New farming techniques to get older people back on their feet
During my visit to West Darfur state in late September last year, I attended a training session in agricultural skills, organised by HelpAge and for members of older people's committees and caregivers in the internally displaced people (IDPs) camps in and around Al Geneina.
Supporting older people with no pension
The training is part of our work to ensure older people are able to earn a secure, long-term income. This is a challenge for thousands of older people in West Darfur who live in poverty, with no savings, assets or pensions.
Committee members and caregivers in Durti, Kirinding, Hujaj, Abuzar, Rayad and other IDP camps took part in the three days extensive training, which was facilitated by HelpAge and the State Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.
The training was designed to develop local farmers' capacities to cultivate cash crops such as, maize, sesame and vegetables. It also aims to help older people in IDP camps restart the activities that allow them to earn a living. "The local famers will share the knowledge and experience they have gained during the practical training with those in their local communities," said the training facilitator, Al Haj Alnour.
Increasing food security
During training in the fields, the participants showed great interest in training older farmers and passing on their skills. Through their new competences, these farmers will bolster food security in their region; and their income. A few weeks before the new agricultural season and the seasonal rain falls, HelpAge provided older farmers with seeds and tools to help them further.
"The training will help older farmers increase their yield by applying the agricultural practices they have learnt," said older people's committee member, Yasen Abaker, 60.
During the visit, we also found that farmers had started to harvest some of the vegetables they had cultivated at the beginning of the agricultural season. Farmers consume part of their produce and sell the rest at local markets.
Immediately after the training, the participants started working with committee members in various IDP camps to help them put their new skills into practice.
Find out more about our work supporting older people in Sudan.