Just the lift she needed
Then Oxfam gave Ipaishe and her neighbours the lift they needed to kick-start a dramatic change - a simple irrigation system using water from the nearby dam. After helping to clear the area of shrubs and trees and level the ground, each farmer was allocated a small patch of land and some lengths of pipe to carry water to their fields. They also received some training in how to make the most of their land to get several crops a year and a supply of maize seed and fertiliser to get them started.
Today, hundreds of households across the district are benefiting from this low-cost, low-tech irrigation system. And the project has started a chain reaction that has spread far beyond Ipaishe and her neighbours. The benefits from this one simple lift are now also rippling out to thousands of other people from the wider communities.
An investment in the future
Ipaishe, like the rest of Gutu's farmers, has seen her crop yields rise an astonishing 240% - and these yields are expected to rise even further. She can now grow enough to feed her family, but the impact of this project doesn't stop there. Ipaishe and her neighbours, thanks to a little bit of business training, are pooling their surplus crops and selling them in local markets and re-investing the profits. It also means they can earn enough to pay for their children's schoolbooks and uniforms - an invaluable investment in their community's future.
And this is a lasting, sustainable change that will lift lives for good. The confidence that this project has instilled means that people are now able to make their own decisions and pass on their new farming knowledge, so the whole community can benefit for generations to come.
"For the first time I have my own land to work. Now with water, it gives me more than enough food and I can sell the grain to pay for fees, medical bills, pay for help in the fields. I thank Oxfam forever."