Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Something to Dance About

Chanathina Women's Group Bukuyu, Kenya

There is something to dance about in the villages of Bukuyu and Bula Pamoja in Kenya's Northeast. Under the shade of Acacia trees, women from the Chanathina farmers group are singing praises for the blessing of their farms that are doing well despite the terrible floods of this past May. 

Through hard work and cooperation, the people of these communities are becoming food secure as they utilize the methods of conservation agriculture. They are both bringing produce to market and to their tables.

Children having lunch at the CBM feeding program
Bula Pamoja, Kenya

Over the past five years, CBM has been helping to improve nutrition within the community through daily feeding programs in two early childhood centres that we revitalized with the community leaders. As the food security project has grown, village farmers are now able to provide fresh produce like bananas and kales for the children each day. 
"The school feeding program has helped to attract and retain the kids to school," shared our colleague Pauline. "This is because most households in the community cannot afford meals during the day due to abject poverty in the area. Since the inception of the school in 2012, twenty-two pupils have graduated to nearby primary schools which are approximately three kms away."

Our colleagues Geoffrey and Pauline visiting the new irrigation pump 
provided by CBM's food security project in Garissa.

 Bukuyu mother and beneficiary of the CBM food security project

Only a few years ago, this field was thorny scrub bush. 
Now it is a source of food and income for a family.
"The empowerment of the community with skills and knowledge on conservation farming has enabled them better farming techniques which has increased their yields. The community has also gained knowledge on the control of pests and diseases which use to be a menace in the area," shared Pauline. " The community has also benefitted with certified seeds of tomatoes, kales, green grams and cowpeas which has increased their yields and they been able to sell for income. It has also helped the community to diversify on the different kinds of crops to improve their diets and nutrition."
In Prayer

We thank God for the fruit of ministry in these communities and for the growing peace of the past year in Garissa. Please join us in praying for continued stability and deepening relationships of mutual trust and respect among the Muslim and Christian communities of this region.

·     As the people of Bakuyu are seeing their farms prosper, they are now facing a challenge from wildlife like warthogs and hippopotamus destroying their crops. Please pray for this community as it seeks affordable and effective ways to protect their farms and prevent the destruction of their crops by wild animals.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Seeing Change in Bugharama

 Kinane is a young farmer in Bugharama, 
Democratic Republic of Congo

Insecurity is a major concern throughout Eastern DRC as militia groups continue to raid villages and take hostages for ransom. Kinane lost his parents during such a raid committed by a rebel militia group four years ago in Bugharama. 

After the death of his parents, Kinane had to leave school in order to take care of his five younger brothers. His only source of income was their traditional farm that grew cassava, beans and bananas, but as farm yields started to decrease through plant diseases like the mosaic virus that attacks cassava and a pervasive bacteria that killed his banana plants, it became difficult for him to meet the needs of his family. 

Faced with dying crops, Kinane was desperate to find a way to provide shelter, food, education and health care for his younger brothers.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Central Africa, you will no doubt discover that banana (and in particular the starchy plantain variety) is the daily staple food for families living within the mountainous interior. The outbreak of BXW (Banana Xanthomonas Wilt) has been devastating for communities like Bugharama and for farmers like Kinane. 

BXW is a bacteria that infects the soil and every part of the banana plant from the roots to the fruit. It first appeared in the 1960s in Ethiopia, but reemerged in Uganda in 2001. Most recently the bacteria has swept into Central Africa wiping out banana production where ever it goes. BXW has brought devastation to banana farmers in parts of Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The bacteria can be spread through infected tools like pangas (machetes), banana buds, and other contaminated plant material. 

A banana plant infected with BXW

In the community of Bugharama, Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) and our local partner the Central African Baptist Churches (CBCA) are helping to improve food security and overcome the impact of BXW through better farm management. Kinane is one of ninety-five farmers in a CBM/CBCA food security project in this area. 

Together with his neighbours, he is receiving training, weekly mentorship, disease resistant seed, tree seedlings and support in running five demonstration farms to help other farmers in their community. In this year alone, over 4500 trees have been planted. Kinane and his farming association members are now using techniques that improve soil fertility. But perhaps the biggest impact has been found in the improved management of BXW and the replanting of healthy banana farms.

Kinane and members of the Mapendo Farmers Association

Since Kinane joined the Mapendo association in Bugharama, he has been following the conservation agriculture training on modern farming techniques and disease management provided by the CBM/CBCA food security project. 

He was particularly interested in the introduction of vegetables into his farm and this year, he planted tomatoes, onions and amaranths on his 25 m x 20 m field. After the sale of his first harvest, he earned a profit of $215 US dollars. Kinane used this income to  pay school fees for his brothers and to buy a goat for their farm.
“I never collected so much money at one single sale,” laughed  Kinane. "I will encourage my brothers to help me and increase the size of the field. With this initiative, I even see the hope of getting married in the next couple of years." 
Kinane and is BXW-free banana plants

This project has brought vital changes in the Bugharama community. 
"With the new technology they have learnt during the training, the promotion of gardening and the distribution of improved cassava cutting and banana seedlings, people increase their food production and their income." shared Polisi Kivava of the CBCA. "In this way, the project is contributing to reduce poverty in the area."

Please join us in praying for families like Kinane's and for the important work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We are thankful for this and the constellation of other projects that we as Canadian Baptists have the privilege of participating in with our sisters and brothers living in Central Africa. You can learn more about the work of Canadian Baptist Ministries in DRC, throughout Africa and around the world by visiting our website.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Prayer Update from South Sudan

South Sudan is Starving

Food is something that many of us take for granted. But that is not the the case for the people of South Sudan. 

Recently, we visited a Canadian grocery store where we could buy a one kilogram bag of sugar on sale for $1.59. We were so excited, we bought three bags to take back with us to Kenya. Now imagine going to that same store only days later and discovering that the cost had risen to over $200.00 per bag. That shock only begins to capture the reality facing families in South Sudan.

Compounding the challenges from three years of conflict that has displaced families and ripped apart the nation, the people of the world's youngest country are suffering from chronic food shortages and hyper inflation. 

In August, food inflation in South Sudan hit a record high of 850 percent. In some isolated areas, food prices had increased 1,000 percent above prices of five years ago. Today there are approximately 4.3 million people in need of urgent help. South Sudan is starving.

You can read a full report on the situation of South Sudan's food inflation by Clicking Here.

As Canadian Baptists, we are currently mobilizing resources to bring much needed food and emergency relief kits to displaced families living near our partner churches in South Sudan. Getting help to these people is a matter of life and death. Please join us in praying for this emergency relief effort and consider making a donation at or click here to learn more.

Thank you for your faithful prayers and generous support.