Wadhurst Parish Church


Wadhurst Burundi Link

Report: October – December 2020

Primary school children having just received their new uniforms

With a vision of graduating nine communities out of extreme poverty and into self-reliance by 2025, the Mwumba Cluster has faced a challenging time through 2020.

Covid-19 restrictions have slowed project implementation as some activities have been delayed or cancelled. In addition to this, food security for the coming months is looking less stable after a season of irregular heavy rainfalls. However, as you will see from this report, progress is still being made and the target communities continue to demonstrate their desire to take control of their own destinies.

Education

Rodriguez, one of the students who has benefitted from his school fees being paid
for by Food for the Hungry

Notebooks, pens, and school uniforms were given to 125 children from vulnerable households and 26 children were supported with their school fees. Tables, chairs, registers, and textbooks were distributed according to need among three schools in time for the commencement of the school year in September 2020. School attendance has reached an impressive 98%, which demonstrates the difference which is made when schools and pupils are sufficiently equipped.

Water Supply and Sanitation

A new Water Committee comprising 22 trained members has been effectively promoting WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) practices within the community, ensuring a clean and healthy environment at the various locations where water is collected. An additional 3000 people have been given access to water since a pipe extension in Karungura. A new water tank has also been installed with two taps to provide potable drinking water. The community now has access to three tanks and eight taps.

Farming and Nutrition

Supplies of nutrient-dense dried vegetable soup has been provided to 250 vulnerable families – totaling about 1000 children. Meanwhile, 45 lead farmers were supplied with vegetable seeds to distribute among 540 apprentice farmers who have established kitchen gardens to improve nutritional diversity at household level.

Climate smart agriculture practices have been adopted by the farming fraternity, including Farming God’s Way methods and an intercropping practice known as the ‘push-pull technique’ (a system of growing different crops together which either trap or repel pests). Demonstration farms have been used to effectively pass on these practices among apprentice farmers, resulting in increased agricultural production and preservation of soil fertility. Capacity has increased for a further 25 lead farmers to reach 300 more new apprentices in time for the next agricultural season.

Livelihoods

53 saving groups were established totaling 1399 members, many of whom will be able to acquire business start-up loans. Already 15 group members have been trained in business management.

Dealing with domestic violence

Savings Group members meet to discuss business

Gender-based violence is being addressed through meetings aimed at changing mindsets towards the role of women in the family unit. Mixed groups of men and women learn together how they can best plan for a better life and a safe home environment for mothers and children. Topics cover gender equality and building healthy relationships. It is hoped and expected that these meetings will lead to a decline in domestic violence.

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Success story

Saidi inspecting his crops

Sixty year old Saidi from Kabasazi, and his wife, Amida, have 7 children. Both parents are peasant farmers who enjoy their work. As a lead farmer, Saidi describes his experience being a beneficiary of a Food for the Hungry development project: “I started practicing soil conservation agriculture after a two-year period of curiosity about the new agricultural practices taught by FH Burundi in the community of Mwumba.

“I joined the agriculture project in 2019 under the supervision of FH staff and was able to participate in training related to soil conservation. With the knowledge acquired, I began to practice agriculture by implementing two techniques – Farming God’s Way and Push-Pull, while using organic manure manufactured following the hot compost system.

“I worked on my field which was previously considered only marginally productive. For the first season FH gave me 4kg of corn seeds, which I sowed according to Farming God’s Way methods. At harvest time my field produced 237 kg of dry corn grain. For the second season FH gave me 12kg of selected bean seed, which I sowed on the same field using the same method as before, yielding a harvest weighing in at 312kg. This is triple the harvest of 2018 before I joined the project.

“For the next season, with the support of 5kg of selected corn seed from FH, I am anticipating a harvest as much as 500kg of dry corn grain. Some community members use my field as a reference for their learning and it gives me great joy to be an example to my neighbors. I thank FH Burundi for strengthening my knowledge.”

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Food for the Hungry believes that change must not be imposed from outside.  The local leaders identify the needs that are most important to their community. Any change is brought about by working with the local people – Food for the Hungry call this “walking with the poor”.

Food for the Hungry also believes any change must be sustainable over the long term –  there is no quick fix.  The Wadhurst-Burundi Link aims to continue its support for the community of Mwumba over the next ten years.