December 5, 2019
By Janice Biehn
The Mayengo Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Burundi is filled with displaced people from around Bujumbura who were victims of a landslide in 2015, killing dozens of people and destroying 349 houses, a health centre and a school. The disaster left behind families without anything, not even their basic needs. In March 2018, those people were displaced to the colline or hillside area of Mayengo. Mayengo is one of the 18 collines in the catchment area for Village Health Works, PWRDF’s Burundi partner in the All Mothers and Children Count program, funded with a 6:1 match from the Government of Canada. The four-year program concludes at the end of March 2020.
VHW has seen an increasing number of patients from this area, especially high numbers of malnutrition patients. As part of the AMCC project, VHW decided to implement a kitchen garden project with households from the camp. The project has improved food security and nutrition among the people.
“I would like to sincerely thank the Village for bringing us knowledge about the importance of building kitchen gardens,” says Rekatubane Annonciate, one of the 94 people who received vegetable seeds. “I have seven children, five of whom were malnourished. I kept coming to the clinic for food supplements, and I did not see a significant change in their evolution because coming home, we took the same foods and my children were still relapsing.”
Rekatubane notes that learning about kitchen gardens helped her discover how to plant seeds in a small amount of space. “Now my meals are varied, and I do not come to the Kigutu clinic for food supplementation anymore. My kitchen garden provides me with enough food to harvest and feed my family. I have almost everything, including carrots, salads, cabbages, onions, tomatoes, radishes. I really I do not know how I could thank the Village. It is like a parent who cares for us, he has saved us and our children from hunger.”
In addition to the seeds, the 94 households also received sprayers, shovels, and wheelbarrows to facilitate their maintenance of these kitchen gardens.