Since 1989, Lindiwe Khumalo from Manyandzeni community has been challenged by community herds for her one source of living –quality weaving grass (lukhwane)!
“I would make 5 - 6 grass mats for the entire year, which is close to nothing. The herds would eat and ruin the weaving grass and, my yield I would get after cutting got smaller, year after year”, Khumalo said.
Lindiwe also explained that this was not just affecting her, people from other 2 communities were also facing the same challenge.
In 2022, World Vision Eswatini, joined hands with Eswatini Environmental Authority (EEA), to buy 6.3 km of fencing for the Bhidlili wetland that people cut weaving grass (lukhwane) from. People from 3 communities (about 2,700 households) under the Mantambe constituency, namely, Manyandzeni, Mchinsweni & Mabonabulawe, obtain weaving grass from this wetland.
“Things changed for the better”, Khumalo says, her face lighting up.
“I have already made 4 grass mats, and there is more weaving grass left. There’s a whole lot other rolls drying up in the other house that are awaiting to be sold as soon as they finish drying up. I’m even looking forward to paying a portion of my child’s tuition as Southern Africa Nazarene University (SANU), since she didn’t get scholarship”.
Khumalo sells her produce to local community members and sometimes, gets orders from other people outside of Manyandzeni. Each grass mat retails for E130.00 (over USD 6), whilst the dried up grass roll sells for E250.00 (over USD 13) each. These proceeds cater for the entire family’s basic needs, including the 6 children she lives with.
World Vision’s goal is to break the cycle of poverty for the most vulnerable by strengthening families’ capacity to provide well for their children and this is one of the means done to try and achieve this goal.