Conflicts and wars are not just disruptive but also destructive to both human lives and activities including farming. A once-happy self-reliant community of Pure and Kiri in Kajo-Keji was forced to abandon farming as their main source of livelihood to stay in Korijo IDP camp after the conflict in 2017. While in Korijo IDP camp, most of the community were forced to travel to the refugee camps in Uganda to receive the food ration or risk going back to their original homes within the county to harvest from their abandoned farms. “With war, you can’t do anything. We were forced to abandon our fruitful and fertile land for safety in Korijo IDP camp where there was barely any food. We had to risk our lives to collect abandoned food in the garden or cross to Uganda for food ration” narrated Juru, a member of Mother to Mother Support Group (MtMSG) in Pure.
The food crisis among some women was partly resolved when Alight came up with a great idea of introducing the kitchen garden initiative in the already formed MtMSG. MtMSG promotes optimal maternal infant and young child nutrition practices in the community within the catchment of the nutrition facilities. Alight’s nutrition team in Kajo-Keji guided and oriented the MtMSG members on the kitchen garden initiative including its benefits. They were given all the skills needed to start, nurture and take care of the kitchen garden in their homes as well as the benefits of dietary diversity. Alight procured the seeds and tools for the groups to start this project. They planted maize seeds, onion seeds, eggplants, tomatoes, cabbages, green papers, groundnuts, carrots, and watermelon “The kitchen garden idea was not just an experiment but a real solution to the food crisis in my family- You plant and sow little fruit seeds, the return and the harvest is amazing- You can’t believe!” Kiden Annet joyfully said.
The kitchen garden has become a model for successful garden farming in the community. The idea is having a ripple effect. Most of the community members who are not members of the MtMSGs have constantly come to seek knowledge on how to start their own. Members of the MtMSGs have attested that part of the produce from their garden is now sold in the market and has diversified part of their income which they can now use to buy household necessities and needs as well as improve their dietary intake. Thanks to Alight and the donors for initiating such a rewarding and fruitful idea.