Did you know the food security is often the tipping point that leads to individuals and families being less vulnerable to human trafficking?


Our partners at Hope For South Sudan (HFSS), located near the South Sudan and Uganda border in Eastern Equatoria, launched the Empowering Leaders through Nutrition-Smart Agriculture project in collaboration with LUV and Rise Against Hunger in 2020. This five-year initiative aims to enhance crop production for both consumption and income, and to improve dietary diversity for better nutrition. This powerful initiative illustrates how agricultural projects can transform communities, alleviate hunger, and pave the way for lasting stability in regions scarred by war.


One individual’s story that embodies the impact of this initiative is Mary Iwee.  


Mary, a wife and mother of seven, has faced significant challenges in providing for her family. Her husband, a soldier in the South Sudanese army, often experiences delays in salary payments of up to seven months. To make ends meet, Mary gathers firewood from the forest and sells Takaya, a traditional alcoholic brew. Driven by the need to support her family, Mary joined Hope for South Sudan’s farmer field school in 2023 where she received agriculture training as she worked on the HFSS school farm and received 6 kilograms of sorghum seeds.


With these resources and mentorship visits from the farm community engagement officer, she prepared and planted on 2.5 acres of her own land, harvesting around 600 kg (or 1,323 lbs) of sorghum; a drought resistant cereal. She sold part of the harvest to buy household essentials, medication, and even pay for her children’s school fees. 


Before this project, Mary and her community relied on traditional farming methods, resulting in low yields. With the new agricultural project, there’s been a significant improvement in agricultural knowledge and practices. Families participating in the school now have enough to feed themselves and surplus to sell. Training sessions provide valuable knowledge on better farming methods, leading to increased production and healthier lifestyles.  


This project has equipped over 30 families with the tools to become self-sufficient. Mary feels proud of her ability to provide for her children and contribute to their education. She believes in the power of empowerment and its ripple effect on the community. With renewed hope, Mary aspires to continue practicing smart agriculture, improve her farm’s yield, and secure a better future for her children. The efforts of the local team at Hope For South Sudan, in partnership with LUV and Rise Against Hunger, highlight the importance of agriculture in empowering communities and preventing human trafficking.


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Watch our Program Coordinator, Pauline Jacqueline Njoroge, share more about Mary and the tremendous growth the HFSS Farm experienced last year: