In line with the Bulungula Incubator’s objective to build local capacity, we are in the process of mentoring and training Phumzile Msaro (currently our community facilitator) to take over as field officer for the Essential Oils Project. At the moment this post is being filled by our German volunteer (Felix), who will be leaving at the end of March.

Phumzile has been with the BI since 1 July 2009 and has demonstrated his ability to co-ordinate, motivate, facilitate and manage processes and people in his role as community facilitator. Phumzile comes with an excellent skills set and will be provided with support, training and mentorship where necessary. We feel that he has the potential to grow this project within and beyond Nqileni Village.

Phumzile has already been hard at work with our project monitoring and evaluation.

Baseline assessments have been undertaken with each of the 14 currently participating farmers. These assessments are designed to monitor impact of the project on:

  • Knowledge of farming techniques
  • Types and range of crops grown
  • Food security
  • Household income sources (including dependence on migrant labour)

We have also formalised our approach to ongoing monitoring with the introduction of a simple assessment form which will be completed twice a month for each farmer, when routine field visits take place. The information that is collected will enable us to respond rapidly to any serious problems and will also help us to identify factors that may ultimately increase or decrease the yield at harvest.