Fish Farms Become Valuable Source of Protein and Income

Post a Comment » Written on October 1st, 2018     
Filed under: Ground Update, News & Updates
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By Sara Blomgren, Serve Globally intern

Augustine Dikao (pictured here) and Dibere Dieu Donne are the coordinators of the Astog Fish Pond Association.

A growing fish is a metaphor for the Astog Fish Pond Association in Gemena, DR Congo, said one association member. Just like the fish that are grown in their ponds, the association started small and, with the support of Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision, is now growing bigger.

When Astog Fish Pond Coordinator Dibere Dieu Donne saw the lack of food availability, he decided to do something. Together with his partners, they decided to increase food sources for the community by planting corn, peanuts, beans, and manioc. They then saw an opportunity to use open land to establish fish ponds.

In the beginning, the small association built two fish ponds. After fish filled the ponds from a nearby stream, the association had enough fish to divide among more people and build more ponds. Four additional ponds were built, bringing their total to six.

They branched out and started raising different kinds of fish, starting with the addition of tilapia. They care for the fish and watch them grow from small to big enough to eat and sell. After taking care of their families and people in need around them, the association sells the fish and saves the money that they earn.

Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision provided large pipes to the association, which are buried under dikes between each fish pond. The pipes are capped with a bag so the water doesn’t go through. When it is time to harvest the fish, the cap is removed and the water flows to the lower pond, leaving the fish caught in the screen. Women from the association go through with basins and pick up the fish from the mud in the empty pond. After cleaning out the pond, it is refilled and the process starts again. It takes about two years for most fish to reach harvest size.

Through the support of CKC, the association was able to receive further training in microfinance, grow their group, establish an office, and continue to expand their work.

With this support, the association has been able to open up savings accounts at two banks in town. They use the money they have earned and saved to support health care and school costs for children or members of their group. They were also able to use the money saved to buy more land and build two more fish ponds, with the hopes of expanding even further.

The association opened a nutrition center with the support of CKC, said Astog Fish Pond Coordinator Augustine Dikao. Here children can receive medical care, with a nurse available to purchase necessary medicines and supplies in town. They have programs to teach women how to grow gardens and make nutritious meals for their children, thus decreasing malnutrition. The center serves about 150 children—90 girls and 60 boys.

When asked how they’ve seen God working through the partnership with CKC, a member of the association said: “As an association, we are getting food from this area to feed our family and also to sell to get money for all our expenses. So it’s a huge help for us. We are grateful to World Vision, but we also want to say specifically to the Covenant church that we’re thankful for you supporting this, because what you’re sending makes a difference for everyone at every level of our society. Our children benefit from this. This is also a time that we as God’s people can preach and teach others about God. We in this project, we tithe to the church and to pastors, and that’s part of our witness to the people in the area. And we pray together as a witness.”

Sara Blomgren is an intern for Serve Globally. She recently graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a degree in Intercultural Ministries, and her home church is First Covenant Church in Rockford, Illinois.

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