Just over a year ago, I met a group of people who had just received emergency food aid from FH Canada and supplied by the Fraser Valley Gleaners. These people were recent returnees to Burundi from Refugee Camps in Tanzania. They expressed gratitude for the help received but were very concerned about their future. Since then, FH has introduced programs that specifically tackle the food security issues in that region.
Last month, I visited this same community again and noticed a renewed optimism and evidence that the agricultural programs were being accepted and successful, even in this short time frame. New varieties of crops had been planted and some were ready for harvest. All this had been accomplished on newly terraced land that the community had been part of developing.
The FH agricultural program not only improves the living standard of the people in the region, but is also very instrumental in protecting the environment. The area is quite hilly and erosion is a major problem. It was interesting for me to hear the people say they were proud of this program because they had been consulted with, had helped in the design, and were part of the implementation of the program.
Most of the farmers (many of them women) had been involved in the manual labour required for the terracing to be completed. Now, other communities in the area are asking if they could do something similar.
I believe that part of the success of this program has been that the community and church leaders have been unanimous in the message that taking care of creation is the responsibility of each citizen. Seeing the results and hearing the stories of how this process has directly impacted many people is very rewarding and shows the significance of how we can address poverty issues holistically.
To support the ongoing work of FH in Burundi visit: http://www.fhcanada.org/Integrated-Community-Development-ICE-Burundi?sc=14&category=1213.