In Congo, Beatrice’s family is now thriving

In Congo, Beatrice’s family is now thriving

A year after Beatrice received agricultural training in FRB’s DRC-Katanga-Kamina program, her situation has changed from desperate to thriving. Last year, her family of nine suffered when her husband lost her job and her youngest child fell seriously ill.

Members of her church helped pay the hospital fees, and things started looking up when a friend told her about a program that offered training in farming. The FRB program gave her hope because she saw it as a way to feed her family, earn a decent income, and gain reliable access to food, healthcare, education and other life necessities.

Beatrice lived outside of the area covered in the program, but she made her case with the local staff, and they agreed to accept her into the yearlong training if she agreed to share her newfound knowledge with her own community. The program seeks to be sustainable in this way: after each cycle, the students become teachers for a new group.

Through the FRB program, Beatrice and other farmers have been learning a new way to farm using organic methods such as composting, creating organic pesticides, and preserving seeds. Practicing farming as a family business and working out marketing strategies is helping them gain independence from exploitation by traders and middlemen.

The students grow vegetables throughout the dry season, harvest them at the beginning of the wet season, then plant staple crops like maize, cassava and beans. Soy and moringa (a fast-growing, highly nutritious tree, all of whose parts can be used) are new crops that were added to increase affordable sources of protein, vital nutrients and minerals.

And because nutrition, access to safe water and sanitation are inextricably entwined, and waterborne diseases and parasites can undermine nutritional and health gains, participants are trained in basic nutrition and sanitation and build latrines, wells and household water filters.

“I got the training, practiced what I’d learned on my field, and started to produce vegetables,” says Beatrice. “My vegetables are selling well in the market.”

Highly motivated and hardworking, she’s been able to pay for supplementary food, healthcare, school fees for her family, and even had some money left over to donate to less fortunate members of her extended family. And she’s passing along the gift of training to others in her neighborhood.

“Today, with my production, I am a happy woman,” she says. “All I can say is thank you to all the facilitators and donors. May God bless you all.”

DRC Katanga Kamina encompasses 3 communities, 90 households, and 630 individuals.

Based on an article by Julia Kayser Frisbie.

04/10/2015 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment