Nelson Mandela Foundation

Our work with our partners across the country has shown that successful implementation of the Legacy Garden and One Million Trees campaigns demonstrate meaningful participation towards achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Since the Rio Summit of 2002, the importance of voluntary, multi-stakeholder partnerships has been a core principle in the United Nations' commitment to achieving the SDGs. The recognition that complex development challenges can often only be addressed through the collaboration of organisations from all economic sectors has underpinned a quiet revolution in the way that humanitarian aid, environmental conservation, social development and economic investment have been implemented across the UN system.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, through our work on the Climate Crisis and Food Security, is supporting the  following Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Goals 1 and 2 –  No Poverty and Zero Hunger- To end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. Community gardens grow local food, often with permaculture systems, that can support neighbourhoods in times of food insecurity.
  • Goals 3 and 6 -  Good Health and Well-being and Clean Water and Sanitation-  To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. Community gardens welcome people of all ages, abilities and cultures. Gardening is healthy and promotes social, spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being.
  • Goals 9, 8 and 11 - Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities and Communities- To make cities inclusive, safe, sustainable, and resilient. Producing food locally reduces the pressure on the supply chain and makes communities more resilient.
  • Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production- To ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Community gardens share their surplus produce and further waste is turned into compost.

Health and Nutrition

A range of health and well-being threats could be addressed by initiatives such as community gardening. These threats include non-communicable diseases and their contributory risk factors such as low levels of physical activity and poor diet. Poor mental health is projected to be one of the most extensive population health issues and current trends, such as the increase in factors such as loneliness and poor social contact, will further exacerbate this situation. Poverty and food insecurity also contribute to the burden of poor health. More broadly, environmental degradation (both social and physical) has also been shown to impact health and well-being.

Community gardening has been argued to have the potential to improve the nutritional status of those involved. For example, where community gardeners focus on fruit and vegetable production, there is the potential that participants could improve their diets through more positive perceptions towards, awareness of, and access to healthy food.

Building Community Resilience

Trees contribute to climate action in many ways. For instance, their roots strengthen the ground around them, creating climate-resilient environments during heavy rains and flooding. Community gardens can also assist in socioeconomic recovery and self-sustainability. During these times, communities tend to seek cooperative measures to survive. Understanding the needs of the communities is key to addressing their needs through partnership and local participation.

Communal Crime Prevention

In Zandspruit, a low-income neighbourhood in Limpopo, people formed a community garden to sustain the community by providing after-school meals to children. Core to this is the safety and security of equipment, spaces, and people. When people are involved in the project, they are less likely to disrupt or vandalise it because they are invested in the success of the project.

Women and Youth Participation in Economic Restoration

Despite the rise in youth unemployment over the past decade, it has been evident that youth participation in communal gardening schemes is limited or non-existent in some parts. As we travel the country establishing gardens, we have seen that women have been core to these initiatives. Advocacy is needed about community garden work; it is gender fluid and people from all age groups have a role to play in the garden.

Sobantu PMB + Hulamin

There is a cooperative garden that is located in the uMgungundlovu region that was quite active before the floods that took place in parts of KwaZulu-Natal last year. Before the foods, their agricultural activities included planting spinach, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, butternuts, pumpkins, potatoes and beans. However, these activities have been adversely affected by the recent floods. Seedlings were previously were donated by uMgungundlovu Economic Development Agency. Their outputs were either donated to their local old age home or excess produce was sold to the local community.

Early Childhood Development, Climate Education, and Nutrition Diepsloot Needy kids ECD

Jeanette Ratlabjana is the principal of Needy Kids ECD Centre in Diepsloot. Beyond the role the centre plays for children and parents, it offers nutritious food for the centre, sourced from her food garden. The food garden has also been a source of food for three other centres in the area. In the event of a surplus, the children are also given vegetables to take home. However, due to inconsistent access to water, seeds, manure and other forms of infrastructure, this supply of food is often infrequent.