Review paper on ‘Garden Kits’ in Africa: lessons learned and the potential of improved water management

Research on home gardens in Africa must rewind and refocus on the grassroots, according to a new report published by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). It explores the available knowledge and lessons learned from past experiences in promoting home gardens in Africa, with a special emphasis on water management. The report, which is part of the USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) project, highlights the lack of research directly involving the rural home gardeners at the grassroots level. It points out that research needs to be framed around actual home garden practices, as well as issues and opinions of the gardeners. It also emphasizes the need for researchers to focus on more inclusive assessments. In this respect, the report urges fellow researchers to break away from the conventional approach of treating home gardens in isolation. Instead, they should be viewed as part of a bigger picture that takes into account agriculture, water supplies and prevailing health, social and economic systems. Follow-up of research results is seen as the critical missing link in actually making use of research results.