This week we received another update from ChildVoice. In the midst of a terrible food crisis in Africa, there is good news! The students at the Girl Empowerment Center at Imvepi Refugee Settlement in northern Uganda have planted and are tending over 160 acres of crops that will feed their families. ChildVoice workers are also doing good work in Nigeria helping youth learn about making marketable products and how to run a business. Our prayers for this ministry are bearing fruit. Let us continue to pray for God's good work in the lives of these girls and boys, their families, and the people who are teaching them and working along side them.
In what the British Red Cross is calling “the worst food crisis in 40 years,” some 146 million people across Africa are experiencing extreme hunger. War and conflict, climate shocks, and soaring inflation have conspired to create a perfect storm of hunger in countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan. By uprooting and displacing people from their homes and farmland, these traumatic events end up “disrupting production and productivity, destroying livelihoods and supply chain systems which play an important role in food production and marketing,” explained Joseph Kamara, regional humanitarian and emergency affairs director for World Vision in East Africa, in a recent Christianity Today article.
Historically, food relief has not been ChildVoice’s mission. The COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst that made it necessary for us to shift in that direction as the adolescent refugees we serve began experiencing prolonged, extreme hunger. Many of them reported that they were struggling to provide just one meal a day for their children.
It became clear that we needed to provide emergency relief, but we wanted to do more than that. We devised a hybrid program to provide supplemental food relief, agriculture start-up packages, and agricultural skills training.
This fall, while we provided emergency rations as needed, we also purchased seed, fertilizer, and tools that could be distributed to the girls attending our Girl Empowerment Centers at Imvepi Refugee Settlement in northern Uganda. And we planted demonstration plots to provide hands-on training.
The results so far have been better than we could have hoped for. Our students planted over 160 acres of onion, tomato, and sorghum in one-acre plots, just in time for the rainy season! Not only did the girls learn valuable agricultural skills, but they are excitedly waiting to harvest the crops that will help feed their families for some time to come. Caroline – the young mother we wrote about in our fall appeal this year – is one of those students. Her crops are growing well, her children are fed, and she is incredibly grateful to those who responded to help refugee mothers like herself. [Caroline is pictured above, tending her crops.]
To learn more about how ChildVoice is helping boys and girls learn business skills in Nigeria, click here.