Due to climate change, the chance of receiving enough rainfall is becoming increasingly rare. This means Katamari and farmers like her struggle to grow enough food to provide for their families. That is why The Salvation Army has been working with the community to try to find ways to overcome the problems of infrequent rainfall.
Katamari has been trained in conservation agriculture, and has applied her learning on her land to improve her farming. She has learned how to increase her crop yields using minimal rainfall, conserve the soil to increase production and increase her knowledge of agricultural practices.
Before Katamari received training on using conservation agriculture techniques, she wasn’t making the best use of her land. She said: ‘I used to clear and burn all the weeds and maize stock after harvesting. I would not plant my seeds using any standard measurements or time my planting seasons’. This meant that the nutrients in the soil were being depleted over time and became more exposed to being dried out by the sun.
When Katamari spoke to us after her training, she smiled at the strides she has been able to make. She told us: ‘I now plant three seeds in one hole and use standard line measurements when planting. I also wean the unhealthy maize plants and add mulching which helps conserve the little soil moisture. I now know when to best plant my seeds...just before the rain season starts.’
But Katamari isn’t keeping this new knowledge all to herself; she has now trained four of her neighbours on what she has learnt so they can reap the benefits too.
This project started by just training 29 farmers in simple agriculture techniques. Thanks to each of them passing on their knowledge to others, over 500 people in this area have now improved their farming knowledge and improved their yields.
By doing so this can help them to produce a surplus which can they sell in order to pay for school and medical fees for their family.
On the outskirts of Kinshasa, The Salvation Army is supporting mothers to provide nutritious food for their children by growing and using moringa trees. Moringa is known as a ‘miracle tree’ because it is extremely rich in nutrients and almost every part has a beneficial use.
Veronique, a mother of four, became part of the moringa project as she was concerned about her children’s health. She said, ‘They were eating but not gaining weight. We were experiencing hard times and we had to struggle for survival. Nothing was going well.’
A Salvation Army volunteer from the local health clinic visited Veronique and discovered that her children were malnourished. So Veronique was provided with two moringa trees to plant and shown how to grind the leaves into a powder to add to the family’s food and help improve their nutrition. She was also given some moringa powder to help her children recover while she waited for the trees to produce leaves.
Veronique explained, ‘I am using moringa powder to add to my meals. Now my children are no longer falling ill. Now my children are healthy.’
So far The Salvation Army has provided moringa trees and training to over 100 mothers, but Veronique shared that there are many others in this area who are still in need of support: ‘My hope is that the project continues. Now life is OK for us. But some families are still suffering and have many children suffering from malnutrition.’
Help other mothers like Veronique provide nutritious food for their children by supporting the Enriching Lives Appeal. Click here fore more information.