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Building the Whole Community Together

Ngendakumana Adèle and her husband Francois working in their field. Photo: Francois Ndibwami

March 11, 2014

By Simon Chambers

Ngendakumana Adèle is the head of one of 600 families in the Diocese of Gitega, Burundi who have been given starter seed and animals and learned farming techniques to better provide for their families. “We got support and can produce food now. We are cultivating two fields, which produce enough for our family and extra to sell for income,” she says. “We can send our children to school and we have enough food to eat.”

Ngendakumana and her husband Francois grew up as Burundian refugees in Tanzania, but returned to their homeland after the civil war ended a few years ago. They now live in the village of Gasunu, where PWRDF and the Diocese of Gitega are working with vulnerable families to improve their levels of nutrition and income.

“We provide seeds so they can grow beans, soya, sweet potato, maize, tomatoes, and more,” says Francois Ndibwami, a development worker with the Diocese who is currently studying community development at Laval University. “We also provide a goat to the families and teach them to make organic fertilizer from its dung. The families need the fertilizer because climate change has had a large impact on the farmers.”

The Diocese is helping the families to think outside the box in what they grow. “We give them sweet potato seeds because they are resistant to the dry season. We are also helping them to grow mushrooms, which provide good protein and can be grown without needing inputs, since they grow on the leftover stalks and stems of other crops.”

Whenever a family’s goat has a kid, or their plants produce offshoots, the family gives the new resource to a neighbour. This helps to build the whole community together- returned refugees, displaced people, and the long-term residents of the villages. Thanks to this sharing program, over 3000 families will benefit from this program over five years.

“We thank PWRDF,” says Ngendakumana. “We were very poor. May God bless you now.”