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Initiatives supporting African communities

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Initiatives supporting African communities
Tomás Sitoe’s successfully farms his 9ha of land in Mozambique, which he has divided into small plots to accommodate cassava, maize, groundnuts and vegetables. Last year, he harvested over 350 50kg bags of groundnuts and sold them for a remarkable USD10,000. Image credit: ForAfrica (www.forafrica.org)

Initiatives supporting African communities

Extreme weather and war have led to many internally displaced communities across Africa

It is especially in the northern parts of West Africa, in the Horn of Africa and in parts of Central and East Africa where people have fled their homes.

According to Dr Mary Okumu, ForAfrica’s Technical Director, conflict has resulted in more than nine million people fleeing their countries and villages of birth. Most of these people are from Sudan/ Horn of Africa region and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Okumu says that these African communities increasingly face a complex set of challenges that require multisector, layered initiatives that support their efforts to reshape their environments,

ForAfrica, a humanitarian development organisation that has been working on the ground in Africa for almost 40 years, has developed a three-tiered programming framework that helps communities get back on their feet.

Initiatives supporting African communities
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Fleeing from Sudan (Initiatives supporting African communities)

The ForAfrika approach supported, for example, Rosemary Anania’s journey from losing everything as she fled from unrest in South Sudan in 2017 to owning a small business in Uganda in 2021.

Anania joined a group of 30 people who were cultivating a market garden they established with support from ForAfrika, which provided watering cans, spades and seeds. ForAfrika also helped the group to establish a village savings and loan association (VSLA), through which members make small monthly cash deposits and can take loans when needed.

Anania used a small loan from the VSLA to boost her business after she started selling surplus from her part of the market garden. She has repaid her loan and now employs a few other people.

She has also opened a small shop, which has allowed her to acquire some goats and chickens.

“These assets will help me in case of emergencies so that I don’t remove cash from my business,” she says.

Farming in Mozambique (Initiatives supporting African communities)

In Mozambique, farmer Tomás Sitoe’s fortunes took off after he received technical training through a ForAfrika partnership with the National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Eduardo Mondlane University.

Before joining a ForAfrika community agriculture project in 2020, Sitoe was struggling to grow surplus crops to sell so that he could support his family. The technical training gave him skills in composting, zero-tilling, agroforestry, early warnings and disaster management as well as how to save money through a VSLA.

By 2024 he was successfully farming nine hectares of land, growing cassava, maize, groundnuts and vegetables. He earned USD10 000 during 2023’s harvest, selling more than 350 bags of groundnuts, each weighing 50kg.

“My success also came from the agricultural knowledge I got from the training. I always dedicated myself to transforming with responsibility and believing in improving my family’s lifestyle,” says Sitoe.

Before farming Tomás eked out a living through selling charcoal and firewood.

Driving their own sustainable progress (Initiatives supporting African communities)

Dr Okumu says that at each stage of ForAfrika’s developmental transformation model, processes and solutions are carefully and deeply discussed with the community in question so that vulnerable groups are able to drive their own sustainable progress beyond temporary external aid. The sense of ownership that this inculcates in communities is critical.

“Our proven process model has been developed over four decades of working closely with local communities, listening to grassroots voices to direct localised solutions that are tailored to contexts,” she says.

ForAfrika facilitates a continuum of transformation from emergency aid towards self-sufficient communities, achieving this through an integrated programming approach that is rooted in collaborative partnerships and capability transfers. It is ForAfrika’s goal to ensure that, by 2032, it has helped 20-million people reach self-sufficiency.

“Development is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process centred on strengthening capacities to transform current vulnerabilities into adaptive strengths through locally led innovation,” says Dr Okumu.

All these processes and the programmes that develop from them complement national development plans in the countries in which ForAfrika has a presence: Angola, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan and Uganda.

Anania’s story: https://stories.forafrika.org/stories/savings-lead-to-transformation-for-a-refugee-family/

Sitoe’s story: https://stories.forafrika.org/stories/mozambique-farmers-success-inspires-others-to-follow-suit/

Initiatives supporting African communities

Initiatives supporting African communities
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