Seed Programs International

SSNK extension officers at a farm training

SSNK extension officers at a farm training

Hi everyone,

This report comes from Seed Savers Network Kenya (SSNK), a grassroots NGO headquartered southeast of Nakuru in Gilgil who works with resource-poor farmers to promote sustainable rural livelihoods. We introduced them as a project partner about one year ago — you might remember reading about the challenges Esther & Ms. Mary faced as a result of drought in the region. In the last report on SSNK, we focused on their women’s group program, though they work with many different communities to provide access to agricultural training, good vegetable seed, tools, and other resources. We recently connected with Daniel Wanjama, SSNK’s Founder and Director, who told us about some of the work he’s been doing with the Gilgil Disabled School and other gardeners in the area.

The Gilgil Disabled School cares for children who require a closely-monitored diet to help manage the effects of brain disorders. Nutrition from vegetables and fruits plays an important part in that diet. However, vegetables from the market are expensive. Miss Otieno, the school’s Diet Manager, could only afford to include a few of the necessary vegetables from the school’s menu. That’s where SSNK came in.

Aissata Camara, Twitter Aug 8 2018

We wouldn’t be here without the inspirational work of leaders around the world who multiply manyfold our investment in their efforts. In honor of SPI’s 20th anniversary, we’ll be celebrating these leaders throughout the next year. Today, we're celebrating Aissata Camara, Co-founder of There Is No Limit Foundation.

Aissata's motto is “Empowered women empower other women." She lives her motto through her dedication to ending poverty, inequality, and injustices like female genital cutting (FGM/C) and other forms of gender based violence (GBV). This is not always easy, especially in places where these practices are deeply entrenched in a community's social fabric. It takes tremendous courage to stand against cultural practices that have been passed from generation to generation for thousands of years.

From the start, Aissata’s work challenged these traditions. Despite receiving threats against herself and her family, she continued building relationships within her community that would support change. She soon developed a reputation for connecting people with the resources they need to gain security and dignity in their lives. Today, many who once perceived her as an enemy are her partners and allies in ending injustice and poverty.

SPI’s partnership with Aissata is part of her, and our, investment in this community. Not only are vegetable seeds and gardens an especially powerful resource for nutrition and economic empowerment, but our work together builds trust that can lead to safe spaces for dialogue and social change.

On a recent trip to her native home in Guinea, Aissata visited the town of Walto, where she and her team worked with youth to create theater pieces and poems on the impact of FGM and GBV. Aissata shares, “I’m proud that change is coming! The communities served by There Is No Limit Foundation are working to change social norms. That’s why I believe in breaking the silence. We’re changing lives.”

Learn more about There Is No Limit Foundation  →

Read more about Aissata Camara  →

Visit Aissata Camara on Twitter  →

The Vision for Haiti Team

The Vision for Haiti Team

Hi folks,

We’re excited to tell you about a new partner in Haiti who is taking a different approach to improving the quality of life for Haitians in rural areas. Vision for Haiti is a US-based nonprofit organization that has been responding to emergencies and ongoing need in Haiti since 2010. Recently, Naima had the opportunity to speak with Beatrice Marseille, a nurse practitioner who founded Vision for Haiti and developed an innovative approach to community health.

Vision for Haiti operates a healthcare clinic in Meyer, a town two hours southwest from Port-au-Prince. In addition to general care, the clinic specializes in women’s health and diet-related health problems. A majority of their patients are women who are seeking healthcare services for themselves or their children, although men are also welcome and receive services. High blood pressure, diabetes, and other nutrition and diet-related health problems are some of the most common issues within the community — the causes of which can be addressed by accessing nutrient-dense foods like vegetables.

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.

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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.