We put power, education, tools and funding into the hands of the Bwe villagers in the hopes of creating a better life for an entire village. Tifie's team transformed 250 hectares of barren earth into a bountiful, beautiful, thriving community. Now, annual income in the village has increased from $60 to $600 per year, villagers have healthy food to eat and sale, a new soil eco-system has been created providing not just nutritious food, but providing shelter for local birds and animals.
The Bwe Farm, led by agronomist Serge Tsk, has transformed 250 hectares of barren earth to bountiful vegetables for the area. Local vlllagers have learned how to care for the gardens, earning an income and growing food for their family to eat and sell. Cassava, Moringue, Acacia, and euclyptus trees have created a new eco-system from the soil, to the leave mulching the ground, the new forests providing shelter for local birds and animals. Serge has also created a local school on the premise for the workers to bring their children while they are at work. A true community center, the Bwe Farm is helping individuals and families become self-sufficient.
In the Bwe Village, Tifie has supported projects that has helped the people in the village provide for their own basic needs - food, power and light, consistent education and job creation. We’ve seen the community move from a day-to-day survival to dreaming about their future and their children’s future.
Power & Light: children and families didn’t have consistent or safe power and light in their homes. Kerosene lamps and candles were unsafe and expensive. Families were spending huge percentages of their income on kerosene. This need eventually created the Goal Zero line of solar panels, batteries and lights, which were all prototyped and tested in Bwe. Individual products have been sold and donated throughout the region, as well as a Light A Village solar system in the community center for renting batteries.
“We are grateful for Tifie, for this bright idea and the Light A Village system. We are glad to pay for the system. When something has great value and you use money from your pocket to purchase, you are very careful with it. We say thank you to the donors of Tifie who have brought this system to us and for the change it’s brought in the lives of people in our village” Chief Michel
Food: When Robert & Ange first visited Dumi, children were undernourished with big eyes and protruding bellies. Once the Tifie Farm was established, many villagers worked in the farm, learning planting and harvesting skills. Over 130 families, over 50% women, joined the seed multiplication project, which in turn tripled the amount of income for each family involved. Most families in Bwe now grow their own healthy food, with a surplus to sell within town or in the market. Animal husbandry has also been a focus, providing rabbit, sheep and goat for raising and eating. Tifie focused on cassava, pineapple, moringue, acacia, eggplant, hot peppers, and corn and identified which plants would thrive in the local area and would best help village farmers generate household income (Tifie planted 247 he Cassava, 100 he sweet potatoes, 2 he pineapple and over 40,000 Moringa and Acacia trees between 2007-2011)
Water: Along with a partner organization, Tifie installed rain water collection tank on school providing clean water to 300 school children and 100 families.
Education: Tifie received continuous donations for the schools in the Bwe area, increasing the quality and consistency of education available within the village. Donations have provided additional training for teachers, French books and supplies for students, installed solar panels, batteries and lights for each classroom, maintained inside and outside of a safe building. There is a small school housed on the Farm that has a handful of primary students, including two special needs children.
Health: Tifie identified medical as a need in the community and started a health clinic on the grounds of the Farm. This is especially compelling as the original purpose of the building including a health clinic as one of the buildings. There has been HIV training provided by Tifie programs, in partnership with other NGOs.
Job Creation: Tifie Farm has been able to hire local villagers run the 2000+ hectare farm, rangng from planting, watering, harvest vegetables, drying and processing cassava, tending goats and chickens, and maintaining equipment and facilities. Yearly income has increased from $30-60/family to $300-600/family.
"Whenever there is a job, life is getting better and better." Chief Michel
Self-Sufficiency: Perhaps the greatest story is the least “sexy”. Tifie isn’t in charge of the Farm anymore, nor are we responsible for it’s operating budget. It’s entirely self-sufficient, in the very capable hands of Serge Tsk, who has provided strategy, leadership and the day to day management to successful grow and continue to transform the region through sustainable agro-forestry.
“I want to do things different, give hope to youth, build Congo’s future and bring light” Serge Tsk
Teach a man to fish, or revolutionize the fishing industry?
Tifie taught a few people how to fish in the sense of training – we trained people how to plant and harvest gardens, how to multiply seeds, the basics of animal husbandry, entrepreneurial training for local business leaders. After years of training and mentoring a few key community leaders in business, the passion and excitement for starting businesses spread quickly. Individuals and families throughout the community opened small shops of their own produce or crafts, selling cold drinks from refrigerators, selling cell-phone charges, among many other. They were pursuing their own dreams of providing for themselves.
Tifie’s involvement in the Bwe region has not been a solitary venture – we’ve partnered with community leaders, regional royalty, business leaders, and other NGO’s, with many dedicated employees, volunteers and donors who donated time, skills, expertise and dollars to sow into an entire region. Truly the learnings, the products, the business, the changed lives and the connections to individuals and families have impacted Tifie profoundly.