United Nations project empowering refugees in Angola

With over 160 refugees actively working in the fields through this initiative and another 110 expected to join soon, this impact goes beyond just feeding them and their family. It also benefits refugees and other host communities to whom some products are sold.

Led by the indomitable Maman Antho, a former government employee in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who became a beacon of women’s empowerment, the project symbolizes a transition from institutional dependence. international assistance to autonomy.

Cultivation obligation

Her journey from receiving food assistance to agricultural independence demonstrates the essence of refugee empowerment, delivering a powerful message about gender equality and the important role that women can play. kept in their community.

“We have an obligation to cultivate the land,” Maman Antho said. So that our children can see their parents work to make a living. We love bringing the kids here to show that our main food comes from our work.”

“We don’t want to depend on humanitarian aid because we know one day it could stop. The emergency period is over – now is the time to grow.”

For Emmanuelle Mitte, UNHCR Represented in the African country, Maman Antho is “an example of how, with solidarity, the refugee community can bring dignity and autonomy to their families while supporting the country. Angola is a compassionate country, and UNHCR working together with the Government and people of Angola to protect those fleeing war and violence.”

More than farming

The resilience of refugees will be celebrated on the day World Refugee Day on June 20, emphasizing the importance of solidarity and developing solutions to integrate forcibly displaced individuals in Angola.

For refugee Jean Bafolo, a devoted father of three, the project is more than just agricultural. It is the path to regaining his pride and self-esteem, enabling him to provide for his family with dignity and resilience.

“I can proudly tell my children that this dish comes from my work, from what I make with my hands,” Mr. Bafolo said. “And one day, they will continue what I am doing.”

Heritage of hope

Against the backdrop of rolling rice fields on a cloudy day, images of smiling faces reflect a new sense of purpose and community.

Beyond the harvest, this effort feeds not only mouths but also the human spirit, instilling resilience and self-reliance in a community that strives for a life of dignity and fulfillment, ensuring a legacy hope and determination to develop for future generations.

Projects to integrate refugees into food production in Lunda Norte province began in 2019 with UNHCR. The production, which initially focused only on growing vegetables, took a leap in 2023 in cooperation with WFP Enabling the production of rice and corn to feed refugee and host communities, encouraging commercial agriculture and promoting social cohesion.

“The story of Maman Antho and Jean Bafolo brings a ray of hope to many other refugees and is a testament to their resilience, ambition and positive contributions,” said José Ferrão, WFP Representative in Angola. for their host communities”.

“WFP is committed to continuing to work with the Government of Angola and its partners to build a brighter future for refugee and host communities, while ensuring future generations can thrive. development and prosperity.:

Angola is home to more than 55,000 people in need of international protection. In Lunda Norte, the Lóvua settlement hosted about 6,200 refugees, including the families of Maman Antho and Mr. Bafolo.


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