Fighting to Break a Cycle of Poverty
The Keyhole Garden training that started in 2021 is yielding many fruits in the Bankim village cluster. The spillover of the project has produced abundant vegetables for Food and Income Generation. Five farmers were selected last year and given refundable loans. Two farmers embarked on soybean cultivation while the others cultivated vegetables. The results from the two groups are very amazing, and give more hope for Transformational Community Development (TCD).
Gideon and his family invested their loan in soybean cultivation. He said, “Our primary income used to come from the sale of pigs to pay school fees, health bills, food for the home, and other necessities. After the garden and farm lesson, I realized that a microloan from the TCD program could help more than the borrowed money we get from money lenders with a heavy interest rate”.
Gideon’s basic needs were assessed during the TCD training and he needed the following: quality seeds, insecticides, and knapsack which were delivered to him on time while the family embarked on labor.
Gideon Continues, “I had an impressive yield of 8 bags compared to 3 last year. I am so grateful for the assistance offered to me. I worked without stress, I have procured a corn peeling machine, paid school fees, and bought books for my children, and I am plastering my house from the proceeds of soybean sales. Many villagers from the community come to peel their corn at my home and the peelings are mixed with the ground soybean and other ingredients to feed my pigs. This has a marked influence in my pig farm with an increase from 9 to 17 pigs. I shall refund the loan next month and encourage the next beneficiary to work hard and benefit from my experience. I still have enough soybeans to feed my pigs till June. I have opened a bank account as we were instructed during our TCD lessons and have saved money preparing to purchase quality seeds and other farm inputs for the upcoming season.”
Ibrahim and his family also cultivated soybeans and his production is not different from that of Gideon. He would have had more, but due to climate change his second season cultivation did not do well because the rains stopped so early. “I have been able to install solar energy at my home, bought a TV for my family, saved for two of my children’s weddings, and I am replacing the degrading stick fence of my house with a block wall for my home security and privacy. My children are reading, using solar energy in their rooms, and watching TV at will during their leisure time. We are able to charge our phones and those of our neighbors. We spend very little now on kerosene to light bush lamps due to our solar energy.”
In our monthly evaluation meeting, I was so amazed with their testimonies. These microloans have a greater impact in the lives of individuals compared to heavy money deployed in the water project. Innoua, with his little experience, often harvested one to one and a half bags of soybean but with the TCD loan he had five bags. He equally has a bank account which he has saved money in and plans to increase his production in the coming season. In TDC, we use available community resources and skills to impact life positively. Our input into the loan was 204,000 XAF, meanwhile, the overall production in soybean alone can be valued at 637,000 XAF!
On the other hand, after the end of year feast, malnutrition was identified among some families in the Tchim Community. As a result, we took a census.
Our house-to-house investigation revealed that 32 homes suffer from malnutrition. Due to the stigma within the community, they hardly attend either TCD lessons or other community meetings. We are planning educational talks to improve their situation and encourage them to come out of the stigma. These families hardly send their children to attend school, and they roam the neighborhoods during school hours. These families are entrenched in a cycle of poverty that needs to be broken.
Mape cluster community continued to work hard to achieve their cherished goal. We recently completed the construction of the water distribution tower and four stand taps. We are waiting for the electricity distribution company to install electricity close to the borehole. Thereafter a submersible pump shall be installed in the borehole and we’ll connect the pipes to the storage tank and stand taps for household consumption.
Written by: Eugene
GHNI TCD Worker
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