IRUSA Program Coordinator Awrad Saleh visited Niger and Malawi last month to check out our water and livelihood projects. Here are some of her favorite moments, captured on her iPhone.
These women were the first batch of selected beneficiaries for the new Food Security project. They have received their allotted land from the government and have started farming moringa—a superfood that has a huge market in Niger. There is a river nearby, where the women will fetch water to irrigate their crops and use this handcrafted tool to assist their methods. Moringa is able to withstand dry climates, which in a drought affected area makes the perfect harvest and cash crop.
In another area of the Tinga Valley Region, the village chief took us to a plot of land that was donated to the beneficiaries for farming. As desolate as it looks, they have high hopes of what this land will become—a source of livelihood. Not only will the farmers be able to sell the crops they harvest, but they will have enough for household consumption. Moringa is considered a super food in this part of the world, is high in nutritional value, rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins and the locals say it has almost magical benefits alleviating disease and illness.
Surprise beneficiaries in our Food Security Enhancement project which ended earlier this year. The original plan of this project was targeting four villages, in which this particular village was not part of. The IR Niger team was able to save money through the tender process and implement aspects of the project in this fifth village.
These women were telling me how they heard about the project in neighboring villages and were sad that they were unable to reap the benefits that their neighbors were. When they found out they would be receiving a borehole and water points for irrigation, they were over the moon.
The feeling of their happiness did not fall short as they no longer had to use a contaminated open well for drinking, household chores and cooking. With that well alone, they were unable to use the water for irrigation and the health of their children has dramatically improved.
In a village in southern Malawi, where the average household is 10, children are often left to burden the responsibilities of supporting their families, most commonly, trekking early in the morning with their mothers to fetch a days worth of water consumption.
IRUSA was able to support 13 communities with access to clean water right in the center of their villages, which means that mothers now can spend more time at home with their families, children no longer need to miss school. As well as having access to clean water for drinking and hygiene.
In 2015, the southern region of Malawi was struck by flooding that devastated and displaced thousands of people. In 2016, without any time to recover from the previous disaster, the same region was ravished with the worst drought the country has ever seen.
In 2016, this man received food aid, fertilizer and seeds in an emergency response, in the efforts to jump start and replenish his harvest. With these seeds he was able to grow a harvest that enabled him to save enough money to buy livestock as another form of income generation, send 7 of his 8 children to school, have 3 separate farms and oh, build this pretty awesome brick house, which his often rare to see in the villages of the southern region (most homes are built with mud and have grass rooftops).
I know it seems like the world is in a constant state of chaos and that things are getting worse. Statistically, things are actually slowly getting better, one moment at a time.