Seed Programs International

Community women at grain distribution

Community women at grain distribution

Hi folks!

In our last report, we shared some context for the communities that our lead partner, GrowEastAfrica, is working with on the ground in Ethiopia. Positioned at something of a crossroads for Kenyan - Ethiopian IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons), GrowEastAfrica is constantly adapting their program to accommodate the shifting political climate and resulting change in their communities. We recently had the privilege of catching up with co-founder Yohannes Chonde about what’s happened since the spring, and his vision for the future.

We’re sad to report that not everything has worked in their favor. First, hostilities in the area continue to prevent farmers from planting, tending, and harvesting their crops. (You can read more about this here and here.) Farmers’ lives and property are in real danger, and they avoid the conflict as a matter of survival. However, in avoiding conflict, farmers lose time that they need to spend plowing and sowing, and what they do sow is often looted or burned. The next few months will be very challenging for the farmers and those who depend on those crops for food. In response, GrowEastAfrica is leading an effort to provide two months of grain rations for their IDP communities, and a small amount of cash for essential needs like medicine and housing. These communities don’t receive much assistance from the Ethiopian Federal Government or other humanitarian organizations like the Ethiopian Red Cross, so most of the support is coming directly from Burji District residents, who are very poor themselves.


With your generous support, SPI's Liberian partners positioned their powerful gardening programs as a tool to move beyond Ebola. Now they, and we, look ahead at new ways to use the gains of strong local leadership, vibrant networks, and capable families that were developed in response to the crisis. 

One great example is an upcoming National Agricultural Camp and Agricultural Fair to be held this July by 4H Liberia. 

Our partner Umaru, 4H Director, explains it this way:

"The theme for this year is Grow Liberia- Promote Youth in Agriculture and the objectives are:

  • Help young people see agriculture as a profitable business and viable livelihood by removing the stereotype that agriculture is a poor person’s job.
  • Train young men and women in improved agricultural science and techniques that they will use to impact other youth, parents, and community leaders
  • Allow students to share ideas through communication and leadership training.

The participating schools are from Bong, Lofa, Montserrado, Bomi, Gbarpolu, and Margibi counties. A total of 126 participants will be invited to the camp, including 100 youth ranging in age from 15-22 years, and 26 adults.  75% of the crops that will be showcased at the agriculture fair are seeds from the SPI and seeds for garden practices at the camp will be SPI seeds. Thank you for your support to 4-H Liberia."

What a wonderful example of how your donations not only fed families when no other options were available, but also give ongoing hope for a more resilient future led by a new generation. Thank you!

Going forward, we'll keep working in Liberia to sustain our partner network. Our vision is to have capable trainers in the form of leader farmers embedded in each community, while key organizations continue to provide specialized knowledge and tools for vegetable growing. Our further vision is that Liberia continue to move toward seed self-sufficiency so that SPI seed does not have to be sent across the ocean. This is easier to achieve for staple crops like maize and beans than it is for vegetables. Yet it is possible with a combination of seed saving and continued development of local and regional seed enterprises.

Watch for a new Liberia project here at GlobalGiving in the future. Until then, I hope you'll stay in touch. Contact me any time if you want to know more about what SPI and our partners are up to in Liberia and beyond. 

carrying vegetables

Faces of Liberia's Future

Faces of Liberia's Future

Smiling with Pop Atz

Smiling with Pop Atz'iaq

Hi folks,

Naima Dido, our Program Director, is currently on the road with Nancee Neel in the mountains of Guatemala where they’re working to grow a deeper partnership with a relatively new partner, Pop Atz’iaq.

An SPI neighbor, Nancee Neel, had served as an advisor and friend of the organization before she introduced us to their work. Established in the 1990s, Pop Atz’iaq has focused on craft-based livelihood development with women and men in the region around San Cristobal, and they have a strong track record of success. Catarina, the organization’s Director, reports that establishing a garden-based livelihood program has been a longstanding goal of the organization and its members.

For context, craft-based livelihoods depend on international market outlets, and those can be fickle. Garden-based livelihoods are more reliable, and this program will help diversify their members’ options for income. Catarina reports that social and economic conditions are deteriorating this decade, due in large part to the lack of rural development support from the government. Child malnutrition rates have risen to 80% in most of the communities served.

LFBS farmers with SPI seed (Estelle is left)

LFBS farmers with SPI seed (Estelle is left)

The road to reviving gardens after Hurricane Matthew has been a long road, and we’re working with partners who are in it for the long haul. Little Footprints, Big Steps (LFBS) is one of those partners. They’ve recently shared an update about how they’re working to support communities affected by Hurricane Matthew, providing a snapshot of where gardens fit into the larger picture of recovery and rebuilding. We’re sharing this with you because we’re proud of their work, and we think it’s a great example of how many different pieces need to come together for folks to rebuild their livelihoods.

“Since Hurricane Matthew we have been able to build Maxima prefabricated homes for over 21 families! Homes built or repaired, crops planted, medical outreach clinics regularly underway, children attending schools, parents starting businesses, and the addition of livestock – the recovery and rebuilding of the families in rural communities, whose lives were shattered by the October 2016 Category 5 hurricane, continues in great strides through the dedicated LFBS staff, collaborative partnerships… and your support.

Contact Us

Seed Programs International

PO Box 9163
Asheville, NC 28815


Seed Programs Canada (Affiliate)

Registered Charity No. 839858107RR0001
Lombardy, ON

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Seed Programs International (SPI)

Seed Programs InternationalSeed Programs International (SPI) is a non-profit, tax exempt, non-governmental humanitarian organization.

We work thorough other humanitarian organizations, church groups, service clubs and individual donors, to provide quality seed to impoverished communities in developing countries enabling them to grow some of their own food. In addition to seed, SPI provides critical seed expertise and experience operating seed based self help programs.”

SPI is operated by individuals with over 50 years seed industry experience plus over 20 years experience in vegetable research and production. We also have 15 years experience operating programs that have successfully shipped seed to over 70 countries on five continents. SPI has shipped enough seed to plant over 1,000,000 vegetable gardens, providing more than 20 kinds of vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals often missing in people’s diets.