Why Villages

The Present Condition of Rural Villages

Rural communities in the Global South are home to nearly 2.5 billion people, living on almost half a billion small farms. Traditionally dedicated to subsistence farming, many of these villages now find themselves unable to achieve food security year-round. Consequently, residents are often compelled to migrate to urban slums, where they endure unhealthy or precarious labor conditions.

Villages as a Source of Urban Poverty

The challenges faced by farmers in rural villages, including food insecurity, drive internal migration to urban areas. In Zambia, an alarming 48% of the urban population, nearly all of them migrants from rural villages in crisis, resides in slum conditions. Tevel's approach is dedicated to preserving the essence of small-scale farming communities, ensuring that they have the opportunity to remain in their villages connected to their cultural roots and free from dangerous working conditions in urban slums. If they choose to migrate to urban areas, we also wish to ensure that they do so from a position of strength rather than desperation. Our methodology creates an environment conducive to sustainable livelihoods, facilitating the shift from subsistence farming to small-scale commercial agriculture for rural communities. Our comprehensive, community-driven approach harmonizes traditional and agroecological practices, guaranteeing food security. This, in turn, obviates the need for migration to urban slums, where, unfortunately, newcomers often find themselves trapped in deeper cycles of poverty.

Village Context in Zambia

Zambia, where Tevel is concentrating its efforts ranks among the world's most food-insecure nations. The majority of farming households in Zambia are engaged in subsistence farming, facing significant obstacles related to limited access to critical infrastructure, inputs, markets, information, technologies, and financial credit. These challenges are further exacerbated by the adverse effects of climate change, which are aggravated by practices like charcoal production for fuel, involving the cutting and burning of trees. In Tevel's model project location of Mphande, a staggering 68% of subsistence farmers are involved in charcoal production during the dry season. This activity contributes to deforestation, accelerates desertification, and releases greenhouse gasses during the dry season, making it a substantial driver of deforestation that compounds the challenges encountered by subsistence farmers.

The importance of maintaining community villages

Small-scale farmers are indispensable in safeguarding food systems and preserving local cultures in villages throughout the Global South. In Zambia, the focal point of Tevel's ongoing initiative, where 80% of the nation's food is cultivated by small-holder farmers, these villages play a pivotal role. They act as cultural and communal wellsprings and uphold local food systems. The power of community solidarity, as highlighted by Tevel's work, becomes a potent resource for impoverished villagers in transforming crisis into opportunity. Upholding sustainable eco-agricultural practices within these community villages is not just about preserving traditions; it's a strategic approach to navigate the evolving challenges brought about by climate change, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.
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