CARE BLOG

Food security in South Lubero

11/2/12

September 27’”600 people wait patiently until CARE sets up the place to start the distribution of seeds and agricultural tools. The distribution is taking place in Luofu, South Lubero in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but people from five surrounding villages have been registered for this assistance provided through CARE”s Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and FAO funded emergency response project, Umoja+.

Food security in South Lubero image 1
CARE is organizing a distribution in Luofu, South Lubero, on September 27. People from five surrounding villages have been registered for this assistance provided through CARE”s Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and FAO funded emergency response project, Umoja+. Through this initiative, CARE is providing support to internally displaced people (IDPs), returnees, as well as host families.. © 2012 CARE

Through this initiative, CARE is providing support to internally displaced people (IDPs), returnees, as well as host families. While in South Lubero thousands of people remain and even continue to be displaced due to attacks by armed men, there is also a significant number of people who are returning home to restart their lives after periods of displacement. CARE is providing both types of households with enhanced means to gain a sustainable livelihood, as well as assistance for more immediate needs, including relief items and shelter.

"Thanks to this distribution, I have something to plant for this year”s planting season and we will have [something] to eat next year," 25-year old Jorgine says as she buttons together a cloth filled with seeds. Because people often go hungry, there is a danger that they will want to eat the seeds instead of planting them. "I will tell my family that the seeds contain poison so that they don”t eat them." Jorgine and her husband and two children have been displaced from their home and have been living with a host family in Mitero for six months. She will be planting the seeds in the field belonging to her host family.

A community volunteer tells the beneficiaries with a microphone that the seeds should be planted and not eaten, which requires patience, but will give them much more to eat at the end. The message resonates with most and only a few decide otherwise. "I will plant half of the seeds and eat the other half. I am already sick and need to eat today," Muhongya who is 72 years old understandably argues.

Kyakimwe, a 40-year old mother of six, who is back in her home village Kataro after having been displaced for one year, says that life continues to be unstable. "The manioc I planted last year was stolen by members of a local armed group. Even these seeds might be stolen once they are ready to be harvested," she laments as she looks at the corn, beans and soya seeds she just received.

Besides food insecurity, they also live under difficult conditions with no real roof over their heads. "The bandits have taken everything; we live in a small hut with nothing now." But Kyakimwe lightens up when she affirms that she will benefit from the shelter distribution Umoja+ is planning in the area in two weeks time.

29-years old Francoise who also lives in Kataro explains similarly, "We have learned to live with the torture of armed groups. We just give what they ask for and in most cases, they then leave us alone. One year and a half ago, they would have physically tortured us either way." Armed men often attack women working in fields and Julienne remarks, "It”s good that we received two hoes, like that my husband and I can work in the field together … The harvest will hopefully improve the life of my four children."

Despite all the insecurity and challenges, the beneficiaries smile and chant as they leave with the bags of seeds balanced on their heads and the hoes in their hands, full of hope that the harvest will provide the food their families desperately need.

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