In the early 1990s, a civil war broke out in Burundi, lasting 12 years. More than 200,000 people died and many fled to neighboring countries seeking refuge.
The violence destroyed villages, schools, the economy—and now Burundi is rebuilding itself. It’s a beautiful country with massive potential. However, the effects of war linger on with two-thirds of the population living below the poverty line.
With agriculture being the main economic activity, Food for the Hungry (FH) has projects designed to teach men and women farming practices to increase crop yields. As these farmers yield more crops, they sell extra produce to get money for school fees, medicine and other needed items.
FH uses a unique method to spread knowledge of good farming practices through a community. Through a cascade model, one community member is trained and then trains several others. It’s social networking. The information spreads fast, since it’s delivered to community members from someone they trust.
Magarite Mukankundiye, a widowed mother of three children, received some FH training in 2009 and shared the knowledge in her community.
“FH in this community has invested in people. People love FH because their monitors and supervisors come deep in the community and are engaged in the daily lives of the community member,” said Magarite.
Magarite oversees 78 people through cascade group training. She teaches women in her group to improve the nutrition in their homes through kitchen gardens, such as using manure from goats to improve soil.
Reaping the benefits
Nahimana Marie Gusile is one farmer who learned to increase her crops through this training. The 26-year-old woman takes care of two children, ages 12 and 18 months old. She owns a small piece of land where she grows food for her and her kids.
In 2009, she joined one of FH Burundi’s agriculture projects. “FH has taught me so many techniques on how to cultivate vegetables at home, which greatly improves nutrition. My harvest has doubled thanks to the FH training. I have enough to eat and enough to sell in the market,” Nahimana says.
She has fruitful tomato plants that will improve her household income over a long period of time. She, like others in her community, has hope for her children. Thanks to your partnership, you’re making work like this possible. Thank you for bringing hope to Burundi.