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Agro Pastoral Field Schools Help Empower Communities and Improve Farming
March 16, 2017
With famine having been declared in Unity state of South Sudan in February, one would expect to hear of vulnerable individuals migrating to other parts of the country or neighboring countries in search of food. Despite high food insecurity in Jonglei state, which is bordered by Unity state to the North West, Ruth, residing in one of Jonglei states, Akobo East, is not one of them. As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, Ruth celebrates her bold moment- joining an Agro Pastoral Field School group.
In South Sudan, ACTED works with 30 Agro Pastoral Field Schools (APFS) in Akobo East County under a project funded jointly by SDC and French Embassy. Each APFS has 30 members, making a total of 900 members. These group-based field schools combine agroecology and community development methodologies for more sustainable crop yields and community empowerment.
Since 2015, Ruth has actively participated in APFS trainings on modern farming techniques, like the use of treadle pumps and irrigation kits during the wet and dry seasons. When asked what prompted her to join one of these schools, Ruth says she didn’t join by chance: “Being a woman in South Sudan means being resilient. Having been an active participant of APFS sessions, I have learned, observed, voiced my opinions, and made decisions that have reduced my vulnerability to food insecurity. ACTED has made seeds and farm inputs more accessible and available in my village, which has poor roads and is very far from the market,” she says with admirable determination.