ChaKuishi(“Food for Life”) is the Women Social Enterprise project in agriculture and fish farming developed and implemented by the Good Shepherd International Foundation with Bon Pasteur, in the artisanal mining communities of Kolwezi.
Mining exploitation, coupled with land grabbing, internal migrations and a lack of public investment in farming, have made Kolwezi a place where basic food supplies for the poorest are more difficult to find and more expensive to buy than a sack of raw cobalt or copper. This has led to great food insecurity, malnutrition and diseases among the poorest parts of the population living in the mining communities.
Plus, for women and girls earning a living outside the mines is extremely difficult; most of them are illiterate and scarcely employable, at risk of violence and exploitation.
ChaKuishi starting from 2019 has been piloting a social enterprising model that supports women organized in cooperatives to farm and sell quality agricultural products. Women participating in Chakuishi can thus count on a stable and dignified source of income and can send their children to school and improve the diet of their families.
Diversified vegetables and fruit plants are grown in a cultivated land of 15 hectares, using a drop by drop irrigation systems to extend agricultural production and contrast drought and negative impact of the climate crisis
2,500 square meters of ‘maternity’: the nursery is the beating heart of the farm. Best varieties of plants suitable for the soil are researched and tested, to ensure a short and continuous cycle of agricultural production.
For the farming of the Nile Tilapia, 16 new ponds have been built (there will be 28 in 2022): at full capacity 48 tons of fish per year will be produced and sold on the local market.
Chakuishi is based on an initial 10-year plan during which it will achieve full technical and financial autonomy to create a social enterprise self-sustainable and able to generate profits to support other activities of the Good Shepherd program in Kolwezi.
Chakuishi involves 10 staff members and 50 women in vulnerable conditions, who participate in training and empowerment program on agricultural production cycles. Every year 60 people, mostly women, can develop professionally through training, accessing a stable job to earn an income.
Thanks to this approach, Chakuishi social entreprise will be able to engage a relevant number of community members throughout the years. Chakuishi project will help: