With high rates of hunger, infant mortality and population increase, it’s easy to see why the World Hunger Index ranked Comoros third on the list of the world’s hungriest nations. It is just one of nineteen nations still labeled as “alarming” or “extremely alarming” on the Global Hunger Index, leaving 870 million without food.
The Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy Paper produced by the officials of Comoros stated that, “information on the economic environment supports the assumption that the socio-economic situation is deteriorating and that poverty is on the rise.”
Much of this social upheaval has been attributed to what can only be described as an unstable government. Comoros has been the site of 20 coups and attempted coups since its independence in 1975. The newest elected leader, Ikililou Dhoinine, a native born to the islands, took office in May 2011. He looks to spearhead the reduction of poverty by pledging “to stop at nothing in the fight against corruption.” Despite this hopeful claim, the people of Comoros are among the poorest in Africa and heavily dependent on foreign aid.
But others have joined the goals of Dhoinine. Dominic MacSorley, Chief Executive of Concern stated that, “firefighting with emergency aid is not enough.” Comoros conducted its own comprehensive household survey and found that many locals agreed that the way to bolster the economy was to show “importance of recovery in the private sector, particularly in the agro-foods area, to ensure a robust economic growth and achieve a significant reduction in poverty.”
Engagement Communautaire pour le Développement Durable, or the ECDD, has been working toward just that by creating a model of community landscape management integrating improved livelihoods with natural resource management.
Agroecology and Market Gardening were two of the techniques implemented. Agroecology refers to the process of conserving the land while simultaneously respecting ecological principles and learning from nature. For example, learning how the rainforest continually recycles nutrients back into the soil. Market Gardening is the process of growing vegetables to take to market for a profit.
ECDD’s project slogan, ‘Komori ya lao na meso,’ means ‘The Comoros of today and tomorrow.’ It is plain to see that this slogan was embodied at the very hearts of the ECDD efforts. These practices have set a new precedence in the hopeful fight against hunger in Comoros and the world.
– Frederick Wood II