Cash program boosts South Sudan women’s leadership skills and earning opportunities
Rosa lost her husband a few months before her now five-year-old. She is frequently sick and feels weak most of the time. “I lost my husband and now my health is not good. I am scared to leave my children as orphans with nothing to depend on”, Rosa Mundongoli, 25, says.
She lives in a village located about 12kms from Western Equatoria State’s Yambio County that is known for its scorching heat in the dry season and extreme cold in the wet season. Both affects whatever they plant in their farms. During harvest time, Rosa sells her harvest in the nearest market.
Rosa said she never imagined her children attending school until she joined World Vision’s Cash-for-Asset Project. “The cash assistance of USD45 I received monthly for six months and the tools and seeds provided allowed me to plan how to invest and earn well. It gave me hope.”
Over 2,517 people were assisted by World Vision, with funding from the World Food Programme (WFP) through the conditional cash assistance program. The farmers use the support to engage in establishing crop farms where each family plant in one feddan or 20x20 square meters of land with assorted vegetables. This is to help them reduce food insecurity and address their short-term food needs.
Rosa know how to farm but did not have the tools and seeds. She says, “I feel strong and healthy again after I became part of the program. I spend most of my time with my group on the farm and in community meetings, unlike before when I would spend time in self-pity.”
“My second child Momu is eight-years old usually joins me in the farm or stays home to cook and help do house chores. Her determination to learn gives me hope, and I am positive that she will take care of her siblings when I am gone. She is God’s gift to me”, she adds.
Restoring hope and skills of women like Rosa is important as the project aims to strengthen the foundation for the people to become more resilient and be able to support themselves.
Momu said she finds joy helping her mother. She proudly shares, “She is a strong woman. Even with her situation, she makes sure we have food to eat. Often she does not want me to work, but I insist because I can see she needs my help. I am excited that now I can weed, harvest, and water the vegetables.”
The 18 members of the farmers group expressed confidence that even when the project ends, they can continue to be strong because their savings will enable them to buy more seeds. “In two years’ time, the group earned SSP 200,000 (USD440) from the sales of the vegetables. We divided the SSP150,000 (USD330) among the members and used a part to buy more seeds”, says member Priscilla Gumete, 26.
She adds, “The group members are supportive and hardworking tending to two vegetable farms. Our appeal to World Vision is to provide us with a motorized water pump to help irrigate our farm during the dry season.”
Beeyo Simon Martin, the Food Assistance Project Manager says, “Restoring hope and skills of women like Rosa is important as the project aims to strengthen the foundation for the people to become more resilient and be able to support themselves. We ensure women to be part of the program and build their capacity to become community leaders.”
Story and photos by Scovia Faida Charles Duku, Communications Coordinator