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Former Miss Namibia hands over hydroponics projects to Cafo

INNONATION Foundation, with the sponsorship of Agribank of Namibia, has handed over the first hydroponics urban farming unit to the Church Alliance for Orphans (Cafo), which supports the Bernhard Nordkamp Centre.

Miss Namibia 2018 and Innonation Foundation founder Selma Kamanya, says the foundation operates under mental health, women economic enablement, youth empowerment through arts advocacy and technological innovation, as well as agriculture pillars.

With support from Agribank of Namibia, Inno-Grows is set on enabling selected community centres, which rely on community feeding schemes, to become self-sufficient producers of their own food.

“This event carries significance in our quest to address the threats that have loomed over our food security and community feeding schemes, especially during the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic. Amid the chaos of the pandemic, our nation faced a daunting reality. At that time, our food systems and feeding infrastructure were greatly threatened,” she says.

Kamanya says on her journey as a volunteer over the past five years, one organisation at Goreangab left a permanent impression on her heart. She says at this centre, a lady feeds about 250 children each week at a soup kitchen she hosts, and every time she volunteered at this centre, they would source various sponsorships and donations to assist with the food supply for the soup kitchen.

“It became evident that we needed more than temporary fixes and to stop appropriating unsustainable practices. We needed a sustainable solution. We needed to provide nutritious meals to these children, educate them about healthy eating, and ignite a passion for agriculture that could pave the way for a brighter future, potentially predicating them on a new career trajectory in agriculture,” she says.

Kamanya says they decided to present the garden to Cafo, which supports the Bernhard Nordkamp Centre – an organisation dedicated to raising awareness about the challenges orphans and vulnerable children face.

She says the centre also ensures that the children receive one meal per day, which sometimes is all that some children eat for the entire day. She, however, says she cannot wait for them to be served a nutritious lunch from the vegetables picked from the garden.

Kamanya says to get where she is today has been a long journey of trial and error.

Thanking Agribank of Namibia for partnering with the Innonation Foundation on this gardening project, she says: “Their proactive approach and unwavering support for women in agriculture initiatives have been truly remarkable. And I am thankful for their pledged assistance to this project, which intends to spread out to different regions of Namibia.”

She says the lessons learnt over the past three years have served as an urgent call to action that Namibians must produce their own food.

“We aim to contribute to Namibia’s overall food production systems, firmly believing that urban agriculture, even on a smaller scale, can foster local food production value chains, strengthen our ecological footprint, and enhance the resilience of our modern food systems. Projects like this are necessary in our society to foster holistic, well-rounded children. They need to be provided with the basic necessities in order to actualise a future in which they can make something of themselves, and actualise their dreams as the leaders of tomorrow,” she says.