30-Hour Famine

FROM LIVING IN FAMINE TO BUILDING A FUTURE

38-year-old Josephine from Malawi used to work in vain as she watched persistent droughts kill her maize, beans and tomatoes.

With limited options of survival, Josephine continued tilling the land despite its failure to produce harvest. “My crops would just wilt despite doing all the necessary farm work and even amid favourable rainfall,” recalls the mother of three.

As climate change took its toll on a community that historically receives little rainfall, it also added to Josephine’s household challenges. Dry spells, punctuated by erratic rainfall and flooding episodes, kept worsening their situation.

It was difficult for me to see my children go hungry. It was also hard that I had no money to provide for their education needs or afford their medical bills when they fell sick,” says Josephine. Josephine was not the only one as many other members in her community found themselves in the same situation – hopeless.

Josephine’s husband decided to leave home in search of an alternative source of income. 

When World Vision started working in Josephine’s community, we prioritised food security as a way of helping the community. But to achieve this, it was first important to bring back the trees that had been lost to deforestation.

Using the Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration technique, World Vision taught the community the best methods for pruning and maintaining existing trees to encourage fast and healthy growth, improving the local environment, reducing flood risks, and improving soil fertility.

Josephine recalls that World Vision held many training sessions. “They told us that our soils were too dry for new trees to grow but rather, if we took care of the old ones that had been cut, they would regrow and provide the needed vegetative cover.”

World Vision also worked hand in hand with the community to dig trenches and construct canals to channel water from the nearby river to the gardens of close to 400 farmers.

Before this, the farmers would only use watering cans to carry water and their harvest was not enough to feed their families. Now with a thriving irrigation system, the harvest is plentiful.

Josephine in her maize garden.
Josephine’s garden now provides a bountiful supply of fresh food.

Before this, the farmers would only use watering cans to carry water and their harvest was not enough to feed their families. Now with a thriving irrigation system, the harvest is plentiful.

Josephine and her family are not hungry anymore. “I grow eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and okra, and sell my produce. The profits have helped my family’s financial situation,” says a happy Josephine. She is now able to provide for her children and have bought corrugated iron sheets for a four-bedroom house she plans to build this year.

Catherine, Josephine’s daughter, says that the improvements have helped her and her siblings as well. “My siblings and I can have the opportunity to reach our full potential because our basic needs are met.”

With assistance from World Vision, the community has been able to enjoy an improved food security and economic status.

“If it wasn’t for World Vision, I don’t know what would have become of us. Because we now have things we never imagined we would have – food, clothes, shelter and a home,” Josephine adds.

Did you know?
Malawi has rampant environment degradation, ranking third on deforestation across Africa. Annually, the country loses 33,000 hectares of trees due to agricultural activities. A recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations states that the environment degradation makes the country vulnerable to effects of climate-related weather shocks.

With your support of the 30-Hour Famine, you can help other climate-vulnerable communities move from living in famine and fear to building a future, just like Josephine and her community.

Josephine in her maize garden.
Josephine’s garden now provides a bountiful supply of fresh food.
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