An evaluation of urban community gardens as a poverty alleviation so, strategy: A case study if Entumbane (Ward 10) community gardens in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
The study seeks to evaluate the role of Urban Community Gardens as a poverty alleviation strategy in the City of Bulawayo. Issues of poverty and food insecurity have generally been associated with rural areas. However, the current high rate of urbanization in developing countries these issues have been brought into limelight in urban areas with multitudes of urban dwellers taking up agriculture to supplement their meager incomes. In the City of Bulawayo residents are being thrown out of formal employment due to economic recession which is leading either to closure or relocation of industries, in some cases scaling down of operations. In this study a case study research design was used. Four community gardens in ward 10 Entumbane were studied. Purposive sampling was used to identify the beneficiaries to ensure that the key informants have the right qualities and information for the study. The study revealed that the gardens are sustainable survival livelihood strategy which is benefiting the poor in the wake of increasing poverty in the City of Bulawayo. Beneficiaries are enjoying positive livelihood outcomes in the form of food security, acquisition of assets, social integration, income and better access to health and education. The study also reveals that although people might be presented with same livelihood assets/capability sets the effectiveness of these in transforming the beneficiaries livelihood depends on various internal and external factors affecting them individually. Furthermore, the study reveals that the impact of gardens as a poverty alleviation strategy us related to the size of the land allocated to the beneficiaries. In view of the above research findings, it is recommended that more land be allocated to the beneficiaries to increase their returns and incomes. There is an urgent need to increase access to water through drilling more boreholes at the sites.There is also need to establish a formal marketing system to ensure that beneficiaries get substantial income yo transform their livelihoods.