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Another chance to live and thrive

Amina Sani lost everything when Boko Haram attacked her village in 2015. Like many other people living in Gora, Shani Borno State Nigeria, Amina and her family returned to their village with all means of livelihood gone, everything destroyed. As a mother of 7, making a living as a potter proved hard. So, when Amina was enlisted to be part of a saving and loans scheme, and trained in business skills, supported by Christian Aid and WFP, she was extremely grateful. ‘May Christian Aid live long’. Amina prays. To support her children, Amina has remained extremely committed to the saving and loans scheme. With an initial seed fund of N12,000, Amina borrowed a further N5,000 from friends, just enough to start a grain business. Within weeks of buying and selling grain, Amina paid back her loan and invested in buying mobile network cards, which she now sells as well as grain. Now, when Amina sells her grain, she makes N1,000 per bag. The mobile network cards are also profitable, and she makes 10% profit on her investments in this area of her business. ‘Being a member of Christian Aid’s saving and loans scheme was a turning point in my life’, Amina says. She explains that making clay and pottery was previously not profitable, and that her new business has made life much easier for her and for her family. It has given her another chance to live and thrive. ‘My children now eat well’ Amina explains, and she is happy that her last child is active and happy. Amina is one of many women from Gora Village, Shani Borno State who have turned their lives around through the support of this project.

New pathways out of poverty in Africa: sustainable agriculture

A Christian Aid and CAFOD policy paper investigating how agricultural transformation has become a development priority for African governments and the international development community. It is commonly understood as a shift from ‘low’ productivity subsistence agriculture to more commercially-oriented production. This shift is seen as the first step away from the continent’s continued dependence on raw commodity exports, and towards diversified and domestically integrated economies that provide sufficient employment opportunities to the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population.   This is to be welcomed. However, this report highlights the risk that agricultural transformation strategies already underway in some African countries could increase inequality and further degrade the environment. To prevent this from happening agriculture transformation strategies need to: integrate actions that will build the resilience of producer households and wider ecosystems to climate and economic shocks, instead of focusing predominantly on increasing the productivity of smallholders link smallholder producers to the wider domestic economy.  CAFOD and Christian Aid programmes that support small agro-enterprise development, climate resilience building and inclusive agricultural market development include deliberate actions to ensure equitable and environmentally sustainable outcomes. To further promote the integration of these principles in the design and implementation of government policies, we have initiated an on-going dialogue with our partner organisations in Africa to determine how agricultural transformation policies in their own countries can contribute to more equitable and sustainable development.