Advancing Sustainable Livelihoods through Community Gardens
Ibutwa’s Sustainable Livelihoods program is very dedicated to supporting women’s journeys in becoming self-sufficient and focuses on empowering women through income-generating activity. In addition, Ibutwa works hard to develop community building by encouraging the women to support one another and care for each other as a family would. Self-sustainability in terms of adequate and substantial nourishment has been a very large part in the pursuit of assisting these women. Because they often have limited means, they previously relied on taking the small amount of leftover food from the fields they worked in or working various odd jobs in order to get small amounts of income used to provide sustenance to themselves and their children. Even if the women were successful in obtaining a substantial amount of food for their families, it was rarely nutritious. Therefore, in accordance with the Sustainable Livelihoods mission, in December, Ibutwa was able to purchase two acres of land for the Kamanyola community in hopes to establish a community garden to support the 5 women and 18 children that live in the village. Patrick Bulumba Murhula, a focal person within the village, has divided the land into five plots and each woman is responsible for her own plot of land. Ibutwa was fortunate enough to finance the seeds the women needed, the machine involved in tilling the soil, and various other supplies the women needed in order to be successful in this endeavor.
The women began planting their crops (mostly corn and beans) in February. It’s estimated that production will consist of 3,000 tons of agriculture, 2,000 of which will provide for the women and their families, and the profit from the remaining amount will be recycled back into Ibutwa funds in accordance with Ibutwa’s emphasis on financial planning and the ability to successfully participate in loan repayment. The profit allocated back to Ibutwa will then be used to finance the seeds needed for the next season.
Ibutwa hopes that this will be a successful and empowering experience for the women of Kamanyola. In addition, we hope to start a very similar community garden in the larger village of Uvira very soon, but we are still waiting to access land from the vice governor.
Ibutwa purchased 2 acres of land for an agricultural project. Ibutwa participants in Kamanyola will now be able to grow nutritious crops for their daily consumption. Your support will help strengthen our mission in South Kivu/Congo. Check back in to see more updates on how the community garden is developing in Kamanyola!