the agripreneurship Projects
It is quite common for South African women to be a single parent with many children but without a job. Aka'ani has therefore made it its mission to support the women of 'The Oaks' in building up their own agricultural business that will be self-sustaining in the long term, so that they can provide for their families. In order to teach the women agriculture and entrepreneurship, we need suitable school buildings equipped with chairs and tables, as well as other teaching materials. In the Training Center, courses are to take place in the future, in which the women can participate. Aka'ani has therefore invested in a piece of land, the 'Aka'ani Property', on which there where already three buildings. However before they can be used as a school they must be restored completely. A construction company has been hired to restore the building, whose founder Alfred is also from 'The Oaks' and has taken on the project. We were able to complete the first building now and are ready to set it up for our first class in on our own property.
Old building on the Aka'ani property
Newly renovated and old building
Aka'ani property from drone view
Builders working on the Aka'ani property
Founder Claudia speaking with one of the builders
Woman working on the LikeMountains Geranium farm
Aka'ani Geranium property
Feedback circle on the Aka'ani Geranium property
LikeMountains founder Anri on her farm
As every child knows, the available resources in South Africa are severely limited. So we had to come up with a project idea that was not only lucrative, but also required as few resources as possible. And that finally gave us the idea of a geranium farm. Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is a plant native to South Africa, which is suitable for our project for two reasons: Firstly, only little water is needed for its cultivation and secondly, essential oils can be produced from the leaves of the plant. Essential geranium oil is widely used as an ingredient in perfumes and cosmetics but also as a treatment for various health conditions such as skin diseases, bacterial infections and mental issues.
To establish a plantation, tools and seeds are needed as well as water and a suitable plot of land. Once the plan was in place, we started looking for a plot of land which works a little differently here in South Africa than we were used to from Germany. So we talked to the village elder, the so-called "Chief", who finally provided us with communal land, right next to a river and on the doorstep of the famous Kruger National Park.
Since we quickly realized that building our own distillation plant was not yet financially viable for us, we decided to cooperate with Like Mountains. Like Mountains is a farm in the middle of the Klein Drakensberg and produces and distills essential oils. In addition to geraniums (Pelargonium graveolens), they also have a variety of other plants on subleased land owned by the Moletele Community Property Association. Like Mountain gives young Moletele women the opportunity to learn how to grow and produce essential oils so that they are able to start their own production and sell appropriate units to Like Mountains Farm.
So, the aim of our plantation is to sell the harvested geraniums regularly to Like Mountains Farm, who will process and sell them accordingly. Through the cultivation and sale of geranium plants as a supplier, long-term jobs are to be created. Also the women of 'The Oaks' can buy seedlings from us for little money and grow them at there garden as learned in the Aka'Ani workshop and sell them back to us afterwards, which gives them a good side-income.
Moletele women working on the LikeMountain farm
By establishing several vegetable gardens in the village, we would like to motivate the women not only to earn some extra money by growing and selling their own vegetables, but also to learn how to establish and maintain a vegetable garden. For this purpose, we procured tools and seeds, as well as a water tank, which the women of the village could not finance themselves, but which are absolutely necessary for the construction of the gardens.
The women of the village have grown spring onions, chilies, beetroots and spinach so far, with beetroots and spinach now already ripe and ready for sale.
By establishing several vegetable gardens in the village, we would like to motivate the women not only to earn some extra money by growing and selling their own vegetables, but also to learn how to establish and maintain a their gardens. For this purpose, we procured tools and seeds, as well as a water tank, which are absolutely necessary for the cultivation of the gardens but not affordable to the women.
They have grown lettuce, onions, chilis/peppers, tomatoes, beetroots and spinach, which we are already selling in the village and also at some places in Hoedspruit, like 'The Farmery'.
One of our ladies Anna holding fresh beetroots
Ladies with fresh harvest
Ladies harvesting spinach
Fresh carrots out of the garden
MEET OUR TEAM
Asnath Lewele is an expert in geranium planting. She is 40 years old and lives in 'The Oaks'. She is a single mom of two kids. Asnath has worked in agriculture as well as in a game lodge before joining Aka'ani.
Anna Mauwane is our Aka'ani garden coordinator. She is 44 years old and lives in 'The Oaks'. Anna is a single mom of three boys. Before coming to Aka'ani, Anna worked as a teacher but lost her job due to Covid-19.
Engelina Mametje is 52 years old and also lives in 'The Oaks'. She is married and the mother of four children. Having worked in agriculture all her life, Angelina is an expert in geranium planting and a great help to our Aka'ani team.