Tsitsi, her husband, Isaac, and their five children had been receiving food aid for their family to survive. Where they live in Zimbabwe, it’s not uncommon to remain in a cycle of food aid for years because it’s difficult to start over when conditions haven’t changed.

Tsitsi and her family were ready to finally become self-reliant.

ADRA’s Beyond Food Aid program helps families become self-reliant and healthy through a system of agricultural and livelihood support.

As a coping mechanism after food aid support, Tsitsi joined one of ADRA’s Beyond Food Aid initiatives. The program seeks to provide a livelihood option for those who have been discharged from food aid support or are recovered enough to undertake livelihood activities.

“ADRA realized that I was now fit enough to be able to be discharged [from food aid] and work for my family. They paired me with a lead farmer in a Ruwa garden who would assist me to grow crops to feed my family, and they helped us start a chicken project in which we sell and eat some of the meat from the chickens. I was also able to attend different trainings in crop production, health and hygiene, and nutrition; these were very helpful, as I learned how to grow the food and also how to prepare it in a way that would help my family to be healthy. ADRA provided me with seeds, skills, and someone to assist me; I can now fend for myself and the family,” says Tsitsi.

ADRA Zimbabwe came up with this initiative after noting high levels of relapses and readmissions into the food aid program and decided to design a program that would be a sustainable source of nutritious food. Tsitsi is one of the 20 former food aid recipients who have joined one of ADRA’s nutrition garden programs, and there will be many more to come.