Posts in MCC

Water Security Flows Into Food Security

During a severe 2014 drought, a neighboring community and its 10,000 head of cattle survived because of sand dams, the only source of water.  So, when the 15 members of a self-help group in FRB's Kenya Ngong Intashat program decided it was time to build one, they were able to recruit their entire community to pitch in.

These concrete structures, built across sandy areas along seasonal rivers, capture and hold water and sand from flash floods. As the raging waters slam into the dam, sand carried by the water sinks, and water collects in the sand in the hole dug for the purpose. More water is held in a pond on the other side of the wall, and used throughout the year for household needs, agriculture, and livestock.  When a drought hits and the pond is dry, water that’s been stored in the sand away from dirt and insects can be reached by digging. 

The dam in Kajiado County was inaugurated in April, and the community received instruction on its care and efficient use. Because maintenance is in the hands of the residents, they know it’s up to them to keep it in good order. They’ll be building a fence to keep livestock out, and directing water to collection points below the dam for cattle to drink.

This community has started a small vegetable garden near the dam site, planting kales, spinach and onions. Because most people’s experience and livelihoods are based on cattle, they receive training from MIDI, the local partner, on keeping bees, tending kitchen gardens, and creating small-business activities. Self-help groups are also learning dryland farming techniques to diversify their food sources and protect themselves from total crop failures.

Kenya Ngong Intashat program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and local partner MIDI
10 communities, 4,500 households, 31,500 individuals




09/28/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Warming Trend: Winter Crops Increase Family Food Security

Tam and Oanh are neighbors and close friends whose small fields are side by side. Every day, when one of the women is ready to work on her field, she calls to her friend and they walk to their plots together. Mixed into their conversations about work, family, weather and more are the sustainable farming techniques they’ve learned through FRB’s Vietnam Tan Son program.

They participated in a training course on planting crops that would perform well in the climate and soil conditions of the winter season when, after two harvests, farmers traditionally let their fields lay fallow. Tam and Oanh agreed that the practice wasted precious resources that could allow them to feed their families without having to work on someone else’s land for cash.

The farmers were encouraged to experiment with rotational cultivation and increase the variety and number of crops in order to get more food and prevent soil diseases. After training, some pilot households received seed. Tam and Oanh were not on the pilot list, but their interest was high enough that they each bought seeds and committed to following what they learned at the training.

Oanh chose to grow sweet potatoes. Tam chose corn. Last year, Tam and Oanh were able to harvest their fields three times. By adding winter crops, their families did not suffer a food shortage. Tam notes, “We’ll plant winter crops next year. Having corn in winter makes us feel warm in our stomachs.”

The Tan Son program will continue to use agricultural models to evaluate and promote the effectiveness of different crops and farming techniques. Training activities not only help people in difficult areas achieve sustainable food security, they promote good relationships within the community.

Vietnam Tan Son encompasses 6 communities, 512 households, and 2,212 individuals

05/08/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Conservation Agriculture Webinar Available!

What is conservation agriculture (CA)? How does it work? 

The UN's Food and Agricultural Organization describes conversation agriculture as: a concept for resource-saving agricultural crop production that strives to achieve acceptable profits together with high and sustained production levels while concurrently conserving the environment.

In the recorded webinar, MCC staff based in Southern and Eastern Africa share

10/29/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Indigenous communities in Mexico work to become self sustaining

In spite of the devastating loss of incomes due to coffee rust and severe drought in the region, hardworking participants in the seven communities of FRB’s Mexico-Chiapas program are managing to produce food for home consumption and sale for income. The program has supplied families with 750-liter water tanks in order to collect rooftop water whenever it does rain.

Doña Angélica said the first rains this year were few and sparse but she was able to fill her tank easily. Afterward, there was a period of 20 days without rain but, she said with joy,

10/07/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Palestine-Gaza Conflict & Flooding Update

Newsletter: 

The recent conflict in Gaza, which started on July 8, 2014, comes shortly after major flooding in the region this winter.  The local partner and participants in FRB's Palestine-Gaza program have been focusing on how best to manage these immediate threats to livelihoods while still trying to maintain a development focus.  

On February 2nd 2014, FRB granted an additional request for funding which allowed participants to rebuild rabbit shelters and replace livestock that were lost or destroyed in the severe floods.

08/29/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Burkina Faso, the moringa tree improves nutrition

Newsletter: 

Staff and volunteers in FRB's Burkina Faso-Central program are finding creative ways to improve nutrition using one very special tree.  

08/14/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Feeding families displaced by Israel-Hamas conflict

This month, headlines have been flooded with the most recent updates on the Israel-Hamas conflict. While these updates are important, we don't often hear the voices of those who are hungry, exhausted and displaced. 

07/24/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Palestine, rabbits mean improved nutrition for children

Participants in FRB's Palestine/Gaza program are learning to raise rabbits in order to improve their family's income and health status. The Hashem's use the money from the sale of these cotton-tailed critters to pay for school uniforms and supplies for their seven children. Read their story here! 

07/21/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Praying for peace: violence in Kenya continues

On Saturday night, many civilians were left dead in gruesome attacks on Kenya's coast. The violence comes during a time of political unrest and rising insecurity for the nation. 

07/08/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

FRB visit raises morale in Colombia

When Foods Resource Bank and Mennonite delegations visit the farmers who participate in FRB’s “Cacao not Coca” program in the Chocó region of Colombia, it becomes clear that the moral support implicit in their presence is quite meaningful.

The program encourages Afro-descendant and indigenous families whose desire is to turn away from illegal coca production, to return to traditional farming through training and follow-up. In May, visitors and farmers alike were shocked to find that their rice, vegetable and cacao (cocoa) crops had been erroneously wiped out by aerial spraying of glyphosate,

04/02/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More