For the young
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Mahuta, Edmond. 2006. For the young. Spore 121. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48009
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore121.pdf
The story began in the early 1990s. And it must be said that it began rather badly! At the request of a German company, Edmond Mahuta and about 15 young people decided to start a business growing peppers in the Masi-Manimba region, 250 km east of Kinshasa
Edmond Mahuta, coordinator for the Association paysanne pour le développement social de Masi-Manimba (ASSOPADEM) community organisation The story began in the early 1990s. And it must be said that it began rather badly! At the request of a German company, Edmond Mahuta and about 15 young people decided to start a business growing peppers in the Masi-Manimba region, 250 km east of Kinshasa. They harvested 30 sacks, each weighing 10 kg. Happily, they sent the first two parcels to Germany by post. Not a word! So they decided to sell their product on the local market, but there were no buyers there either. The group quickly became discouraged and broke up. Only Edmond and a friend called Gilbert remained, but they were determined to continue their struggle against unemployment and idleness, which befall many young rural dwellers in DRC. Gilbert stayed where he was while Edmond left for Bindungi, about 100 km further south, to grow peanuts on 2 ha of land. The teachers and some other young people from the village approached me and asked if we could do something together , he recalls. November 1995 saw the launch of the Association paysanne pour le développement social de Masi-Manimba (ASSOPADEM) community organisation, which Edmund coordinates to this day. This farmers NGO had a two-pronged goal to ensure the food security of communities living in the region and to find work for its young people. With a background in humanities, Edmond studied a correspondence course on farming and community development from the Institut africain de développement social (INADES) in Kinshasa over the next 4 years. Out in the field, the members of the association carried on, season after season, growing maize, cassava, peanuts, soya, cowpeas, etc., until in 2001, a priest called Franklin Munguba introduced them to Spore. The magazine changed our whole way of working the land , explains Edmond Mahuta, with some emotion. The women of Bindungi, who used to grow a few meagre okras, grew 4 ha of vegetables in 2004. It was all thanks to techniques learned in Spore , claims Edmond. Each issue is read and dissected in groups, under the guidance of the association s agronomist who, when necessary, offers explanations to the women, many of whom are illiterate. Fifteen, twenty, thirty the numbers taking part in these sessions are growing all the time. Légende: Edmond Mahuta, chief coordinator of Assopadem (left) and the organisation s project director Michel Mutombo absorbed in Spore