INMED has partnered with USAID Southern Africa to expand its Adaptive Agriculture Program (AAP) for people with disabilities in the Free State province. The project is integrating people with disabilities into the mainstream economy through new, adaptive agricultural technologies and assisting DPSA in accessing funding for their organisation.
“This project not only benefits member agricultural cooperatives, but also increases our capacity as an organization to provide better services to our members,” said Mlungisi Tolie, Provincial Chairperson of the Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) Free State Province.
INMED is using aquaponics as a revolutionary approach to the interrelated issues of poverty, food security, nutrition, economic development and exclusion by preparing small-scale producers with disabilities and their communities to adapt to climate change while conserving natural resources and increasing access to economic and technical assets.
“INMED has worked in the disability sector in South Africa since 2012, delivering direct training and technical assistance in sustainable, climate-change adaptive agriculture, as well as substantial inputs to enable members of disabled persons’ cooperative groups in the Free State and Limpopo provinces to launch new income-generating enterprises,” notes Dr. Linda Pfeiffer, President and CEO of INMED Partnerships for Children. “Aquaponics also has improved food security and self-reliance of people with disabilities.”
INMED South Africa has installed two new aquaponics systems in Free State for DPSA member cooperatives in Kroonstadt and Henneman. INMED also upgraded an earlier aquaponics system it installed several years ago in Wesselsbron for the Monyakeng Disabled People South Africa (MDPSA) cooperative. Through the implementation of INMED aquaponics, the cooperative turned a profit for the first time ever.
INMED Aquaponics, says MDPSA member Ennica Mbhele, “has brought us something new that has already changed our lives. Now our project is going to grow bigger. I see many things in the future because we will be able to create more jobs for the community.”
The new USAID-funded program also includes business training, train-the-trainer workshops, intensive collaboration with DPSA’s Free State Provincial Office and community outreach.
“USAID is very pleased to partner with INMED to help empower local disability groups to fully participate in the South African economy,” says USAID/South Africa Mission Director John Groarke. “Our partnership strengthens the agricultural production system and brings people with disabilities into the modern economy, while strengthening the long-term ability of Disabled People South Africa to better support the needs of its members.”