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From food security to building thriving communities

Ripple Effect are fighting poverty and building sustainable livelihoods in eastern Africa. They work with farming families, training them how to implement more sustainable agricultural processes that have a climate-positive impact and develop food security.

Ripple Effect actively recruit marginalised and excluded people to be involved in their projects. Once farmers are food secure, Ripple Effect encourage them to see their farm as a business that can generate income and create stable futures.

Deogratious Egeru, Enterprise, Development & Innovation Regional Coordinator at Ripple Effect, told us how they’re working to transform lives in eastern Africa:

“Our mission is to inspire and equip African communities to transform their lives and protect their planet. We want to see a confident and thriving sustainable rural Africa.”

Deogratious Egeru

“In East Africa, we are faced with a lot of problems such as extreme poverty, inequality and climate change. We need to focus our efforts to address them and this is exactly what the SDGs have to offer.”

Deogratious Egeru

Building Income Security

“We want to go beyond just food security with those people that we work with. We want the families to thrive and not just merely survive.”

Deogratious Egeru

As soon as a farmer produces enough food to meet their own needs, Ripple Effect encourage them to get their surplus produce to market. As part of this enterprise programme, they train farmers to understand market systems and encourage the development of their business ideas, with a particular focus on expanding employment opportunities for young people.

“In Africa, there are a lot of resources that could help people get out of poverty. What is missing is the expertise and knowledge required to harness these opportunities.”

Deogratious Egeru

Spotlight on: Burundi

Deogratious shared one story of a youth cooperative supported by the organisation. The Umoco Cooperative Youth Group in the Mwaro province of central Burundi have been training with Ripple Effect since August 2021: learning the techniques of agroecological farming and how to develop agribusinesses.

They have been supported in renting land for growing, and with improved seeds for potatoes, beans and wheat. They harvested 2,500kg of potatoes from 419 kg of potato seed. Beninge Niyunkuru says:

“Before, we each used to eat once a day. From our harvest we got enough food to eat and with the surplus we earned 2,715,000 Burundian Francs (£757).”

Beninge Niyunkuru

Sustainable Collaboration

“Our experience has shown that the communities we work with benefit more when organisations work together effectively.”

Deogratious Egeru

Ripple Effect have an ambitious goal to reach 5 million more people by 2030, and Deogratious believes that partnerships are key to achieving this. According to Deogratious, Ripple Effect’s current partners have different areas of expertise, which ultimately benefit the project participants.

“Long-term sustainable collaboration with local organisations has added value over and above what Ripple Effect could deliver alone.”

Deogratious Egeru

Building sustainable livelihoods in Uganda

Uganda, a country the same size as the United Kingdom, currently hosts the largest refugee population in Africa. Support for this community has put the country’s resources at risk of being overwhelmed. Ripple Effect’s Enterprise work is providing refugees with opportunities to build sustainable livelihoods.

Deogratious explained how one group of refugees was supported by Ripple Effect’s Enterprise scheme. They had a beverage that was very popular in their home country made from milk, sugar and maize. With the local community growing the raw materials, Ripple Effect helped them turn this beverage into an enterprise. After providing the necessary training and resources, the group were able to produce a product that has given them another source of income, thereby reducing their reliance on other forms of temporary support.

“If we can combat poverty and provide the opportunity for people to work and be included in their local economy, then we will be solving a lot of things.”

Deogratious Egeru

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