Gatehouse Farm & Agricultural Program
Since the launch of the Gatehouse Agricultural Program in 2018, it has played a key role in serving the community of Marondera. The program was initially launched to serve as a pathway for students to transition into successful adulthood while receiving vocational training in agriculture. Over time, and over the course of a difficult season, the farm has expanded its reach to serve the children of Musha We Vana and over 1,000 people in the community of Marondera.
The Gatehouse Farm & Agricultural Program includes an extracurricular training program for the children living at Musha We Vana to assist in developing agricultural knowledge and skills from an early age. Students gain hands-on experience as they learn about agriculture in fun and interactive ways. The children learn life skills, composting, and basic horticulture while learning to work together toward a shared goal.
The yields from the farm provide nutritious food not only to the children of Musha We Vana but to the community of Marondera as well. The sale of yields from the farm serve as a platform for students to build agricultural business skills, while offering a source of affordable produce to the community. The farm currently produces crops of maize (corn), sugar beans, and soybeans. Active pig and poultry projects serve as training ground, as well as a source of protein rich meat for the children at Musha We Vana.
To date, 112 students at various age levels have received agricultural training at the Gatehouse Farm. The program has successfully transitioned 10 students into adulthood who have gone on to build careers in agriculture around the country, and has equipped every child at Musha We Vana with the skills necessary to provide for themselves and their families through crops, pig rearing, and poultry.
There are currently 5 new graduates at Musha We Vana who will be candidates to enter the program this year.
The 7 children graduating this year, 5 of whom will join the Gatehouse Program.
Despite the many challenges the team has faced over the last 3 years, the future is bright for the Gatehouse Farm and Agricultural Program. They are currently in the process of furnishing a workshop space and developing a curriculum to expand their offerings to include training in carpentry and welding. They are also working to build a training program for tailoring. As they are able to expand to these offerings, the team plans to begin opening the program to other candidates in the community as an affordable career training option. There are currently 4 staff members employed through the Gatehouse Program. As the programs expand into new areas of focus they will add new more specialized instructors to the team!