In the midst of the ongoing conflict in Congo, where armed militias continue to terrorize communities, the UN and NGOs continue to work toward peace through the process of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants.
According to the UN website, DDR supports ex-combatants to become active participants in the peace process through:
As we focus on the needs of the oppressed, the women and girls denied an education and most often the victims of sexual and domestic violence, we also see the need to educate and bring into community the men of the villages, especially ex-combatants, to break the cycle of violence and provide pathways to peace.
Seeing the need for the ex-combatants to find daily work to feel connected to their neighbors and to be contributing members in their community spurred our visionary leader Amani to find community-based solutions. The answer was pigs. Pigs and pedagogy. Purchasing 7 pigs, Amani hired two ex-combatants to care for the pigs around the clock, ensuring their health and safety. Our agronomist Mukengere helped build the shelter, and trains the men about breeding the animals, and their relationship to the farm, how to grow organic food and raise fish.
The goal is to grow our demonstration farm, which is currently home to over 80 women learning the latest organic farming skills as they farm and harvest their own plot of land to include an education for more ex-combatants, to extend pathways to true integration and peace throughout the area. Pigs provide poop for the organic fertilizer for the women to use on our shared farm, as well as help sustain the algae and greens that feed the fish in the ponds on the farm, which are harvested for food and to sell at the market.
As the pigs give birth, the men can sell their offspring to earn their own income, creating a cycle of sustainability. This week, we learned that one mama pig gave birth! Welcome to the world six baby piglets. The project is off to a great start.
See photos and learn more about the farm:
Connect to the people of Congo through this life-transforming work here. Every dollar makes a difference, and a monthly donation provides the resources for us to plan for the future – a brighter future for us all!