Seeking food and safety, 450,000 people fled the war, devastation and political uncertainty in Mali, West Africa. In Gao, Mali's largest northern town, food is scarce and expensive. Public services, food markets, banking and the economy have been destroyed. Mines along roads leading to Gao are blocking trade and food aid. People urgently need pumps and seeds to plant to grow food in the Gao area's 30 villages, where many children, mothers and elderly are already malnourished.
Gao villagers need food and self-sufficiency. This rice and garden seeds project, which is being carried out by our Gao NGO partner, BERADA, will allow mothers to grow vegetables and fathers to grow rice to feed their families. This region has suffered drought in recent years, so pumps to bring water from the Niger River will greatly increase the harvest. Seeds purchased locally will greatly reduce the risk of crop failure. Growing their own food will help Gao recover from war and drought.
The long-term impact of this project will be to get about 100 farmers growing food more productively for 3,000 hungry family members who wouldn't otherwise be getting enough food to eat. Malnutrition has long-term impacts on the lives of those who experience it. Thus we can expect these vulnerable children to be healthier and more productive as they grow up. The pumps will also allow these farmers to avoid food shortages in future drought years. Avoiding hunger and dependency are dual outcomes.