HOTLINE - week of November 9, 2009

New borehole well brings water close at hand for Kenyan community; Families in Nicaragua learning new farming and gardening techniques; CWS-supported cooperative in Senegal assists families

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Jane Akwicha  
Kenya--Jane Akwicha is part of a community that will soon have a new well close at hand, with the help of Church World Service.
Photo: FSK


Church World Service is working in the Kadokoi community in coordination with partner Farming Systems Kenya to install a borehole well so that the people there will not have to travel such long distances in search of water.

Currently, Jane Akwicha wakes up at five o’clock each morning and walks to the nearest water source--a dam about two kilometers away that is also used by livestock.  The water is not very clean and Jane and her family are exposed to waterborne diseases. Her children, however, must have water to take to school, so she collects water from the dam, and mixes in some herbs that are supposed to purify it. Jane then walks back home, prepares breakfast, and gets her children ready for school. 

Once the children have left, she takes the goats out to graze and tends them until about two in the afternoon.  She then returns to the dam, where she fills up a can with water, waits for it to filter, and repeats this process until she has 20 liters, which takes around two hours.

She carries the 20 liters of water home on her back, gathers firewood while it is still light outside, bathes her children, milks the goats, and prepares supper.

On  some nights, when she wants cleaner water for the following day, she walks by moonlight with a group of women to a water hole about five kilometers away.  These nights, Akwicha does not get home until one o’clock.

She and everyone else in the area is looking forward to the day when there is a water source nearby.  Akwicha will establish a garden with fruit trees and vegetables.  The garden will provide food for her family, and she hopes to sell excess produce to earn income for her family.

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Woman planting seedlings
Nicaragua--Seedlings are planted in a demonstration plot, in a CWS-supported project.
Photo: AMC


Some 180 indigenous families in 16 communities in the Rio Coco area of Nicaragua are learning new farming and gardening techniques through three environmentally sustainable, working demonstration farms, with the help of Church World Service, local partner Christian Medical Action, and the Foods Resource Bank.

The 180 families are receiving seeds, plants and animals--sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and cows--and learning about the causes of food insecurity, as the project integrates short-term food production and diversification with the promotion of long-term soil and water management techniques. Another 1,749 families (10,723 people) living in the area are indirectly benefiting from the farms' activities, as the 180 families pass on what they learn and engage in trade with their neighbors.

Each demonstration farm includes food storage facilities, a water source, community meeting rooms, tool and seed banks, enclosed spaces for small and large animals, biogas production facilities, and plots for growing grains, tubers, vegetables and fruit trees.

Some of the farm families are producing sorghum for the first time, which has been bringing in excellent yields.  In addition, greenhouses have been constructed, allowing families to produce vegetables throughout the winter.

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Nadde Sow is a member of a cooperative group that shares resources and provides small loans to members.  Sow, 33, and her husband and four-year-old son, live in Teller village, Keur Momar Sarr.  She has opened a small store in her community to provide the basic goods that people wanted and were lacking in her village, with the help of CWS and partner ASREAD (Senegalese Association for Research, Study and Aid for Development). 

Now Sow can buy clothes and a variety of food for her and her son and meet other basic needs.  The business has changed her life by empowering her economically.

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