INCOME STRENGTHENS PEACE

Congo is daring to rebuild. Improving nutrition and incomes will provide hope for the future, particularly for women and adolescents.  

 

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A Welthungerhilfe agricultural training project. All Photos: (c) Herzau / Welthungerhilfe

Project name

Securing the food supply for the war-affected population on the edge of the Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Term

October 2015 to December 2019

Target Group

About 100,000 inhabitants of the 25 villages in the Watalinga district and about 60,000 people on the Cambatule - Mutwanga – Mwenda road. Direct beneficiaries: about 55,000 people

Despite its wealth of natural resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world. The majority of its population of around 65 million is starving. Political unrest and armed conflicts with neighboring countries and rebel groups have repeatedly led to displacement of the local population and the collapse of the economy. The unemployment rate is around 90 percent, while the average wage is among the lowest in the world. The country has been slow to recover from the effects of these wars.

But people are daring to rebuild. In the particularly impoverished province of North Kivu on the border with Uganda, Welthungerhilfe [World Hunger Aid] works with them to secure food and income. Success in this area will also help end the usual vicious circle in the region: lacking jobs and prospects for the future, young people are more easily recruited by rebels. The violence employed by these groups weakens the entire region. Accordingly, a secure food supply is the best way to prevent further violence.

 

Improving production and infrastructure

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Region of Beni: "Cash for Work" work for the repair of a road.

The project regions Mutwanga and Watalinga lie at the foot of Mount Rwenzori near Virunga National Park. The approximately 55,000 small farmers who live in the area plant cassava, beans, plantains and palm oil. Some also have cocoa or coffee plantations, and therefore have access to products that are very much in demand, as long as quantity and quality are right. In Welthungerhilfe training courses, farmers learn how they can increase their crop yields with new cultivation methods and high-quality seed. But they learn much more than that, such as how to process and market agricultural products in a professional manner. For example, the quality of the cocoa can be significantly improved by properly tending the crop, determining the optimal harvesting time and proper fermentation and drying techniques.

 

To this end, facilities have been set up at four locations for peeling and drying cocoa and coffee. Farmers are being encouraged to organize and form cooperatives. Since there is a lack of space where goods can be sold and stored, Welthungerhilfe is working with the farmers to build two market places and two storage depots. In addition, a 50-kilometer-long road and bridge are in need of repair. At present, sections of this road are only traversable by motorcycle, but the repairs will make it possible once again for trucks to use the road. Over 5500 men and women are working on this project, for which they are receiving several months' worth of income. Once the work is completed, "road committees" will be responsible for maintaining the road, and will charge tolls to cover the cost of necessary repairs.

 

Appeal to the youth

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Spectators at the opening ceremony for the newly built market stalls.

The project will create many new jobs, especially in agriculture, and will therefore provide hope for the younger generation. The necessary know-how can be acquired in a competence and teaching center for ecological, market-oriented agriculture. Each year, the institute plans to enroll 100 young people full-time and 1,000 adults studying part-time in courses relating to agricultural topics and animal husbandry. In addition, retailers, hairdressers and carpenters are urgently seeking new talent, and young people are called upon to apply with ideas and a business plan. These are hopeful signs in a country stricken by crisis.

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A Project by

Welthungerhilfe

Welthungerhilfe (WHH)

Welthungerhilfe is one of the largest private aid organizations in Germany and is committed to a secure diet, the development of agriculture and the conservation of resources.

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