Success Story

Action for Hope

Action for Hope’s founders in 2008 watched the devastation that rebel attacks had wrought upon their town in South Kivu and sought to respond to the situation by providing agricultural training to vulnerable populations, increasing the quality of life for their families and communities.

Today ADE provides technical training and capacity building to farmers and cooperatives in impoverished territories in South Kivu, with a particular focus on empowering women and promoting gender equity in land ownership. ADE has also provided emergency humanitarian assistance to communities affected and displaced by conflict in eastern Congo.

ECI has partnered with Action for Hope to create the conditions for the socio-economic independence of women tomato farmers in South Kivu. Since 2014, ECI’s investments have contributed to the increase of 300 women tomato farmers’ income by $270 on average (the average annual income or Gross National Income per capita in Congo is $380).

In 2015 ADE supported the women farmers to increase and diversify their revenue source through the development of a women’s agricultural cooperative, benefiting from value chains being reinforced by ECI.

One of ADE’s farmers, Jeanne M’kabugu, a mother of eight, overcame widespread prejudice against women farmers and is today the president of one of the farming units: “I am proud to see that I am capable of mastering the art of tomato farming from beginning to end. The money I earn helps me pay for my children’s education. I have overcome my initial fear and I now know what it feels like to be completely independent.”

The farmers working with ADE have created mutual funds that allow its members to access credit loans and to assist each other in case of emergencies and so far 20 women and 10 men have been trained in cooperative management, best agricultural practices, and business planning.

The women farmers have also participated in an exchange visit to Rwanda, learning cooperative management and marketing skills to be better equipped to sell their produce.

And for ADE’s director, Marie Noël Cikuru, this empowerment of women farmers lies at the heart of the project: “Men have traditionally monopolized sectors that were deemed profitable in order to control the resources and revenue. Today most men have understood that the women aren’t their competitors but their partners and that together they can produce more and better.”

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