Hands-On Learning Feeds Families and Potential
In Cameroon and other developing parts of the world, gifts of food provide temporary, day-to-day relief for what can be a life-long struggle with hunger. But tools to help communities produce their own sustainable food are long-term solutions that seed self-sufficiency.
That’s what makes the partnership between the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) and the Community Initiative for Sustainable Environment and Gender Development (CISEGD) so critical. It’s not just helping to feed individuals — it’s feeding potential.
Independence grows on model farms like the one built in Guzang Village, Cameroon. Here, smallholder farmers are provided the opportunity to learn life-changing skills, enabling them to take what they’ve learned back to their own farms. In these incubators, community members participate in handson learning as they care for animals like pigs, poultry, and rabbits; receive exposure to sustainable beekeeping and market gardening; plant trees; and build and manage solar dryers. As participants’ skills develop, CISEGD continues to help their communities grow, offering advanced training in animal husbandry, natural resource management, leadership skills, and gender equity.
In addition to education, the program also provides permanent facilities to help sustain the model farm and the community it feeds. For example, a well was built in Guzang Village to supply water for animals, irrigation for vegetable farms, and potable water for about 150 nearby households.
The best part of this program, though, is how it encourages participants to pass on the gift and share what they have learned with others. Each farm family who receives an animal donates the animal’s first female offspring, along with mushroom seeds, to someone else in need. This is the best way programs like these sustain communities — by helping to empower its members to take care of themselves, and each other.