Celebration and Graduation, Conservation Agriculture Course, Village of Gicumbi District with students, teachers, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) administrators and local municipal authorities
In Byumba, I was particularly struck by the young male team working on the Conservation Agriculture Project, led by Brian, all so professional, creative and committed to their work with farmers, the overwhelming majority of whom are women. They exhibit a palpable sense of excitement about the work and its clear results in helping secure communities greater food security and prevent malnutrition and disease.
The success of the Conservation Agriculture project has empowered women farmers and created a reaction in their husbands, often resistance and even abuse. To remedy this, the team has incorporated a project component on harmony in the household in order to teach the non-violent resolution of conflict and encourage participation and support of spouses. Apparently this addition has been very well received, with participants immediately asking for more. This project is a great example of how to do rural development work in an integral way, teaching conflict transformation skills within a holistic approach to dealing with violence, both structural (economic) and interpersonal (domestic).