Helping communities during the food crisis in Mali
9 May, 2012: In some of the poorer parts of Mali, erratic rainfall and drought are making it extremely challenging for communities to make a living and feed their families during a time of acute food insecurity. With little food reserves and no crops available to cultivate, many are struggling to eat more than one meal a day.
In Bougoula, in the Koulikoro region in southwest Mali, 7% of children under 5 are severely malnourished and 20% of children in school cannot concentrate properly in school or are unable to attend classes because they are too hungry.
Promoting the growth of family harvests
In an effort to make families more food secure and financially independent, Plan has initiated a programme largely aimed at women to promote the growing of groundnuts. With an excellent nutritional value as well as being relatively easy to grow, groundnut cultivation is both a good way to make a living and produce a balanced food source.
For three months, 25 women participated in a training programme to learn how to select, prepare and maintain fields. The women were subsequently able to use their crops to provide food for their families and to supplement their income to buy food or gain access to education and health care for their children.
“After just four months, the quality of food in my household has improved. We use the peanuts to cook with and sell part of the crop at the local market. The money I earn allows me to purchase other foods and ensure school fees and my children’s health”, explains Sitan.
It’s not just individuals who are benefitting from the project. Overall nutrition within the village has increased and malnutrition rates are dropping. At the end of last year, just 3% of children under 5 were reported with moderate cases of malnutrition and there have been no reported cases of severe malnutrition.
Read more about the Sahel food crisis appeal