“A few years ago, I only watched with envy how other communities learned improved farming practices. Today, we are part of the project and share the happiness of improving our lives”, says Awien Deng Madut, a 22-year old mother of one.
Awien lives in a village in Warrap State’s Tonj North County and is a member of the Akutkuei Farmers Group that World Vision supports and funded by the Australia NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), a partnership between the Australian Government and accredited Australian NGOs. The project equips smallholder farmers with techniques and tools to help them improve food production, combat malnutrition and help them earn extra income for their families’ needs
With the knowledge they gained from the project, the farmers are able to grow vegetables during the dry season through the use of crop rotation that reduces the effect of existing crop pest damage, by preparing appropriate seedbed, making use of mulching as crop cover to conserve water wastage through evapotranspiration.
The group is composed of 25 members, 13 of whom are women actively undertaking vegetable and crop production including sorghum, groundnuts, sesame, among many others.
“In the past, we did not know how to plant vegetables properly. Despite having land to cultivate, we suffered from food shortage, poor health conditions,’’ Awien explains, adding that, “ Most of us do not know where to get the seeds for planting.’’
Awien realized that all they need is to harness the opportunities of farming to help improve their diet. She had complications during her first pregnancy that she now identified because of it. She believes that with her improved diet of eating green vegetables from her own home garden, her current pregnancy would be safer than the first one.
“The support World Vision provides us makes me a happy mother.” The farmers were assisted with various types of vegetable seeds and tools such as watering canes, jerry-cans, local hoes, and rakes apart from the training on production and land cultivation.
She has identified three types of vegetables that are quick to mature and of high demand in the local market such as rigilla (purslane), guetguete (amaranthus) and kudhura (Jew's mallow). “Through my vegetable sales in Faraksika local market, I managed to buy chickens to raise”, Awien says.
WATCH video: South Sudan's women power food security
With her income, Awien shares, “I’m able to buy household needs like cooking oil and meat at least two times a week, which we cannot afford before.” Her new skills gained, Awien feels she has better opportunities than the others in her community who are not part of the project.
Awien also is part of the women in the group who share their skills and learning together as they find solutions to their challenges in livelihood and strive for improvement. “Even without the project, I am now strong enough to stand on my own and support my family.”
Berhanu Wolde, ANCP Programme Coordinator says, ”Through the support of this project, many lives were transformed and their families’ food requirements through green vegetables rich with nutritional content. Like Awien, they also have added income from their harvests’ sales that allowed them to buy farm and livelihood assets.’’
Download a copy: Tree Foods for Health Diet in South Sudan
Photos and story interviews by William Ngor Deng, Field Assistant & Angelo Agiu Deng, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer.