Abidjan – In Gningleu village in western Côte d’Ivoire bordering Liberia, Alice heads a women’s group called “Debasseu”. In English that means “Do it yourself”. The group is participating in a WFP Food for Assets gardening project, and as a result has been able to secure more nutritious foods for their households.
Under WFP Food for Assets projects, community members are given food in exchange for work on vital new infrastructure or for time spent learning new skills that will increase the food security of households or communities.
“Our aim is to have food for ourselves through hard work and nutritious foods like vegetables for our children,” said Alice. “The vegetables we grow are first for our families and what we do not eat is sold. I eat different food because of our gardening project.”
In their garden, Alice and other members have planted okra, eggplants, pepper, cabbage and onions. At lunch time the group eats together, sharing vegetables recently picked from the garden.
While on a mission to the region, a delegation from the World Food Programme and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) visited the Food for Assets project and found members of the women’s group working arduously in the garden.
The gardening project, which lasts for three months, is the second phase of a programme that began with the rehabilitation of 20 hectares of lowlands and 80 participant households. As a result of the rehabilitation, rice production increased to 2.3 tons per hectare. During the rehabilitation programme, Gningleu received 12,500 kilos of food from WFP.
The positive results and diligent work of Alice and her friends on the Food for Assets project has encouraged other community members to join them. The women’s group now regularly holds informational sessions in the field on how to grow vegetables in individual home gardens.