Food security for everyone
In the last few years, people who live in Cabo Delgado Province have been terribly affected by two dramatic events. On the 25th of April 2019, Cyclone Kenneth hit the northern part of Mozambique and changed the lives of 250,000 people from Cabo Delgado Province: whole families had no home left and their livelihoods were compromised. Moreover, attacks by jihadist extremists against civilians have become more frequent. They started in 2017 and, since 2020, they forced 350,000 people to flee their homes and move to safer areas.
To help these people, Oikos is working and planning many initiatives to promote horticulture relaunch, provide agricultural technical assistance and spread healthy food practices. Our objective is ambitious: we want to fight food insecurity, malnutrition (above all among children) and boost local economy. Because of the Health Emergency caused by Covid-19, tackling these issues will be more challenging than ever.
When facing a precarious situation, such as the one the population of Cabo Delgado Province is versing now, the first step is to assist people who lost everything. The following steps are boosting agricultural activities and diversifying the sources of livelihood. Above all, it is important to spread healthy food practices while respecting Covid-19 sanitary precautions.
To guarantee the Province people's food security, we are focusing on three main areas of interest.
Support to local farmers
In Ibo and Mecúfi Districts we are working with local people, with 2000 displaced families (Internally Displaced Persons) and guest families, but also with local farmers associations. Our aim is to boost agricultural activities. More precisely, we offer technical assistance, seeds and basic farming tools. Training courses are based on key elements: soil conservation and fertilization, fundamental cultivation techniques, self-production of organic pesticides and sustainable water management. Not only: with the help of 5 farmers associations we improved irrigation systems through solar pumps, an efficient and sustainable technology.
Moreover, we organized educational activities to raise awareness about healthy hygienic practices and we are distributing protective equipment to minimize Covid-19's impact.
Domestic vegetable gardens and fight against malnutrition
Malnutrition must be tackle from within domestic walls. In this battle, women are one of the most important assets. In Mecúfi District we are working with 70 mothers to create domestic vegetables gardens, which allow a constant food supply. This way, nutritious food and vitamins will always be available to children and their families. Once again, we first give them basic farmer tolls and seeds. Then, we offer them technical support to make and maintain their garden. Technical procedures, though, can't be taught without any nutrition notion: that is why we organized a food education programme. First, we start from an evaluation regarding children nutritional situation and the most common food habits. Then, we define concrete actions to tackle children malnutrition, teach which kind of nutrition is good for children and show them how to cook some meals. Thanks to all of this, the women have learned many nutritious recipes for their children.
Food education at school
Food security starts in schools, even from afar. After the closing of the 4 schools of Mecúfi District we work with because of the Health Emergency due to Covid-19, our educational activities have been adapted to the situation. For example, we offer distance learning and multimedia materials to teachers, SDAE (Economic Activities District Service) technicians and community leaders about Keyhole Gardens, a technique to make small but highly productive vegetables gardens when little space is available.
We also organized radio debates on healthy food practices and nutritious food self-production, both for students and adults.
These activities were made possible thanks to the support of international donors:
> Small Islands Organisation (SMILO), who organized agricultural interventions in favor of the resident population of Ibo District, affected by Cyclone Kenneth
> Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), who supports our agriculture relaunch activities for IDPs communities displaced in Ibo District
> Global alliance for improved nutrition (GAIN), who helps us promoting food education and local farmers support in Mecúfi District.
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