Moving Beyond Survival

Written by
FH staff writer
Published on
February 24, 2023 at 3:52:00 PM PST February 24, 2023 at 3:52:00 PM PSTth, February 24, 2023 at 3:52:00 PM PST

Bernard and his wife, Mpaweniman, from Jene Community, Burundi, are one of the many families impacted by FH Burundi's recent irrigation project. 

Life for Bernard and Mpaweniman has been anything but easy. Irregular rainfall resulting in poor harvests made providing even one meal a day for their nine children challenging. The nearest water source was 1.5 kilometers away! Their children couldn't attend school because they couldn't afford the necessary school supplies. Graduation from secondary school was a distant dream. The future was bleak. 

Thankfully, everything began to change when Bernard was given the opportunity to attend FH workshops. He was excited to work with others and learn new farming techniques. FH taught him the value of sowing better quality seeds at lower quantities, for higher yields. As he began to apply what he learned, Bernard's harvests began to increase! 

Before taking FH agricultural training, Bernard would plant 50 kilograms (kgs) of seed on his single hectare of land only to harvest 200-300 kgs. But in 2022, he sowed just 30 kgs of bean seed to harvest 1,200 kgs of beans! His father's heart filled with joy as he was finally able to feed his hungry family at least two meals a day.

Bernard's family harvesting a bumper crop of beans!

“Today, through awareness sessions and training conducted by FH, each member of the community knows how to use good farming practices, such as sowing in rows, the use of selected seeds, and mulching,” Bernard explains.

The irrigation project is another key piece to boosting his family's food security. In the land irrigated through this project, Bernard has a 10 x 10 metre plot of land where he has planted six kilograms of high quality maize seed that he purchased himself. Because he can irrigate from the new water reserve system, he's confident there will be a bountiful harvest.

Bernard and Mpaweniman are relieved to longer be at the mercy of the weather. They can now face times of drought free from fear because, in the irrigation system, they have a reliable source of water. 

“Both men and their wives are working hard to improve living conditions.” Bernard shares.

Through increased harvests, they're not only able to feed their family but also gain an income through selling the surplus! Bernard can now buy school supplies and send his children to school.

Where once Bernard and his family felt unseen and without hope, they now are moving past a hand-to-mouth existence and are able to contribute to the development of their community. The irrigation project has empowered them to be both willing and able to help their neighbours and support the needs of their community.

Bernard and Mpaweniman are supporting two widows and their families.

You can help more couples like Bernard and Mpaweniman transform their communities by giving a gift today.

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Bernard and his wife beam with pride standing among their tall maize plants.