Greater Manchester-based non-profit Human Appeal is involved in a range of aid and development projects around the world. Operating in 25 countries globally, its initiatives span everything from the provision of food, clean water and shelter to helping people establish sustainable livelihoods. One of its recent missions was a Home Gardening Project in Syria.
This initiative was designed to alleviate the food shortages experienced by residents of the city of Aleppo when it was under siege. Food prices in the city were prohibitively high and fresh vegetables were particularly expensive. The project aimed to help people benefit from a healthier and more diverse diet, as well as promote the idea of home gardening.
There were three main stages to the project. The first involved training people in gardening techniques, the second was providing agricultural resources to help them grow crops and the third was a follow up on the farming process.
A total of 12 training groups were formed and each was given two days of training, as well as follow up sessions. The training covered topics including soil, irrigation, fertiliser, gardening techniques and seasonal farming. Participants also got to practice the techniques, preparing soil and containers, planting seeds and spotting plant diseases. Once the sessions were completed, people were given kits containing soil, plastic bags, seeds, containers and an advice leaflet.
Unfortunately, because conflict in the city intensified, the follow up stage of the initiative was disrupted. However, the main goals of the project were achieved. Over 250 households in Aleppo received the training and resources they needed to start growing crops independently.
Human Appeal notes that although the initiative couldn’t achieve its expected results from a nutritional impact because it was interrupted, it did have a hugely positive impact on the psychology of participants. According to the charity, people felt excited and empowered by the project. Also, because the beneficiaries were subsequently evacuated to a rural area, they had an opportunity to invest in the farming knowledge they gained through the training.
As well as the Home Gardening Project, Human Appeal is involved in a wide range of other initiatives in Syria. One of these is the Food for Orphans project, which provides healthy meals each day to children in an orphanage, while another is focussed on improving access to clean water in areas that are besieged.
To find out more about the valuable work being done by the charity, and for information on upcoming Human Appeal events, you can visit the organisation’s website.