The Chikukwa Project

Approaching SBS & Ronin Films - Self distributed at present
as above, 2013
Issue Date:
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Most attempts to set up sustainable farming projects in Southern Africa fail. Why then, has CELUCT (Chikukwa Land Use Management Trust), operating for over 20 years in Eastern Zimbabwe, been so successful in creating a community with more than enough food for its needs? Gillian Leahy (UTS) and Terry Leahy (UoN) are co-producers of this 52- minute documentary. Terry Leahy is a sociologist conducting research on food security projects in Africa. Gillian Leahy is the films director. The two filmmakers chose expository and interactive (interview) modes with observational footage, to ensure the widest possible dissemination of these research findings and to visually document the project, providing an evidence base and historical record. The film shows the most successful sustainable development project in Southern Africa, running for over 20 years using permaculture methods. The situation of the 7,000 Chikukwa villagers in the early nineties was difficult in the extreme, with seriously degraded land making it hard to get a good crop. Malnutrition was extreme. The film outlines the history of the project and posits arguments as to why currently it is so successful. Starting with a small self-help group, the project expanded to transform the landscape, agriculture and social context. In doing this it became much more than just an agricultural project, taking in participatory democratic community organisation, womens social groups, HIV/AIDS, pre-school education, traditional cultural revival and conflict mediation. Information on this project will be very useful to development projects around the world. The film is screening as part of UTS Speaks series in November 2013. It is already in demand by groups wishing to screen it. It will screen at the International Permaculture Conference, Cuba, 2013. The film has already raised funding to send two other African groups to train at CELUCT.
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