We have been working with Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in South Kivu and in Rusizi Plains, two villages along the Rwandan border. The program supports communities in these areas so they are able to provide for themselves and their children.

For one program we work with a local organization, Appui au Développement de l’Enfant en Détresse (ADED) and for the other we have partnered with Help Channel Congo (HCC).

Both programs have similar approaches. Our main goal is to restore stability to vulnerable households in the communities. We do this by:

- Enhancing food availability;

- Improving access to regular income, and;

- Working towards reducing communal tensions and increasing stability

The programs focus on providing work for youth, income for parents, and social resilience. Towards this goal ADED and HCC are working with 340 youth in Kivu, and 500 youth in the Rusizi Plains, who have dropped out of school and were unable to find jobs or start their own business. We have established SHGs for families in these communities. Here they are trained in modern agricultural technology, cooperation, saving and investing together.

We provide them with entrepreneurial, agricultural and life skills, and help them with small loans, land, seeds and fertilizer. Through our trainings they learn to cultivate maize, rice, sweet potatoes and peanuts. We encourage working in groups and supporting one another, and the formation of producer groups.

For the sustainability of the program it is vital that we create links between the young farmers and the market. For example: sweet potatoes can be sold in Rwanda for the production of biscuits, and maize can be delivered to a miller.

Since we started working in the area ADED has improved food security amongst 80 families and HCC amongst 60 families.