The Gwakiongo garden
The Gwakiongo garden was established in 2005, when local self-help groups (voluntary associations of local residents) decided to fence out a portion of the land bordering the reservoir situated just beside the Gwakiongo village. The reservoir, built by a former colonial settler, represents an important source of water for the village, especially during severe droughts when the sources of the Morendat River tend to go dry. The village community provided substantial investment to purchase the fencing material: 800 posts, 20 kg of nails, 10 coils of barbed wire; and offered voluntary labour for building the fence, as well as planting trees and guarding the new garden. The Gwakiongo Garden provides today essential services to the local community. It separates the village market and surrounding shops and residential buildings from the reservoir, so that no solid garbage or untreated domestic water can enter the reservoir without being intercepted by the garden's grass and tree roots. It shelters the reservoir edge from bank erosion preventing excessive reservoir siltation. It provides a readily available tool for educating local youth in fostering trees and preserving natural assets. It adds distinction, amenity and aesthetic value to the village surroundings, enhancing the sense of place felt by local residents. It constitutes a pleasant setting for informal as well as official meetings. A small portion of the garden developed into a small tree nursery that provides employment for the local youth and promotes tree planting among local residents.