Local Champions: Models for Sustainable Livelihoods

Sustainable economic growth and food security for Ntjanini and Sigwe communities

About 70% of Eswatini’s population lives in the rural areas where household food security depends on a combination of subsistence production and food purchasing. However it has been not possible for the rural poor communities to produce enough food. The vulnerability assessments for 2014 indicated that 20-25% of Eswatini households are chronically food insecure. On a similar note, about 33% of children in the rural areas of Eswatini were reported to be stunted in 2010. The high prevalence of stunting is evidence of widespread under-nourishment as well as lack of dietary diversity and poor health including.
It is suspected that the effects of climate change (like continued droughts) have radically influenced a significant decrease in the productivity of livestock such as poultry, goats and cattle and major field crops such as legumes, cereals, roots and tubers which play an integral part in the food security and nutrition of the rural population. Couple with high poverty levels, most of the rural population are not able to timely purchase enough and proper inputs for agricultural production, leading to low productivity. There is a growing need for alternative, appropriate and sustainable strategies aimed at assisting rural households to sustain their food security using mainly local production inputs.

The project goal is to contribute to improved sustainable household livelihoods of at least 240 households under Ntjanini and Sigwe communities using integrated development approaches. This means that ACAT will
a) conduct trainings and demonstrations for Improved Agriculture including permaculture backyard gardens, traditional seed multiplication, proper food storage to reduce post harvest losses and food production using agro-ecological technologies.
b) promote rain water harvesting for improved access to domestic water
c) promote small animal production for household income generation by establishing small animal production activities, by the formation of livestock farmers’ groups to enhance production scale and marketing, by linking livestock farmers’ groups to relevant markets, and by providing business training and mentoring support to ensure profitability of enterprise.
d) provide vocational skills training to 90 ( mainly out of school) youth from the target communities.

The combination of related activities shall produce households that are able to improve and sustain their livelihoods. This is in line with the challenges of high food insecurity, unpredictable weather pattern which are associated with climate change as well as the high incidences of unemployment and poverty in most Eswatini rural communities, including the two targeted by the project.
ACAT is assisted by Cluster Level Associations (CLAs) for monitoring the households. First the self-help-groups (SHGs) then the CLAs have been established during previous projects (Comprehensive development for the far South-East und Empowering the local CBO Indvuli) and shall now help the households in implementing and sustaining the activities promoted by ACAT.

Project site

Shiselweni district / Ntjanini and Sigwe communities (Map)


Women: 250 benefit directly and around 30'000 indirectly
Men: 150 benefit directly and around 15'000 indirectly
Children under age 16: 960 benefit directly and around 1820 indirectly

Project costs and assistance by sahee

The entire project costs are CHF 105’000.–. The project is fully financed by sahee.

sahee stays in regular contact with the project leaders, monitors the activities and visits the project on site.

Duration of assistance

1st of March 2016 to 28th of February 2019

Local counterpart

Africa Cooperative Action Trust - ACAT

Project site


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Project overview

ACAT works in Sigwe and Ntjanini, two remote and dry communities in the Shiselweni District.


Backyard gardens shall increase food security


Cluster Level Associations (CLAs) are key for monitoring and motivating the households to implement the measures promoted by ACAT to improve food security in their households.