ADRA Improves Food Production and Livelihoods in Eastern Congo
Silver Spring, Maryland-- The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) launched a three-year project to improve access to food for some 7,500 vulnerable households in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by increasing crop productivity and market access. The initiative, centered in the war-torn South Kivu Province, is focusing primarily on female-headed households and returnees.
The project, named "JENGA," which means "to build" in Swahili, began in June of 2008, and will benefit an estimated 45,000 vulnerable people in 100 rural communities in Fizi and Uvira territories in eastern DRC. Through JENGA, ADRA will reach 10 percent of the residents of the targeted territories, two regions with high numbers of returnees. The full name of the project, "Jenga nguvu za jamaa katika maeneo ya Fizi na Uvira, wilaya ya Sud Kivu", is translated as "Building the strength of communities in Fizi and Uvira, South Kivu Province". The project is being implemented with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Title II program.
More than 79 percent of households in the targeted region are defined as vulnerable, according to an assessment by the Technical Assistance to Non-Governmental Organizations (TANGO) International. JENGA will provide valuable support to families, helping an estimated 10,000 returnees build new homes, and providing advocacy in land tenure rights for female-headed households.
Through its Food for Peace and Food for Work programs, JENGA expects to provide an estimated 1,500 metric tons of short-term food aid for beneficiaries, and help farmers increase their crop productivity through training in community development, soil conversation, marketing, agro-forestry, and agricultural practices. Through the use of small home administration meetings and informative radio programs, this project will also provide education for targeted communities in regards to nutrition, agricultural practices, market information, gender-based violence, and peace-building initiatives.
JENGA is also assessing market needs and working to rebuild roads and small-scale irrigation systems, improve access to main routes and marketplaces, and create renewed land resources. Through this project, ADRA is providing high quality seeds and farming tools, and strengthening communities through the organization of community development committees, farmer field schools, and farmers associations. In order to ensure project success and sustainability, capacity building is being conducted at the government level, within communities, and among local NGOs.
Africare, a leading US-based non-governmental organization, is working with ADRA on this project as a sub-grantee.
The DRC is one of the most vulnerable and food insecure countries, ranking 168 out of 177 countries in the 2007/2008 Human Development Report, an indicator used to measure development around the world. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), up to 70 percent of the population is experiencing food shortages, and malnutrition rates continue to climb.
ADRA has been active in the DRC since the mid-1990s, and has provided support for returning refugees in Uvira and north Fizi through the distribution of shelters, non-food items, the advocacy of land tenure rights, and a partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to build health clinics and schools.
ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race, or ethnicity.
Additional information about ADRA can be found at adra.org.
Author: Nadia McGill
Media Contact: John Torres