Conquering hunger in Mozambique

When Dominga's husband died three years ago, she and her five children were left without any food to eat. World Vision provided immediate assistance through a food distribution program; now, our focus is on sustainable, long-term food production.

Story and photos by Antonio Matimbe, World Vision Mozambique. Edited by Peter Warski, World Vision U.S.
Published March 30, 2011 at 12:00am PDT

When Dominga's husband was still alive, things were good for this mother and her five children. But when he died of cholera three years ago, their lives became filled with uncertainty.

"Since then, to find something to feed my children [has been] a challenge," she acknowledged.

'We started starving'

The region of Mozambique in which they live is often hit by floods in low-laying areas, and higher elevations do not retain enough water to grow crops. This leads local residents to be chronically dependent on food distributions.

"Our hope after the loss [of my husband] was our crops growing up in the low-laying areas, but the floods destroyed all and we started starving," said Dominga.

"Some days, we could only have one meal, others no," she added. "We had to live on behalf of the goodwill of a person [who] provided us something to eat, sometimes."

Desperate measures

Seeking ways to survive, Dominga had to divide her time between working on farms and collecting water lilies for food.

But the children were affected the most.

"My elder kids had to stop going to school to help me...when I was going to my chores in farming, so that we could have enough to eat," said Dominga.

Life-saving interventions

Dominga's son, Nhavula, proudly shows some of the cereal he received through the food assistance program made possible by World Vision's partnership with the World Food Program. Photo: ©2011 Antonio Matimbe/World Vision

In 2009 and 2010, the family's situation changed when World Vision brought a food assistance program to their region, in partnership with the World Food Program.

"[Our life had] worth, because we had the basics to eat," Dominga said proudly. "My children went back to school. I started to have enough time to dedicate to my crops as well as to take care of my children at home."

She expressed her gratitude for the World Vision donors who supported those initiatives. "Thank you for giving us food, thank you for dividing a little you have to save our lives."

Challenges remain

The food aid program ended last year, meaning that Dominga and her children still need to find a long-term solution to their food shortages. And it still isn't easy.

"This year, we succeeded to grow the millet in the high areas, but it is a few, enough for a month perhaps," said Dominga. "After that, we don't know what will happen."

Despite the many challenges they still face, Dominga and her children can smile about the changes they've seen through World Vision's interventions. Photo: ©2011 Antonio Matimbe/World Vision

That's why World Vision continues to walk alongside this family, partnering with the local government and other agencies to focus on sustainable food production. The latest interventions include providing treadle pumps and maize seeds to farmers for crop production.

And for Margaret Rumba, a commodities manager with World Vision in Mozambique, the food distribution program was a step in the right direction — one that literally saved lives.

"As a result of these interventions, we have little or no children [or] pregnant women reported malnourished or dead," she said. "We don't have young women involved in prostitution, as well as children dropping out of school due to hunger."

Four ways you can help

Please pray for families like Dominga and her five children, who struggle with food insecurity because of flooding, drought, and other severe conditions. Pray that they would find a long-term solution that gives them independence and good health.

Make a one-time gift to help provide life-saving food and care to those who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Your donation will multiply five times in impact to help provide assistance like emergency food aid, clean water, seeds, tools, and agricultural training.

Give monthly to provide support to children affected by hunger and malnutrition. Your monthly gift will help provide assistance like nutritious food, agricultural support, and more to those in greatest need around the world.

Sponsor a child in Mozambique. Through your ongoing love and support, a boy or girl in need will have access to life's essentials, like nutritious food, clean water, medical care, and more.