A Little Insurance Goes a Long Way For Famers in Congo
Behind every coffee and cocoa bean produced in eastern Congo is a hardworking farmer. These farmers do the heavy lifting – literally – to further the progress of Congo’s re-emerging agricultural sector. In rural farming communities, access to affordable health care has always been a challenge. These are remote areas and what health care exists is often too expensive for farmers to afford. With farmers running a higher risk for basic injuries, as well as the prevalence of malaria and other diseases in the region, accessing affordable health care is critical to stopping treatable problems from becoming deadly ones.
In partnership with Ideo.org Heal Africa & CADERCO, ECI is helping to provide health care through an innovative micro-insurance pilot program. By paying a very small health care premium, a group of farmers in North and South Kivu are now able to access affordable health care. Although this program is only a first step to providing health care for all rural farmers in DRC, the results have so far been very encouraging.
Farmers like Madam – a 72-year old coffee farmer in Kishinji village – represent the positive effects of affordable health care. A widower with four grandchildren, Madam is one of 333 coffee farmers who paid a $20 insurance premium to access medical care at participating health centers. She spoke with ECI from her home in Kashinji:
“Since my childhood I was involved in coffee. Even when I got married coffee was my basic crop with my late husband. Micro-insurance for me is like a gift from heaven because prior to this project, most of my income was allocated to afford medical care and left out school fees for my grandchildren. Often I was obliged to reduce the number of meals per days in order to get money for addressing medical care issues. Since January 2017, I’ve gotten medical care twice at the Kishinji health center where I was easily able to pay $6.70 (40%) and the project paid $10 (60%) for me…Thanks so much to ECI…for the outstanding project that address health issues that were huge burdens on our shoulders.”