Food Security... For All!
Issue: Food and Agriculture
Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
Rosa ABABILI MAJIMERU is a 65 year old widow in Nyamutiri village. Rosa takes care of eight people in her household.
Mrs. Rosa Ababili is a farmer in Nyamutiri village who has been growing her own cassava to make rowe - a cassava dough eaten with sauce and vegetables - since her husband died. To support her family she cooks and sells the rowe . Unfortunately, Nyamutiri was hit by cassava mosaic disease in 2005, which greatly reduced crop yields throughout the village including Rosa’s own field. Unable to either produce or buy enough cassava plants because the price had gone up, Rosa was not able to sell enough rowe to continue to provide for her family. Things got so bad that sometimes they didn’t have enough for even a single meal each day. Thanks to Africare’s distribution of seeds resistant to cassava mosaic disease, and to the improved farming techniques she has learned through the USAID-funded JENGA JAMAA project**, Rosa now hopes to increase her cassava crop so that she can once again make and sell rowe to support her family.
Safi MABAKOBERE is a 60 year old widow taking caring of a household of 11 people in Nyamutiri village. She is a returnee and head of her household.
Mrs. Safi returned to DRC about a year and a half ago. She had been living in Muhinga camp in Burundi as a refugee since 2004 when she fled combat between RCD rebels and the Congolese military. Upon her return to her country, she found that her house had been destroyed and thus went to live with her son, who couldn’t work because of his suffering from hepatitis; but, never-the-less, was already taking care of ten people. Not owning even her own hoe, Safi depended on neighbors to borrow tools; and therefore couldn’t expand the family field or weed it as often as necessary. In desperation, she was working on neighbors' farms for about 60 cents or a few pieces of cassava a day. Through Africare’s support from the USAID-financed JENGA JAMAA project**, Safi received tools and disease-resistant seeds, as well as training in improved planting and farming techniques. This help has allowed her to plant her own cassava field and to work independently on schedule with the agricultural season. Safi also receives cornmeal and vegetable oil distributed by Africare, which allows her to meet her family’s daily needs so that she no longer has to work as a day laborer.
Paulin AMURI is 26 years old and married with five children. He is an Africare JENGA JAMAA project beneficiary who was a refugee in Burundi but recently returned to DRC.
Paulin used to live in Rwenena village in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) until 2004 when military combat between the RCD (Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie) rebel group and the Congolese army caused him to flee with his pregnant wife and two children across the border to Burundi. He lived for about two years in a refugee camp in Rurama; and returned to the DRC in 2006 when he felt sure that the conflict was over on the eve of democratic elections. Upon returning to Rwenena, he found his house and cassava field, where he had invested all his savings, in ruins. To survive, he and his wife were forced to look for day labor in neighboring fields. Amidst these difficult conditions, Paulin managed to rebuild his house by himself without the help of neighbors who, facing the same problems and in competition for work, weren’t happy about his return. Paulin was barely able to feed his family a single daily meal, but with Africare’s support through the USAID financed JENGA JAMAA project**, he has been provided with basic farm tools, improved seed varieties, as well as technical agricultural training. Paulin has now replanted his own cassava field which allows him not only to feed his family at least once a day, but also to share a little bit with his neighbors -- building friendship and understanding.
** The USAID funded JENGA JAMMA Project works to increase crop production and increase livelihood resilience among vulnerable populations in Fizi and Uvira territories in the Democratic Republic of Congo.