This Monday, October 16, is World Food Day, celebrated every year to commemorate the date of the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945.
This year’s theme, “Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind.” which recognizes that water, which makes up more than 50 percent of our bodies, is essential to life on Earth, produces our food and supports livelihoods.
The day is celebrated widely by many other organizations concerned with hunger and food security – and that includes Bread and Water for Africa® – which for more than 20 years has been helping smallholder farmers, as well as large agricultural programs operated by our partners such as the Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL) and Faith Healing Development Organization also in Sierra Leone, to increase their production capacity.
And at Bread and Water for Africa® we work hand in glove with our grassroots partners through our food self-sufficiency program operating in Sierra Leone, Malawi and Zambia which is helping to keep children and families fed, and in many cases generate income for those who are managing to grow a surplus that they sell at local markets.
In Sierra Leone, RYDO-SL program manager Joseph Kobba who oversees a farmers training program funded by Bread and Water for Africa® which in addition to providing participants – primarily women – with knowledge to produce bountiful harvests on their small tracts of land, also equips them with the necessary tools, seeds, supplies and materials to do so.
In Malawi, we have recently established a partnership with the Faithful Heart Foundation (FHF) which is training nearly three dozen mostly female farmers in the method “Farming God’s Way,” also known as “conservation agriculture” which promotes not disturbing the soil (no-tilling), crop rotation and the application of mulch cover as ways of mitigating climate change and environmental stress on depleted soils – while at the same time increasing productivity.
FHF chairperson Alex Steven Bango explained that he has selected local farmers “who are harvesting below their family quantity needs, which means they frequently have shortages of food” in order to improve their livelihood and eventually become self-reliant.
“This will change their mindset from dependency on handouts of food, and at the same time result in the restoration of their soil fertility and conservation of soil caused by the harm climate change is doing periodically in our area.”
And in Zambia, our longtime partner there, the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre, has a small farm to grow fresh produce, as well as an aquaculture operation to provide tilapia fish for the children living there.
To help meet the growing children’s need for food to stay healthy, Kabwata founder and executive director Angela Miyanda has for years been growing crops to feed the children in her care, as well as to sell the surplus at local markets to help keep the orphanage fiscally stable.
Most recently, thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, we were able to provide grant funding to enable Angela to have a greenhouse constructed.
“Prices of essential foods have gone up,” says Angela. “From the time of the Covid-19 pandemic in Zambia the economy has not done well, leading to major problems for many families and charitable organizations.”
The crops grown include cabbage, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, cucumbers, pumpkins, and local vegetables and “while the vegetables will be growing, our chicken coop will provide eggs” and its tilapia fish farming operation (also funded by Bread and Water for Africa® a few years ago) provides for both consumption by the children and also serves as an income-generator.
In fact, Angela estimates that 60 percent of the food for the children is grown right on Kabwata’s compound.
And on this World Food Day 2023 we take pause to thank all of our generous and compassionate supporters who are helping to keep thousands of children, families and elders fed every day, year in and year out.