Growing vegetables in South Sudan
Jesuit Missions and the Jesuits work with some of the most marginalised projects in the world. In East Africa the Jesuits are working with local people to encourage sustainable development through this locally run agricultural programme.
Growing vegetables, bee keeping, and agroforestry are just some of the agricultural activities that MAJIS (Multi-educational and Agricultural Jesuit Institute of South Sudan) run as part of their training programme aimed at enhancing local food production within South Sudan.
South Sudan is the newest and yet one of the poorest countries in the world. Over 2000 people are crossing the border into Uganda every day to escape the extreme poverty, lack of schools and medical centres, and ongoing local conflict. But this Jesuit run coeducational agricultural training centre, supported by the East African Jesuit province is working with local communities to enhance local food production whilst committing to making all its programmes socially and environmentally sustainable.
Twelve kilometres from Rumbek town, in the centre of the country, MAJIS is enabling women to benefit from their own vegetable production using the produce they grow to generate income as well as improving their nutrition. Onions, aubergines and Sukuma Wiki (kale) are just some of the examples of vegetables being harvested. Over half of South Sudanese households are reported to being unable to obtain sufficient food required for a nutritious diet (Report on Food Security and Nutrition in South Sudan), however MAJIS provides opportunities for local communities to become self-reliant as well as learning new skills.
Beekeeping serves as an alternative income generating solution to food production. MAJIS are providing households with beehives and training on how to maintain the beehives, as well as how to harvest the honey.
MAJIS is using agroforestry to counteract deforestation which is a natural response in poor communities as the trees are cut and used to make charcoal for fuel. They are planting trees and fruit trees locally as well as training local communities on environmental conservation.
Looking to the future, MAJIS plans to train local teachers to set up MAJIS clubs in schools, empowering the next generation of young South Sudanese with sustainable agricultural knowledge and skills.
Read more about South Sudan here.