Every day the Sahara Desert gets a little bit bigger. Millimeter by millimeter, the desert encroaches on the people of the Sahel, the biogeographic zone in west and central Africa that transitions between the vast desert to the north and the fertile savannah to the south. For most people who find their homes here, living off the land becomes all the more difficult year after year. In an earlier post I talked about ways that farmers are rejuvenating their land through Lutheran World Relief’s CORE II project (Community-Led Food Crisis Recovery in the Sahel). This is a necessary undertaking to boost agricultural productivity, but is also one that takes time. In addition to maintaining fertile fields, survival in this climate-volatile region also depends on one’s ability to diversify income. Cue the goats! Livestock production can be a lucrative and sustainable income for poor farmers. Goats in particular are[…]Read More
Post Tagged with: "climate change"
Many people in the developing world have no choice but to make a living as subsistence farmers in extremely adverse conditions. In the West African Sahel, desertification threatens the food security and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers. Lutheran World Relief’s agricultural projects help these farmers to rejuvenate their land and mitigate drought through the use of water harvesting and organic farming techniques. Vast swaths of barren land have been brought back to life through these interventions. This is a bold claim, but my drone helps to prove it!Read More
The straw basket and handbag makers of northern Ghana are drawing a lot of attention lately– enough, in fact, that two of my clients have each sent me to the region on separate occasions in recent months to get a close up glimpse of these fashionable totes. The groups that make them have banded together in cooperatives in order to buy supplies in bulk and save and lend amongst each other. Some groups have even managed to find financial backing and gain certified Fair Trade status, which would explain why Shared Interest, a fair trade investment firm, sent me there to capture these entrepreneurs at work. The colorful hand bags and baskets are crafted by groups of women using straw that is first rolled and split with their teeth, then dyed in vibrant colors before being woven into intricate patterns by hand. It’s a tradition that’s long been passed down through the[…]Read More
Farmland that had reverted to dust after years of drought is being reclaimed through innovative methods. Thanks to Matemai Mbira Group of Harare, Zimbabwe for the use of their beautiful music in this piece.Read More
Want to know what real hunger is like? Don’t ask an American. The video below, narrated by Sevu, a small farmer in Kenya, gives the most poignant description of hunger I’ve ever heard. Luckily, that’s not all this video is about. It used to be that the seasonal river that runs through Sevu’s village would quickly become dry again a few days after the rain. Now, however, a series of small sand dams stationed throughout its course have kept the river flowing and have allowed Sevu and his family to farm year-round, thereby increasing their income and access to food. Sevu and the family are doing so well now, in fact, that he was able to place an international phone call to me yesterday just to see how my wife and I are doing. The dams are part of a larger program introduced in the area by Lutheran World Relief to[…]Read More