scheme. The training covers agronomy of various irrigated crops (field crops and vegetables), water management and scheduling, cropping programme, post-harvest techniques and agribusiness competency. The program’s agribusiness training will equip farmers in record keeping, cash-flow management, crop budgets, product pricing, marketing and negotiating skills. If the Centre can help farmers learn how to market their crops it will help improve cash income flows and ultimately result in the improvement of livelihoods.

Might you consider giving to help the farmers at St Aidan’s and Ntabazinduna the chance to learn how to and begin to grow their own crops so that they can begin to ensure that they and their families can have more of a future than seems possible now?

There are several ways you can give…

  • By putting a donation in a yellow ‘lent appeal’ envelope at The Barn – don’t forget to write your details on it because if you are a UK tax payer we may be able to claim gift aid on the donation and get 25% more money at no cost to you.
  • Online via the Charities Aid Foundation
  • By text. Just text BSLA17 followed by the amount you wish to donate, to 70070. You can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10.
    As an example, to donate £5, you would text the following to 70070: BSLA17£5
    All the money you donate goes to us, and your network provider does not charge you for the SMS you send to make the donation.
  • By post. Donations can be sent directly to:
    The Hon. Treasurer
    The Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call
    c/o Trinity House
    4 Chapel Court
    Borough High Street
    London. SE1 1HW
    Cheques should be made payable to ‘The Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Fund’. (Charity no. 1075122)

To learn more about Bishop Christopher’s most recent visit to our linked dioceses in Zimbabwe visit his “I was hungry…I was thirsty” blog.