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Working Toward Zero Hunger with Concern Worldwide

A year ago today, we announced a partnership with Concern Worldwide—to provide immediate and longer-term responses to chronic malnutrition and hunger for people living in extreme poverty in Kenya and Ethiopia. Although the coronavirus pandemic has created challenges, thousands of new farmers in Kenya are now reaping the rewards of their first harvest.

In Tana River County, Kenya, August was a sight to behold. Lush green fields featured tidy rows of mungbeans (green grams), maize, watermelon, kale and other crops, irrigation canals dug out on either side. Just a year and a half ago, this land had been ravaged by drought, making livestock production—the traditional occupation for most locals—untenable, with animals having little else but dust to graze.

"I was born here in Tana River,” said Halima Diramu Jilu, a farmer. “Since we started this project, our lives have changed. We have planted lots of crops, green grams. We get water from canals... we have enough water now."

The transformation in Tana River has been thanks to the Lifesaving Education and Assistance to Farmers (LEAF) Project, built upon Concern Worldwide and ADM’s shared goal of advancing nutrition innovation globally. The project in Tana River focuses on agricultural transformation through skills training, financial aid and continuous mentorship. By working with the new farmers, the local government and other stakeholders, Concern Worldwide has made major strides toward our goal of providing long-term financial stability and food security.

"Before, it was bad,” said Ibrahim Murgor, a farmer from Tana River. “There was drought. Last year we did not have enough water for farming. They have supported us in terms of seeds, other inputs, water. All that is sorted."

In the month of August 2020, nearly 5,000 farmers started harvesting their crops: mainly cowpeas, green grams, watermelon and maize. The majority of the farmers are reporting above average yields. The bumper harvest is because of adoption of climate smart agricultural practices, certified seeds and favorable weather conditions.

The LEAF project also provides lifesaving nutritional treatment for acutely malnourished children and pregnant or lactating women. To date, Concern has screened more than 2,500 children and mothers for acute malnutrition in Kenya and Ethiopia. Coronavirus restrictions have made in-person screenings more challenging, and in the coming months, as restrictions are eased, the goal will be to increase screenings and intervention, improving on cure rates for acute malnutrition.

"We are even more excited about our partnership with ADM than we were when we launched the LEAF project one year ago,” said Colleen Kelly, CEO, Concern Worldwide U.S. “Our work together, especially in Tana River, is bringing the kind of transformation that has the potential to last and create better futures for thousands of people. Across the region, the need remains great, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and in the wake of the locust invasions over the last year. But we have achieved proof of concept of the ADM/Concern partnership, and we look forward to driving even greater impact together, in the next year and beyond."