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A smile for all seasons

"I am sufficiently feeding my family," says one mom in the Congo, a beneficiary of World Vision’s agricultural assistance program.

May 2008



Because of the agricultural assistance she received through a World Vision program in her community, 48-year-old Sonnie Georgette can feed her family and fight the poverty that was once a reality of her life.
Because of the agricultural assistance she received through a World Vision program in her community, 48-year-old Sonnie Georgette can feed her family and fight the poverty that was once a reality of her life.
Photo ©2008 Horeb Bulambo/World Vision
Standing in a community garden, a thin sheen of perspiration covers Sonnie Georgette's face. Describing the effects of World Vision's farming assistance, she breaks into a smile as bright as Africa's mid-day sun.

"From the agriculture income, I am sufficiently feeding my family," says the grinning 48-year-old, a garden hoe slung across her firm shoulder. "I saved money for seeds and fertilizers, and I paid for iron sheets to cover my house."

Agricultural improvements

The mother of eight credits her success to membership in the Tuendeni (Swahili for "let us go") Agriculturist Association, which World Vision manages in Lumata, located in the southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Her son, Mususu Olivier, 13, is sponsored through our Kapemba project area, whose staff oversees 33 such self-help groups in this rural area, helping families to improve farming techniques.

"Before the start-up of World Vision in our area, famine was part of the daily life," Sonnie exclaims. "We had to go to buy food 40 kilometers [about 25 miles] away; a very huge number of children were often affected by 'Kwashiorkor' [severe protein malnutrition].

"Food was very expensive and not always of good quality, until World Vision introduced its support to local communities..."

Sustainability

A primary World Vision initiative in sponsorship programs located in farming areas is to invest in long-term agricultural development. This helps ensure the community's sustainable food sources, also one of the best means by which to address the current global food crisis.

World Vision's agricultural assistance and training in places like Lumata can include the provision of:

  • Seeds and tools to assist farmers to raise crops and livestock
  • Training in agricultural techniques such as crop rotation, drip irrigation, and the planting of trees to enrich overworked soil

In West Africa, for example, we are working to accelerate the adoption of innovative tree-based farming, including the experimental use of Australian Acacias and the Moringa tree, or "The Miracle Tree."

"Moringa has many amazing properties; however, the one that stands out to me is the fact that even before the rainy season commences, and while temperatures are still very high, Moringa starts producing nutritious leaves in abundance when there is nothing else growing," says Tony Rinaudo, World Vision's natural resource management adviser in Australia.

"In fact, in many villages, Moringa is the only food available that keeps people going before staple grain crops ripen."

From darkness into light

Sonnie Georgette says the assistance of World Vision has created permanent positive change for her community.
Sonnie Georgette says the assistance of World Vision has created permanent positive change for her community.
Photo ©2008 Horeb Bulambo/World Vision

Lumata's self-sustainability is now such that World Vision is scheduled to close operations in the area soon. Considering the former conditions of this community, it is a remarkable achievement.

Kapila Ngombe, Kapemba's local community leader, agrees. "World Vision's actions in my area are rated as an exceptional success. World Vision moved my community from famine to food access, from diseases to health care, from laziness to [being] initiative-minded."

Sonnie, wearing her ubiquitous smile, reflects on the changes she has witnessed. "Our life will no longer be the same like before. We have learned how to fight poverty; we shall continue fighting poverty [and] health and social problems through skills learned from World Vision. World Vision brought light into darkness in our area."


Learn more


>> View our report, "Food and Agriculture," which explains how World Vision helps impoverished families to secure sustainable food supplies.
>> World Vision's Tony Rinaudo is a contributing writer to this research paper that explains the un-tapped food resources Australian Acacia trees offer to people living in drought-plagued sub-Saharan Africa.
>> Read about how World Vision has successfully implemented long-term agricultural practices in pockets of drought-prone East Africa so these communities can feed themselves.

Three ways you can help

>> Thank God for the people of Lumata, Congo, who were able to transition from poverty and famine to self-sustainability through World Vision's agricultural assistance program. Pray for relief for children and families around the world suffering from the current global food crisis.
>> Donate now to provide seeds, tools, fertilizer, and other types of agricultural assistance to hungry families around the world. Your gift multiplies five times in impact to help provide the tools families need to grow their own food.
>> Sponsor a child. World Vision sponsorship provides additional assistance to children during times of crisis, like the deepening food crisis, and helps families to grow or buy more food through ongoing development efforts.

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