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Eine Frau trägt ihr Baby auf dem Rücken, während sie auf dem Feld arbeitet, Kongo 2021.
Democratic Republic of Congo

Increasing harvest and solidarity in DR Congo

Project Status Ongoing
Main sector
Agriculture & Environment

Masengesho Munyakazi Divine is 33 years old and lives with her husband and three children in the village of Kirumbu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is one of 3,000 participants in a project to improve the nutritional situation. "In the past, we ate very unbalanced food and the yield from agriculture was poor. Therefore, I tried to buy cheap vegetables for my family. But this poor diet affected my family's health, so we had to spend a large part of our income on medical and health care," she explains.

Die Projektteilnehmerin verkauft Schuhe um ihren Lebensunterhalt aufzubessern, Kongo 2021.
Masengesho Munyakazi Divine sits at her stall selling plastic shoes. © Welthungerhilfe

Breaking the vicious circle of war and hunger

735 million people do not have enough to eat. Learn about the causes and consequences of hunger.

In January 2020, Masengesho was selected for the project along with 3,000 other smallholder farmers from the region. The goal is to make the population more resilient and improve their nutritional situation. Over the past 20 years, there have been recurring conflicts in the region that have worsened the hunger situation. As a result, many people within the Democratic Republic of Congo are fleeing to other parts of the country. But many regions cannot support this population increase - there is already extreme poverty and weak state institutions. Particularly affected by this crisis situation are women, who rarely earn their own income due to a disadvantaged position and can hardly make decisions within the communities. All these factors ensure the absence of sustainable progress in the region.

Masengesho participated in training on nutrition and cultivation techniques and is part of a producer group that supports participants with materials and seeds. This has enabled her to improve the quality of her vegetables while increasing yields. Part of the project is based on cooperation with local organizations and groups of farmers and families in rural areas. There are measures to strengthen community structures, repair water and sanitation infrastructure and increase agricultural production. In this way, the communities are strengthened and are better able to cope with future challenges.

Neema Mwamini is part of a group of women who grow mushrooms on crop residues. Through the project, she can contribute to her family's income. © Welthungerhilfe
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"After the harvest, we had various agricultural waste such as leaves, husks and corn cobs. We had heard that these wastes could be used for mushroom cultivation in a short time and we just tried it out," Neema Mwamini says. © Welthungerhilfe
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Furaha Mauwa Yoboka is 30 years old and a vegetable farmer. She says: "Before the project, I had no courage and was totally dependent on my husband. Since I started the project, I have become more independent and work with strength and pride. I harvested the first bag of corn and sold it to finance the children's schooling. I also bought a duck and a bag of seeds to sow next year." © Welthungerhilfe
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"This project has enabled us to work and live in unity after a long period of mistrust between the different tribes. A b'ishize hamwe ndakibananirwa (unity makes strong)," says Nyirazaninka Rahabu, the group's chairwoman. © Welthungerhilfe
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There are 26 women and 10 men working in the group. Many of the members were able to buy livestock and poultry for their own breeding with the additional income. © Welthungerhilfe
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Access to water and improving general hygiene are also an important part of the project. "Before the water supply system was built, there were many waterborne diseases, such as typhoid and diarrhea. Now there are fewer and fewer diseases in the area," says Chiza Abasabimana. © Welthungerhilfe
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"The group has improved social cohesion and teamwork in my community," she says. "Apart from the agricultural activities we do together, we have set up a contribution system, so members are enabled to save money. Many of them are women. They can invest this money, for example, in their own small business. In this way, we strengthen the financial independence of women," Masenheso proudly reports. 

Our work focuses on sustainable, agricultural and economic development, resilience building, food security, WASH and emergency relief.

Strong women and strong families

The project supports women's active participation in committees and promotes voice within the community and family through training. The goal is to give women more influence over decisions and control over their livelihoods. 

Masengesho Munyakazi Divine is now able to provide for her family's livelihood. She used the profits from farming to start a small business selling plastic shoes. "With the profit from these activities I was able to buy two cows, now my family has enough to eat and I sell the surplus of the harvest." 

How Welthungerhilfe helps in the Masisi region

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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