The region of Djenné in central Mali is exposed to regular flooding and repeated droughts, creating a precarious environment that is exacerbated by poor infrastructure. Agricultural production is fragile, increasing the risk of food insecurity and malnutrition.
Around 1,430 people live in the village of Gomitogo, where a WFP resilience programme is enabling the community to become more self-sufficient. Participants are provided with food assistance in return for work to strengthen infrastructure and diversify food sources, such as building dams or planting fruit trees.
The first Food-For-Work project involved building a dam to irrigate surrounding plots and improve management of often-scarce water supplies. Villagers also built a bridge allowing them to transport crops to the main road, without having to resort to expensive boats..
Thanks to the new dam, fields are now protected from flooding and water erosion. Villagers are now growing enough rice and millet to feed the community for the rest of the year. They have also started fish farms, which will provide an extra source of protein for their diets.
Fruit trees, such as mango, baobab and mint, have been planted to improve nutrition in the village. Villagers can also sell the fruit in the local markets and to people in passing cars and buses. This additional income helps villagers pay school fees for their children.
Since her husband’s accident, Korotoum Keita has struggled to feed her seven children. The start of the WFP project, in January 2013, was a great relief. “The project allowed me to learn how to feed my family by growing my own vegetables and fruits. I am also improving my gardening skills – I always wanted to become a gardener, and now I can make it.”