On the path to better health and life

Life is a daily struggle for Julienne, aged 60, and in charge of eight children. In Maniry where she lives, rain has been scarce, crops are failing, and families are vulnerable. “Drought is our main issue. Because we could not grow anything, I struggle to take care of my children. They often get sick, and I can’t afford medicine”, Julienne explained. As farming is Julienne’s only source of income, she did not have any hope to overcome this situation.

When AINA project started working in Maniry, Julienne began to see improvement in her life. For once, there is enough food for her eight children. “When I first knew the project, they started by providing us with food. I have received food from them for eight times now. The rations from each distribution last us for about one month”, she said.

To provide a longer-term solution to the food crisis, AINA project has also introduced agriculture activities that Julienne applies in her own garden. Furthermore, it supplies the farmers with seeds and agricultural tools. “They taught us to plant different vegetables: chives, beet, cucumber, carrot, eggplant, and lettuce. They showed us how to plant them in rows, how to transplant them, and how to water them. These are skills I never knew before”, she explained.

As Julienne readily applies the new skills acquired from the project, her garden is successful. As a result, her family can eat different meals every day and she can even sell her crops. “We eat rice and cowpeas, which the project provides us. But we can also eat different types of vegetable from the garden. I can sell some of the vegetables as well. We keep some of the money to expand our crops. Today, I also plant ginger, beans, and tomatoes”, she said. As per Julienne, she can see improvement in their health thanks to the diversified meals: “Today, we are healthy. My children are healthy, unlike before”.

Thanks to the WASH component of the project, Julienne has also acquired new hygiene behaviors that contribute to improving her family’s health. AINA project taught her different practices such as handwashing and water treatment with chlorine tablets, which she is eager to apply: “At home, we practice handwashing. When I come from the field, or from the toilets, or before preparing the food, I always wash my hands with soap. The water we drink is safe because I use the Sur’eau provided by the project. My children are much healthier compared to before. They have no more diarrhea. Whereas before, any time after they drink water, they had diarrhea with blood”.

Thanks to AINA project, Julienne’s standard of living has significantly increased. Not only do the family have a new source of income thanks to agriculture, but they can also save on health expenses thanks to the new hygiene practices they apply at home. “Before, we spent a lot in buying medicine for the children. Today, all the family members are healthy”, she said.