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Presented By: Randy Watson, Natalie Watson

Event: ECHO East Africa Biennial Symposium 2023 Sustainable Agriculture Best Practices (2023-02-22)

Session: We overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in 10! Working with small communities: The presentation will address gaining trust, developing volunteer leaders, Identifying local needs and resources. Sustainability doesn’t just happen; beyond “I have taught, therefore they have learned” to behaviour change. Evaluate everything, reassess, refine your plan. Lessons learned: Integrating rainwater harvesting/conservation and agriculture programs.

Biographical information: Randy Watson founded Bopoma villages in Zimbabwe over 30 years ago. Randy is an interventional cardiologist in Ontario, Canada, directed clinical cardiology programs and cardiac catheterization labs and worked extensively leading multidisciplinary teams for care for heart attack victims and heart intervention programs. He interest in undergraduate, postgraduate, and continuing medical education led him to travel to Zimbabwe in 2009, which proved to be a life-changing journey. Randy felt God’s call on his life to help bring health, hope and opportunity to the people of Zimbabwe; he cofounded (with his wife Natalie) and serves as Executive Director of Bopoma Villages. Natalie Watson’s training is in law which she practiced as family law and for the Ontario government as a policy advisor on laws and programs affecting children and families. She retired in 2003 to devote her time to her family and serving her church and community. She homeschooled her children, taught Sunday school, led the Alpha course, and volunteered with Prison Fellowship Canada. Her heart was captured by the people and situations she encountered on her first trip to Zimbabwe in 2010. Since then, it has been her joy to commit her time and energy to meeting the needs of children and families in rural Zimbabwe through her role as Managing Director of Bopoma Villages’ Canadian operations.