Ever since mankind made the transition from hunter-gatherer to agrarian society about 10,000 years ago, most of the world’s population relies on farming and other agricultural activities for food.

In many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Zambia many millions are reliant not just on farms for food, but must rely on themselves to grow enough food for themselves and their families, and hopefully have surplus crops to be able to sell at local markets.

The challenges for these small-holder farmers, a large percentage of them women, are many and great – especially regarding having adequate rainfall during the growing season in these times of climate change which cause extensive drought leaving farmers with nothing as all they can do is watch the crops wither and die.

But in these countries Bread and Water for Africa® has been working for two decades to support agricultural programs leading to food self-sufficiency and economic independence on both large and small scale projects.

For example, in Kenya, working with our longtime international spokesperson Phyllis Keino and Jos Creemers, manager of the Baraka Farm, over more than 20 years we have been witness to their efforts in transforming 500 barren acres into a thriving agricultural and dairy producing operation which supports Phyllis’ mission as director of the adjacent Lewa Children’s Home.

In Sierra Leone, after years of a brutal civil war and the tragic, deadly Ebola outbreak in 2014/15, Bread and Water for Africa® longtime partner there, Rev. Francis Mambu, director of the Faith Healing Development Organization, is not daunted – in fact he is more determined than ever to restore agricultural production to his country.

Bread and Water for Africa® supports FHDO’s own large-scale rice farming operations through the purchase of farming equipment including tractors and more recently following the Ebola outbreak when farming activities all but ceased in the country, thanks to our supporters, we were able to provide Rev. Mambu with a rice planter/harvester which allowed him to greatly increase production on his land.

In addition, through FHDO programs, Bread and Water for Africa® has provided support to hundreds of small holder farmers – again almost all women struggling to raise their children – by providing seeds and seedlings for plants such as groundnuts (peanuts) at the start of the growing season.

Most recently we are working on a program to provide women with cassava (yucca) plants which, when mature, they sell to a processing plant owned by FHDO which converts the cassava into flour. The women then buy the flour at wholesale prices which they sell at their local markets – in effect making two profits on the same product.

In Zambia, Bread and Water for Africa® supports the efforts of our partner there the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre to have a banana plantation to support the orphanage, similar to the model created by Phyllis for Baraka Farm and Lewa Children’s Home. The banana plantation, started in 2007, was so successful that a few years later Bread and Water for Africa® provided funding for Kabwata director Angela Miyanda to double the size of the planation.

Then, in 2015, Angela came up with the idea to expand her food producing activities with pisciculture, more commonly known as “fish farming.” Bread and Water for Africa® provided her the “seed” money to construct ponds each containing 3,000 tilapia fish which mature in 90 to 120 days not only providing fish for the children, but making thousands of dollars in profits annually.

And in Zimbabwe, Bread and Water for Africa® partner, Shinga Development Trust, is not set up using modern farming mechanisms such as Baraka Farm, but instead utilizes a more traditional farming method known as “Farming God’s Way.”

As explained by Shinga director Margaret Makambira, “Farming God’s Way” stresses teacher farmers to build a sustainable farming method by managing the land, maintaining minimum wastage, no ploughing, and rotation of the crops.

From large scale modern farming to assisting small holder farmers subsisting on the small tracts of land, Bread and Water for Africa® places a high value on agricultural programs, and rightly so as so many lives depend on the success of farmers, big and small.

On December 9, 1988, the board of directors of Christian Relief Services agreed to provide support to a fledgling orphanage in the town of Eldoret, Kenya.

And with that, Christian Relief Services, the umbrella organization of Bread and Water for Africa®, took the first step in a nearly 30-year mission of providing loving homes for thousands of Africa’s most vulnerable, its orphaned and abandoned children.

Bread and Water for Africa® soon developed close ties with Phyllis Keino, founder of the Lewa Children’s Home, who today remains director of the children’s home and is the longtime international spokesperson for Bread and Water for Africa.®

Phyllis and her former husband, Olympic gold medalist Kip Keino, began their journey of caring for others by taking in a few parentless children in their community who had nowhere else to turn but the streets. Over the years those “few” became “many” as Phyllis could not turn away any child in need who showed up at her doorstep from her home.

By 1990, they had nearly 50 children they were caring for and raising as part of the family – and they realized they could not do it alone.

During the next decade, Bread and Water for Africa® stepped up its support for the children’s home to include funding for paying for all the children’s school fees and building a dormitory.

In the meantime, Bread and Water for Africa® also provided substantial assistance in the construction of a primary school which would serve the children in the surrounding community whose school fees would make it possible for children living at Lewa to attend the new school free of charge.

Bread and Water for Africa® also provided significant resources towards the development of Baraka Farm which would not only provide food for the children at Lewa, but sell the surplus produce on the way to making the children’s home self-sufficient.

By the year 2000, the primary school had been constructed and there were 80 children living in the children’s home, which had grown to 96 children by 2002.

With the realization of the life-altering results being made at the Lewa Children’s Home, in 1999 Bread and Water for Africa® expanded our orphan care program to the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre in Zambia, founded by Angela Miyanda, the wife of the county’s vice president.

The need for such an orphanage in Zambia was dire as the AIDS/HIV crisis was leaving tens of thousands of young children orphans to struggle to survive alone on the streets. Tragically, many of the young children she took in were born with the virus itself.

In 2000, there were reports of 100 deaths from AIDS-related illnesses each day in the capital city of Lusaka alone, and Angela had made a home for 50 children at Kabwata who were “indeed blessed to be in Mrs. Miyanda’s care,” a Bread and Water for Africa® staff person reported at the time after a field visit to the country.

It was also reported that month that Angela had been able to take a $5,000 grant from Bread and Water for Africa® “and turn an old, shell of a building into a beautiful new dormitory for more than 80 children she currently has in her program.”

By 2003, Bread and Water for Africa® was providing life-saving assistance to more than 400 AIDS orphans in Zambia, and today, Bread and Water for Africa® and Kabwata remain as stronger partners than ever.

Around the same time, Bread and Water for Africa® joined forces with Emmanuel Ministries (later to become Shinga Development Trust) in Zimbabwe by Margaret Makambira providing assistance to orphans in that country as well. Like Kabwata, Shinga remains a partner of Bread and Water for Africa® today, and is looking forward to opening its own children’s home this year.

In 2010, Christian Relief Services founder Gene Krizek described Phyllis as the “Mother Teresa of Africa,” but we believe in 2017 it’s appropriate to name them all the “Mothers Teresa of Africa” as they truly have been, and will always be, the “mothers to thousands.”

There is nothing we like more at Bread and Water for Africa® than to see a project we have funded come to fruition and be successful.

bwa-fish-harvest-for-sept-2016-e-news20160914_092003

Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre’s first fish harvest.

Such is the case of the fish farm we constructed for the Kabwata Orphanage & Transit Centre in Zambia. For the past year, we have worked with our partner there Angela Miyanda from when she first proposed the project which would provide thousands of fish for the children of the orphanage as well as generate a self-sustaining revenue source for Kabwata by selling thousands more annually.

Zambians love fish, eating it every day for at least one meal, and tilapia is among the most popular as it is fast-growing, and tasty.

Today, we have come from when a tilapia farm was just a dream in Angela’s mind to the reality of the first harvest with 70 percent being sold to stores in the capital city of Lusaka, and the other 30 percent set aside for the children.

In just a few months, the small tilapia fry have grown to full size and Angela’s crew have been able to harvest them from the two ponds as they prepare for the next batch.

Angela, who also oversees a banana plantation which supplies bananas to the orphans as well as generating a revenue stream for the orphanage, told us at the time of the construction of the fish ponds that “depending on the outcome of the fish project, we may shift into full time fish farming as it is proving to be less labor intensive.”

She also noted that Zambia has been blessed with many rivers and lakes stocked with a lot of fish, however due economic challenges facing the country people are taking fish of all sizes with no exceptions for the smallest ones who have not attained full size.

Even with a ban that is imposed on Zambians from December to March every year that is designed to help the fish breed, it does not help as many continue to harvest fish illegally, Angela told us.

“Fish farming is new for Zambia,” she said, adding “The community is excited with fish farming because it will be sold in the local community.”

As we seek to do with all our partners, by providing funding for capital projects such as fish farming ponds, we are leading them on a path to self-sufficiency, not perpetual reliance.

And thanks to our supporters, we were able to provide the seed money for the ponds which will provide great returns for the children of Kabwata for many years to come.

 

The proverb may be a cliché, but that does make it untrue to say “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

In Zambia, that’s exactly what Bread and Water for Africa® partner Kabwata Orphanage & Transit Centre is proposing to do, albeit on a much larger scale.

Angela Miyanda, director of the Kabwata Orphanage, founded the home in 1998 out of compassion for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Zambia to provide them basic necessities of life.

“Through the provision of education, shelter, health, nutrition, love and security we try to help the children reach their full potential in life,” says Angela.

To assist in the funding of the orphanage leading to self-sufficiency, she has created a banana plantation, which has expanded over the years because of its success and competent management, as well as a vegetable garden.

IMG_0226 Angela and bananas

“Our long term goal is to achieve self-sufficiency,” said Angela. “In order to do this we plan to expand our income generating projects.”

But now, Angela is busily working on another income-generating project with help from Bread and Water for Africa® – fish farming.

The short, medium and long term goals for the fish farm is to first learn the guidelines to dig a fish pond and gain experience in its operation and then expand from there.

In addition, Angela notes that some of the older children at Kabwata will be included in the project for training as preparation for the time when they move out of the orphanage.

Angela said she has already acquired the land, and that it only takes a week to actually dig the pond, another 10 days to prepare the ponds for stocking and that the time to harvest will be between 90 and 120 days.

Angela is proposing two dig two ponds that will contain 3,000 fish each with additional stocking to occur at six-week intervals for continuation and projects making between $8,000 and $10,000 annually in profits.

In total, Angela estimates the fish ponds will result in the production of 24,000 fish annually. About a third of the fish –8,000 – will be used to feed the children at the orphanage, with the other two-thirds being sold at local markets to raise operating funds for Kabwata towards its goal of reaching self-sufficiency.

She has also already established a relationship with various shops that sell farm produce every day and they will be able to get from the project.

Initially, a group of six people will be necessary to operate the fish farm, as well as a farm manager with experience in fish farming and a supervisor with knowledge of water reticulation.

In requesting grant funding to dig the ponds, Angela comments that Kabwata has been a partner with Bread and Water for Africa® since inception.

“Today we look back at the many achievements and we are amazed at what faithfulness can be when two partners come together for the assistance of vulnerable people,” she said.

“We are aware, that with time, the project will need to stand on its own for its continuity. The time is getting close and indeed we are getting ready to be weaned.

“Words will never be enough to pay our gratitude to the entire team of Bread and Water for Africa®. Children in the project have made higher than they ever expected. They are a testimony of what love can do.

“Thank you Bread and Water for Africa®. We will never disappoint you.”

In Zambia, fresh, clean water is a precious commodity.

And not only is ensuring there is enough safe water for people to drink and for domestic and hygiene purposes difficult enough, it is even harder to create available water resources to adequately irrigate crops.

That is why in October, 2014, Bread and Water for Africa® awarded a $20,000 grant to our partner there – Kabwata Orphanage & Transit Centre – for a water well for its gardens.

Kabwata founder and executive director Angela Miyanda reported in December that the crops have been planted and a reservoir has been constructed to make sure there will be a steady supply of water. The reservoir will ensure that those crops not only survive, but thrive, during their two-month growing period.

“With the reservoir in place, the project will manage to get enough clients that will support the project,” Mrs. Miyanda told us.

“Water is being shared amongst so many residents,” she added. “The area where the project is situated is a farming one and many people have shifted here. After having three wells in place, water was still not adequate for the project. The project has since set up the water reservoir for storage for irrigation.”

The wells, reservoir and irrigation project have paid off in multiple ways.

“Older children have been participating in the daily works around the farm project,” Mrs. Miyanda said. “This opportunity is used as a practical lesson for them to appreciate and learn a skill which may be an advantage to their future. It has inspired and motivated many people who are willing to assist in their own ways. Over the last two years, the program has proven to be a steady source of income. Proceeds made from the sale of garden crops have either been used to sustain and develop the project and/or to assist individuals as reasonable need arises.”

Local communities have been integrated in the program by empowering them with a sense of community participation. Instead of expecting only to receive benefits from the project, they now offer their services willingly to aid in the growth and sustenance of the project. The biggest strength has been the formal training of two staff members for the project. Irrigation and plant maintenance have been formally organized and are being implemented by Kabwata’s own staff.

Despite the success, Mrs. Miyanda is realistic that it is still going to take some time before the garden project can be completely self-sustaining.

“In order to take the project further, we may encounter some challenges which may need your support,” she said. “However, our intention is to have the project stand on its own.”

And thanks to supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® like you, she is well on her way to realizing that goal.

Merry Christmas from the Lewa Children's Home

Together We Helped Make a New Life for Hundreds of Orphaned and Abandoned Children During Our 2014 Fiscal Year. 

  • Please Give Today!107 orphaned and abandoned children lived in the Lewa Children’s Home where they received food, healthcare, an education, and a loving place to call home. (Kenya)
  • 74 orphaned and abandoned children have a place to call home where all their basic needs were met, giving them hope for a healthy future. (Zambia)
  • 400 children, most born with HIV, benefited from an orphan feeding program operated by Shinga Development Trust. (Zimbabwe)

Thanks to your generous support in the past, we have accomplished so much for the children of Africa, but the need to ensure our programs continue in the new year is still great.  

Please make your year-end tax-deductible gift for the hundreds of orphans we already help, and for those still in need.

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day from Bread and Water for AfricaApril 22 is Earth Day, an occasion that marks the global concern for the environment. The connection to the land is particularly strong in Africa, where so many of the population are directly involved in agriculture.

Bread and Water for Africa® recognizes the important role that the environment plays for our partners, many of whom incorporate sustainable farming programs as part of their missions.

These programs supply food directly to the program and generate income through selling the excess. The Baraka Farm in Eldoret, Kenya provides a sustainable source of dairy, meat, grain, and produce for the Lewa Children’s Home. The Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre in Zambia grows bananas for produce and funds. In addition the Faith Healing Development Organization in Sierra Leone organizes farmers to grow their food.

There are many ways to support the efforts of Bread and Water for Africa®. While donations are an immediate way to affect change in our partners’ programs, even steps in recycling and reducing pollution affect the communities we support in the long run.

Thank you again for helping Africa and her children!

Recent surveys indicate that 1.7 million (out of a total population 10.5 million) of Zambians are infected with HIV.  Among the younger generation the proportion is even higher; 16.5% of adults ages 15-49 are infected.  AIDS has halved Zambian life expectancy to a mere 33 years. Poverty and hunger continue to be as persistent and pernicious as the AIDS epidemic in depriving Zambia of its young, productive generations, further perpetuating the vicious cycle that hinders development within the country.  

Together with the Kabwata Transit Centre in Lusaka, Bread and Water for Africa UK, is helping to tackle and prevent some of the problems associated with HIV. We provide care and education to those children who have lost their parents to AIDS.  This programs has expanded to include a small-scale farm and medical outreach. The farm provides fresh foods like maize, potatoes, and beans for the children and has created jobs in the local rural community. As a consequence, the farm has also opened the door for the center’s staff and volunteers to expand their AIDS education and outreach programs into the surrounding rural communities.  

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