Before resilience and cash transfer projects started operating in Karusi province, Northeast of Burundi, Eric and his wife Jeanne were experiencing poor harvests. This had haunted them for many years. It prompted them not to get enough food to put on the table for their young children. Barren soils mixed with effects of climate change made them to lose hope.
At Mujenjwa hill where the family lives, life becomes normal when fields are green. Farm productions upon harvest time are expected to cover all the needs like medical bills, clothes, and all other needs that are not covered by the production in the farms.
As many in the neighborhood, Eric’s normal day was punctuated with digging the land and selling labor to neighbors so that he may earn a living.
Last year, when World Vision started implementing an Empowerment and Resilience project, in Eric’s village, a glimmer of hope illuminated his family.
Not only he earned money, but more interestingly, he was trained and monitored in how to dig compost pits, build a kitchen garden, and in saving and lending.
Indeed, he contracted a small loan 200,000 BIF from a saving group, and bought a calf.
“It gives to the family organic manure, and my farms started changing and gave more. In a field, where I used to get 30 kgs of beans; for the last season B, I was able to get a bag of 50 kgs of beans”, Eric says.
Getting chemical fertilizers was tough for me, I could buy a bag at 28,000 BIF (approx $16), that was too much for me. Some portion of land were not fertilized, and this resulted in poor harvests”, he says.
“More importantly, the cash transfer project enabled us to buy seeds, pay medical bills, buy chemical fertilizers and clothes”, the father of 3 adds.
If the project could have went on, I could have been able to secure another plot of land, and buy another cow, and even more of other things.
In this dry season, I wake up, feed this cow, and go in the marshland to prepare where I will plant sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, and vegetables. And in the evening, I cut grasses for the cow and prepare our evening meals, Eric tells of his normal day.
“In the future, I plan to improve my house, and pay school fees for my children”, Eric concludes saying.
To learn more about World Vision's work to improve livelihood and resilience in Burundi, click here.