By Zipporah Karani, Communications Coordinator
Every morning Akook Aketh wakes up early and walks briskly to the farm at least 500 meters away. She does this daily without fail.
As soon as she is in the farm, she goes straight to her small rectangular plot of land where she has planted traditional vegetables. She removes any weeds and fetches water from a nearby borehole to keep them nourished.
The rest of the vegetables she is able to sell in the nearby market and is able to buy a local breed of chicken that she raises in her farm. Any remaining cash she often uses for basic items like soap, household items and food to supplement her family’s diet.
Akook is the chairperson of Maaltieli community group composed of 25 small-scale farmers supported by World Vision. The group used to purchase their vegetable seeds at a local market but often got ones with poor quality.
In partnership with South Sudan Grassroots Initiative for Development, supported by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany) abbreviated BMZ, World Vision assists small farmers like Akook. This includes providing them with high quality seeds that can give them good yield, farm tools, 20-liter water jerry can and wheelbarrows.
The project enhance market linkages and nutrition education to support the farmers. World Vision’s project staff educate them on how they will benefit from farming as a group enabling them to meet regularly, learn from each other and the value of proper nutrition for their families.
The nutrition situation in South Sudan remains critical in many areas with an estimated 1.2 million children under five years of age severely malnourished. The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNet) for South Sudan highlights extreme levels of food insecurity persisting across the country.
“The project’s aim is to help reduce hunger and malnutrition among vulnerable households especially young children, expectant and breastfeeding mothers,” says World Vision’s Food Security and Livelihoods Programme Coordinator Berhanu Wolde.
It has been two months now that the farmers group is making strides. The group was able to form a savings and loans association where each member contributes SSP100 (USD1) every week. The money is secured in the group’s financial controller’s house and they meet every week to update, plan and discuss urgent issues.