Mavuno utilizes agriculture as a means to decrease food insecurity and drive economic opportunity in eastern Congo. In 2015, Mavuno's beta village of 100 households harvested 4.24 hectares of land, cultivated over 41.7 tons of crops, and collectively made over $4,766 from crop sales! Additionally, Mavuno saw a significant reduction in food insecurity and major improvements in community cohesion and quality of life. In 2016, Mavuno plans to scale its model to an additional 300 households.
Eastern Congo is home to the world's deadliest conflict since WWII - it has claimed 5.4 million lives. In 2011, DRC was ranked as the least developed country in the world. The villages of Bunzi and Pasisi are trapped under a layer of extreme poverty. 90% of the population survives as subsistence farmers; food insecurity and malnutrition are a way of life. Employment opportunities and access to credit are scarce. Families often don't have the funds for food, healthcare, or education.
The community garden initiative not only gives individuals the opportunity to grow food for consumption, improving food security, but it's also an income-generating activity. Combining agriculture, nutrition, and financial training, communities learn how to produce a successful harvest, generate profits in the local market, and reinvest funds into local needs. Utilizing a community-driven approach strengthens social capital, improves well-being, and fosters hope for the future.
Mavuno believes this type of grassroots development has the potential not only to end poverty, but also to improve regional stability and end the cycle of conflict. Communities are becoming more resilient, increasing their knowledge, improving their health, and building a reserve of resources for their families. People are starting to see the vast potential in front of them, are growing in leadership, and are exploring new opportunities by identifying and harnessing assets.
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