At Bread and Water for Africa® we strive to help individuals struggling to support themselves and their families through subsistence farming on their small parcels of land by providing our partners in sub-Saharan Africa with funding to offer training, tools and more that will lead them on a path to self-sufficiency.
Among them is the Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone which, thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® is right now training 75 impoverished rural women and youth how to get the most produce from their tiny tracts of land.
Once they learn to grow more than they need to feed themselves and their family members – most often infants, toddlers and young children – they then receive training in basic business management enabling them to sell their surplus at local markets.
“The grant funding from Bread and Water for Africa® will serve RYDO-SL’s long-term goal by transforming the economic and social lives of the rural poor women and youth whose agricultural and business activities were affected by COVID-19 as most of the participants lost their jobs or businesses as a consequence of the pandemic and were having difficulties providing food for their families,” says program manager Joseph Kobba.
Among them are Amie John, a 20-year-old mother of two who did not complete primary school, 22-year-old Jusu Squire who had to leave school in 2017 and lives with his parents and Jeneba Ndaloi, who lives with her two children and her extended family.
Amie said before she received her training in business and management skills she was at a loss of how to best provide for her children.
“I used to select the wrong type of land for particular crops while working alongside my father and mother and we sometimes planted late, which was giving low yields,” she told us.
“Today, I am proud to have a farm which can help me support my two children. I am so grateful to Bread and Water for Africa® and RYDO-SL for the training, support and tools I received for my farming. It has helped me to cultivate three acres of cassava and rice (both food staples of Sierra Leone) to feed my family and sell the surplus in the market so food can be available at home all the time.”
And, over time, Amie says her impressive harvests “will allow me to cultivate more land next year and empower me to be economically self-sufficient.”
Jusu, who had been identified by RYDO-SL staff as a vulnerable youth who they knew to be hardworking but was struggling to provide for himself and his parents planting crops which did not yield nearly to their potential.
“The training I went through to teach me how to better manage both the agricultural and business aspects of my farm has earned me more income,” he told us. “With significant yield increases, my life has been improved.
“I am so grateful to Bread and Water for Africa® for the training and support I received for my farming,” he added, noting that previously to earn money “I used to burn charcoal for the blacksmith and blow the bellows for him.”
Jeneba is one of four wives who are each responsible for cultivating land owned by her husband who plants cassava and groundnuts (peanuts).
“A part of what I produce is for home consumption,” she told us, “but the majority is sold to take care of health and school fees for my children.”
Jeneba reported that following the training, “my income has increased and I am allowed to save money.
“I am so grateful to Bread and Water for Africa® for the training and support I received for my farming.”
Joseph also commented on the success of the partnership with Bread and Water for Africa® in the COVID-19 Relief Program that for Amie, Jusu, Jeneba and more than 70 others benefiting from the program this year that “their success and improved economic situation has not gone unnoticed by other community members.”
And with the help of the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® we are hopeful that there will be many more just like them to lead the way in years to come.