"Instead of buying food, we are now growing it": CARE’s FEED project in South Sudan
Mar 28, 2017
As a result of severe drought and ongoing conflict and insecurity in South Sudan, CARE is implementing the FEED (Fortifying Equality and Economic Diversification) project to help farmers with materials like seeds, tools, and training so they can feed their families and support their local economy.
Imagine living in the middle of a conflict zone, then imagine trying to survive as a farmer after an incredibly difficult drought. For many South Sudanese, whose main source of income is agriculture, this is the difficult and at times nearly impossible reality.
“I was forced to leave my home because of the ongoing conflict,” says Ferida Akoyi Mogi, a 28-year-old mother of seven, who lives in Wulu centre. “The fighting spread, animals died. Our crops were destroyed and we were forced to leave our home and find a safe place to stay.”
Ferida says she came to Wulu because the language spoken there is familiar. However, settling in and adapting to life in Wulu was not as smooth as she had hoped.
“It was difficult to change and adapt to the culture of Wulu, it is different from mine, but we try every day,” says Ferida. “It was hard for me to adjust to the new style of living and to buy a house and land for my family.”
Fortunately, Ferida was able to take part in training through the CARE's FEED (Fortifying Equality and Economic Diversification) project, in partnership with World Vision and Oxfam.
The project chelps create Farmer Field Schools (FFS), which help provide farmers with improved tools and seeds, as well as training on efficient farming and selling methods. CARE was able to establish 69 schools during the first year of the implementation of FEED Project in 2015.
“I took part in training and learned how to improve the production of crops I am growing in the small plot of land I have at home. Instead of buying food, we are now growing it and it is enough for our needs and we are saving money.”
Addressing gender barriers is also part of the project – as it is in all of CARE's work.
“Before, in our culture, women and girls were not considered influential in decision-making. It was only men and boys that were free to engage in any kind of community activities and make decisions that best suited them. In my community, girls are source of wealth and riches to their parents and they were not allowed to go to school,”says Rebecca Nyandeng Chol, a 26 year-old resident of Agok, and one of the FEED project participants.
Rebecca works to earn money for her family. She explained that she personally gained a lot from gender training. She has learned that women are able to do the same activities as men. Knowledge gained in the gender training sessions has empowered them – now women also give their opinions.
Salim Abdalla Salim, a male beneficiary of the project, adds that his relationship with his wife has improved. According to Salim, in his religion and culture women are not allowed to work far from their homes, and such beliefs have made women and girls under-represented in many areas of decision-making, leaving the man to take full responsibility of the home.
Through FEED's training, Salim has learned a lot about equal participation, ownership of assets, and equal opportunities for both girls and boys. He said he has realized how important it is to empower women, enable them to be independent. Shared responsibility benefits both women and men. Salim also noted that most of the people from his community who participated in gender training sessions appreciated the it. The world is changing, and if boys and girls are given equal opportunities, it means that when they are adults they will be able to be responsible for themselves. Salim promised to be an example and act as a champion for women and girls' empowerment in his community.