In communities where women have not gone to school and are not equipped with business skills, many widows and their children are left without the support of a bread winner in the family.
Akuat lost her husband three years ago after he got sick. Her five children stopped going to schools because she cannot afford the school fees. She struggled to feed and clothe her family.
“When I lost my husband, my children went hungry for several days,” she recalled. “None of my kids attend school and I was worried about their health.”
In 2015, World Vision enabled access to farmers’ skills training for Akuat, alongside 30 people mostly women. They were taught how to cultivate their farms and acquire improved agricultural skills.
After joining the project, Akuat is now able to grow vegetables during the dry season and earn a profit by selling them. Akuat used to produce two sacks of sorghum and one sack for peanuts but early in 2017, she was able to harvest five sacks of sorghum and four sacks of peanuts.
Sorghums are cereals of different colors; some are white, brown or a mixture of both. They are used to produce bread, porridge and local alcohol. They can also be boiled and eaten as a crunchy snack.
An estimated 90 percent of South Sudan’s seven million population is dependent on farming for livelihood and sustenance. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in a statement said “a thriving agriculture sector is therefore crucial to long-term peace and development in the country”.
Empowering women farmers like Akuat has made a significant difference in the livelihoods of families. Akuat is now able to send three of her children back to school. Two children are in primary four and the third child is in primary one—healthy enough to walk 10 kilometres to school.
“World Vision has made my life easier,” Akuat shared. “Now, I have the courage to provide a bright future for my children.”
One of her daughters, Nyibol, says, “Our mother is able to pay for our school fees, medical treatment and buy us some clothes through the support of World Vision.”
Akuat was also able to receive one of the goats given to the families World Vision assists. Her two female goats were able to produce offspring wherein she sold two at $50 dollars to cover the school fees of her children. Now, she has four goats to help provide for her family’s needs.
More members of Akuat’s community continue to participate in farm skills training and support the livelihoods of their families.