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Women hail food assistance initiative

By: Sheila Ponnie

Women in Yirol County of Eastern Lakes State have hailed the Food Assistance for Asset (FFA) initiative, a hunger-alleviating campaign championed by the World Food Program.

Debora Apiu, one of the women who joint the women group benefitting from the initiative said, “My harvest last year was good. I got fifteen sacks of groundnuts from one field. I also harvested beans and sold some.”

Apiu said she was able to buy for herself clothes and basic needs, including soap adding that since then her diet has changed.

Women have taken lead in farming through farm group dubbed Taak ke Path, meaning think progress group in their local dialect. The group was formed by the WFP.

According to the women in Yirol East County of Eastern Lakes State, the initiative has significantly changed their lives. They are able to generate income to meet the education needs of their children.

“Now I am able to pay the school fees of my children and use some of the money for hiring oxen that we use for ploughing the farm,” Apiu said.

 She said hunger forced them to become strong and joined the farming groups.

“Now in our group we are two hundred women and each woman was given and ox,” she said.

She said women have taken lead in farming through FFA by clearing the bush to create road.

“Looking after our families, we cannot be waiting for men to do the work otherwise we will be dying with our children,” she said.

Despite insecurity in some parts of the country, WFP through its initiative of Food Assistance for Asset (FFA) has strengthened local communities and farmers to produce their own food instead of depending on relief.

In 2018 the FFA program scaled up by almost 40 per cent to serve nearly six hundred thousand across all the regions of the country.  The program helped food insecure communities to rebuild their livelihoods and improve their resilience through following a community-based participatory planning, which helps communities to identify their key challenges through three pillars.

Monica Alak Achut, another farmer in Yirol East said she plants crops such as sorghum, groundnuts, beans and simsim

“The farming has changed my life and am very grateful for WFP before I used to plan on small scale and I didn’t have skills for farming now I have learned on how to use the oxen for farming,” she said.

Alak, a 28-year-old and mother of seven children admitted that joining the group has enabled her to provide food the family.

She said at the end of the day children ask for food from their mothers instead of the fathers.

“My life has changed, before I used to sell my goats and cows in order to pay for my children’s fees but now I am selling my products from the garden to pay their fees because if I sell one sack of sorghum that would be enough for their school fees,” said  Alak.

She appealed to the WFP to provide more farm tools to meet their demand for high food production in the area.

Last year, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) shows that 42 percent of the Eastern Lakes population faced crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity between September and December. The same report projected that 52 percent of the population is most likely to face acute food security over the first quarter of 2020.

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