The Six Pillars

Umthathi’s Healthy Living Programme comprises various components all linked to Healthy Living.

 Permaculture gardening

The facilitation of permaculture gardening skills leads to the production of food using organic methods and renewable resources. The gardening section starts with learning about the soil and ends with practical work establishing a garden. Umthathi’s gardening methods teach people how to prevent soil erosion, conserve water, and protect biodiversity through propagation and cultivation of indigenous plants. Knowledge of organic cultivation makes our participants self-sufficient gardeners without needing to rely on fertilizers, chemicals, or seed companies. The methods taught are not labour or cost intensive and are thus appropriate to members of the community and schools who are not physically strong and do not have a great deal of time or money. Umthathi also has a community garden – Linomtha Community Garden – where community members from Extension 6 and 7 practice permaculture  gardening and ensure sustainable nutritious food production for their families through this technique.


The nutrition section focuses on good nutrition and is linked to produce harvested from the garden. Training includes how to plan for a balanced diet, what a balanced diet is and how to cook food nutritiously. The training encourages more intake of vegetables and fruit thereby ensuring family nutrition for sustainable livelihoods. We also focus in nutritious and cost effective cooking methods including making and using hot boxes and solar cookers.


The hygiene section focuses on the principles of basic self, home and community hygiene. This training also helps in understanding the important link between nutrition and hygiene to health to a better health

Home Based Health Care

Training in home based healthcare looks at identifying qualities and skills that make a good carer, being able to assess the needs of a patient and knowing when to seek for professional assistance. This session of the training links closely to Hygiene and Nutrition trainings in ensuring that the medication prescribed for the patient works more efficiently.

 Income Generation

Umthathi uses tools – AgriPlanner and AgriBest – to teach learners and community members about developing and managing a small business based on the garden. Umthathi also teaches community members how to make Isithambiso – a natural antibiotic – that is made from herbs that help with treating minor wounds and skin problems. Community members are encouraged to make and sell this  Ointment/Isithambiso in their communities and generate an income.

We also suggest other aspects, linked to the garden that could be used for income generation.

 Coping with Climate Change

Our training on Climate Change raises the participants’ awareness for climate problems and conveys knowledge on climate adaptation and mitigation as well as development. CLiDR (Climate and Disaster Risks) is a participatory tool to determine the risks of climate change and other natural disasters to poor communities who do not have the resources to adapt to or cope with the impacts of climate change. It aims to analyze existing or planned projects with regards climate change and disaster risks. As part of  the many coping strategies that help minimize  our carbon footprint, Umthathi also teaches communities how to make a Hotbox and use it to cook their food.


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