Updates

Seed Programs International

4-H Club Members with SPI Seed Packets

4-H Club Members with SPI Seed Packets

Hi folks,

In the last report, we closed with a statement about the partnership program from 4-H Liberia: "This program provides a career path for young people to develop interest in feeding the nation. Access to tool banks via the partnership network is very useful. The children used to complain that their parents would refuse to let them borrow tools. Now, most of them have tools to cultivate their gardens." We recently received some photos from Umaru Sheriff, the National Executive Director for 4-H Liberia, Inc., so we thought you might like to know more about 4-H Liberia and see some of the young people participating in the program.

4-H Liberia has Enterprise School Garden programs in six of Liberia's 15 counties: Gbarpolu, Bong, Bomi, Margibi, Montserrado, and Lofa. The goal of the program is to develop the leadership, agricultural, and life skills of 4-H Club members and improve the socioeconomic conditions of members and their families. They accomplish this through inspiration, eduction, and agricultural work integration — keeping an eye out for future farmers, providing equipment, and using the school garden as a learning laboratory. The garden also helps connect the school and community: "The garden is a bridge that links the gap between community members and school authorities, promoting interaction between the school and the community." Similar to SPI programs, 4-H has designed their programs around each community's context to ensure adoption and circulation.

With about 3,000 members, just under half are girls and young women ages 8 - 25 years old. 4-H has made gender education and equity a priority in its programs, which is just one of the reasons we love what they're doing! Speaking about gender education in their programs, they share, "One of the objectives of the 4-H Program is to develop leaders. Liberia, like other African countries, is a male dominant society. In the process of developing leaders, females need to be included without being restricted to certain jobs." Their first two objectives are: For boys to see girls as partners in development; and to erase the notion that there are specific jobs for girls and others for boys. By prioritizing gender education, they are teaching both girls and boys to understand leadership and serve side by side in leadership positions.

What's next for 4-H? At the last stakeholder meeting for the Liberia SPI Partnership Netowork, 4-H Project Officer Ted Williams shared, "4-H Liberia has a vision to establish a seed bank in Liberia. This will help farmers to receive local and viable seeds on time. This could be done by empowering farmers with seeds and when the seeds are collected from the farmers, it will go directly to those that are in need." 4-H and the other Partnership Network members are looking toward the future — toward resilience and self-sufficiency. We're proud to support them along the way.

The photos in this update are from 4-H in Bomi County, Liberia. You can read more about their program at the 4-H website, and you can see a seed germination testing video that was produced as part of their work with SPI on SPI's YouTube channel.

Thank you, again, for your support of this project.

Younger 4-H Club Members with SPI Seed Packets

Younger 4-H Club Members with SPI Seed Packets

The season is underway!

The season is underway!
 

A gardener talks about issues with her harvest

A gardener talks about issues with her harvest

Hi folks,

Late in 2016, we told you about a pilot program with SPI partner GrowEastAfrica (then DBCO) to establish community vegetable gardens in Billa village and Soyama town in Ethiopia’s Burji region. (You can read the full story here.) GrowEastAfrica works to support folks who belong to marginalized communities and has embraced groups that include large numbers of internally displaced people (IDP), many of whom fled their hometown of Mega to escape conflict.

“The issues that IDPs face in this region is well known to the locals, but little assistance has been offered...and there’s very little international focus on this area.” — Wato Seif, GrowEastAfrica Officer

Despite challenges in the region including scarce access to water and land resources, the pilot groups have been successful and GrowEastAfrica (GEA) has been, well, growing over the past year and a half. GEA now supports 25 women’s groups who come together to share the wealth of knowledge from their Burji traditions and support one another in establishing new livelihoods. By adapting and applying their knowledge to their new environment, these gardeners hope to grow enough food to both feed their families and sell at market. The regional drought has made their work difficult, but they are planning innovative ways to succeed and thrive.

Funny Faces with Consider Haiti

Funny Faces with Consider Haiti

For many families in Montrouis, Haiti, access to clean water, health care, and adequate food supply are challenges that were worsened by the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Through locally organized efforts, our Asheville-based partner and neighbor, Consider Haiti has assisted families in restoring some of the gardens destroyed by the hurricane. The result: farmers are slowly reestablishing themselves and their crop production.

In 2017, Consider Haiti helped over over 2,000 children and their families gain access to medicine, dental care, and fresh produce. Consider Haiti programs involve the distribution of medicine, livestock like goats and rabbits, SPI seeds and other agricultural products to the communities they serve. One of the key elements shared by both SPI and Consider Haiti programs is that they actively support and work with local Haitian teams for project development and implementation. Consider Haiti’s agriculture team in Montrouis is led by Eddy P., a lifelong farmer who has been working with families in this region for over 15 years. Shortly after the storm, Eddy heard reports of hungry children in the local farming community and decided to step up and help. Being an illiterate self-taught farmer, he soon realized he was not equipped to provide the level of help that was needed.

Women with quinoa plants, GrowEastAfrica

Women with quinoa plants, GrowEastAfrica

Hi folks,

We opened this project by telling you about GrowEastAfrica, our partner in Ethiopia. You'll recall that they are an Ethiopian diaspora-led group based in the US. We recently had the honor of speaking with co-founder Yohannes by phone to learn about what's happening on the ground.

GrowEastAfrica Partnership Development
GrowEastAfrica is doing fantastic work toward facilitating economic empowerment for the communities they serve. Of note, they've recently helped organize two new women's groups and they're currently negotiating to secure 4 hectares of land for a community garden. In addition to growing vegetables and quinoa, the women are planning activities that can be completed between planting and harvesting seasons to generate more income. Seed saving for market sales and raising poultry are currently at the top of the list.

Assessing their immediate needs, the women have determined that water storage is their first priority. They're outlining a plan for installing 10,000 liter tanks that can be used for irrigation and other farming activities. And that's where this project comes in! We're now working with Yohannes and the women's groups on the best way to acquire, deliver, and install tanks for each group

Contact Us

Seed Programs International

PO Box 9163
Asheville, NC 28815
828-707-1640

 

Seed Programs Canada (Affiliate)

Registered Charity No. 839858107RR0001
Lombardy, ON
613-406-6100

Get Connected

Facebook  Twitter  Email

Join Our Newsletter

Signup with your email address below to receive our quarterly e-newsletter.

 

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.