Updates

Seed Programs International

Francis Transplanting Cabbage

Francis Transplanting Cabbage

Hello, project supporters!

We’d like to share some news about the future of this project, but first we’d like to introduce you to Francis, our on-the-ground coordinator for the SPI Liberia Partnership Network. We initially contracted with Francis earlier this year to help with data collection. Since then, he’s established himself as an essential coordinator for SPI and our partners in Liberia. Not only has Francis taken the lead in coordinating with SPI, he’s started his own CBO whose mission focuses on agriculture and education. Francis writes:

“I am a student of agriculture with a strong passion to engage youth and women in agribusiness that improves nutrition and strengthens livelihoods through garden activity in my community. I also have keen interest in the development and well-being of children. From this background, I thought it wise to formulate a Community Based Organization (CBO) named Network Innovation for Children's Endeavor (NICE) Liberia, which will subsequently be transformed into a Non Governmental Organization that provides humanitarian services across Liberia. Mainly, it will focus on agriculture to empower women and youth, and education for children that promotes their holistic development.

Through my network with Naima from SPI, I received some agriculture donations to enable my garden work with fellow community dwellers. With this support from SPI, I mobilized a group of ten youth — three women and seven men who are college, junior and senior high school students — to cultivate vegetables. Vegetable sales will provide a means of financial empowerment to enable each person to purchase school supplies for the next academic year.”

We’re currently in discussion with Francis about the future of NICE and what role SPI might have in supporting the organization. We’ll tell you more as this partnership develops!

Rounding the Corner

After working alongside our partners for more than a year, it’s time to round a corner. Working with Francis had made it clear that our partners’ focus has shifted from rebuilding to thriving. Like Francis, many of our partners have expanded their original capacity to include providing support to surrounding communities in addition to their own.

We’ve been asking partners to assess how SPI might best support their communities’ development, or if the support is even needed at all. We’re working with Francis and our partners to answer that question, and once that direction is determined, we’ll update this project to reflect the new direction that our partners have asked us to follow.

Thank you for your continued support throughout this project. We’re really happy with the direction that this project has taken and hope you’ll continue to support these communities in their new endeavors!

Francis with an SPI Partner

Francis with an SPI Partner

Women with NICE Liberia

Women with NICE Liberia

Francis and Men with NICE Liberia

Francis and Men with NICE Liberia
 

Women Working in the School Garden

Women Working in the School Garden

A typical woman in Liberia has a lot of work on her plate in addition to the work of managing her household. And to be clear, this is work, often unpaid and unacknowledged — gathering firewood, fetching water, cooking, hand washing clothes, and taking care of family members. Household work can be a huge burden that limits a woman’s ability to take on paid employment or broaden her skills through training and education.

In Liberia, much like many other developing countries around the world, large gender gaps impair women's ability to provide for themselves and their families. Even though the number of hungry people has declined worldwide in the last decade, it remains unacceptably high in places like Liberia. REAP is working hard to change the narrative for Bentol City.

“Women frequently achieve lower productivity than male farmers because they do not have access to the same resources. From the beginning, our goal has been to identify locally available interventions that will improve and increase the productivity of all our program participants.” — REAP founder Christine Norman

Tree Angels for Haiti with students

Tree Angels for Haiti with students

In our last report, we told you that we were in the planning phase for the SPI Haiti Partnership Network stakeholder meeting. Well, it’s been three months and we’ve had to adapt our approach to respond to the reality of the situation on the ground.

One partner writes, “The environment in many rural areas was completely destroyed - all trees and plants destroyed. They are slowly growing back and being replanted, but in the meantime there is much less shade, more scarce environment, a huge lack of food security for rural communities that live off of the land, and ridiculous inflation...of the cost of living in general.”

Another partner writes, “The community of Leogane is mainly rural and depends greatly on locally grown produce and fruits. Already hit very hard by the 2010 earthquake, and hit annually by a multitude of floods and mudslides, [those living in] Leogane...haven’t been able to get back on their feet ever since."

Farmers working with GrowEastAfrica

Farmers working with GrowEastAfrica

When we enter into a partnership, our partner’s goals become our goals. They know best what is needed for their success. We rely on their expertise to facilitate a relationship between us and their communities, and to ensure that the decision-making for our programs is directed from within those communities. GrowEastAfrica (a project of Diaspora Burji Community Organization), is an Ethiopian diaspora-led group based in the US who has been working to provide access to resources and training that strengthen the resilience of families in Southern Ethiopia. We’ve been working with them since early 2016.

Yohannes, one of GrowEastAfrica’s founders, recently wrote us about an initiative they began last year as part of our partnership:

“Time flies, it was just last year at this time...that we initiated a livelihood improvement project for the neediest rural families in the Burji District of Southern Ethiopia. [In 2016] we were able to distribute three goats per family for 15 of the neediest families and started a nutritional vegetable garden for 300 families. These initiatives have lifted these families from the darkest pit of poverty and shone a light on a path to hope. All families that received two female and one adult male goats last year have five goats now. Families that participated in the vegetable garden had an abundant harvest and they were able to sell the excess crops and put the money back into the project.”

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

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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.