Updates

Seed Programs International

Transplanting seedlings at Burji

Transplanting seedlings at Burji

Hi folks,

Since our last report, Yohannes and GrowEastAfrica have been laying out the next steps to meet their communities’ greatest needs. Water access understandably continues to be a top priority. Water is scarce in Ethiopia, and water access is critical for everyone — not just farmers. Community leaders are working with GrowEastAfrica toward an exit strategy, toward a time when each community will be self-sustaining and able to weather new challenges.

“What is our long term? To stay with a given community for 3-5 years, then move to another community. We’ve been in Burji working with these IDP families for three years. Southern Ethiopia is a drought-sensitive area. Water is always a challenge, even now. On the land we have, we are lucky because there is a well. As we try to expand, that is the main limiting factor.” — Yohannes Chonde, GEA Co-founder

In addition to your support, we’ve received a generous grant from GlobalGiving to help address drought and famine in East Africa. As part of that grant, we’re taking Yohannes’ lead in how to best use those funds for water access. He’s outlined several possibilities, including digging new wells and piping water to different areas within each community. Currently, rainwater is being caught from roofs and stored, which works when there is rain to catch. However, relying on the weather can hinder crop expansion when the rainy season ends. While wells are a longer-term solution, they are cash-intensive. GrowEastAfrica is trying to balance access for multiple communities with affordability in an area where digging a well can be quite expensive.

Arriving for the commercial farm demonstration

Arriving for the commercial farm demonstration

Hi folks,

Today’s project update comes from GrowEastAfrica, an SPI partner who works with IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) families in Soyama, Ethiopia. If their name sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve been working with them since 2016 back when they were DBCO, and we’ve shared some of their story before.

“GrowEastAfrica’s agricultural projects work with vulnerable farmers, many of whom are women, by training them in improved practical agricultural methods, helping them access quality agricultural inputs and technology, and linking them to viable markets. Such efforts help farmers grow more food for themselves or to sell. In doing so, farmers are able to prevent hunger, preserve land for future use, and obtain long lasting food security.” — Yohannes Chonde

GrowEastAfrica’s co-founder, Yohannes Chonde, has adapted their programs over the years to meet the most urgent needs of the families they serve. They not only provide a short-term solution for folks who are fleeing their homes and establishing new lives, but they are moving toward long-term solutions that enroll and integrate local communities in ways that benefit both groups.

Second place winners at the agricultural fair

Second place winners at the agricultural fair

Hi folks,

4-H Liberia is a long-term SPI partner who has been accomplishing good work with students through school gardens for years. Their school-based clubs have reached over 4,000 young people over six counties, serving students between the ages of 13 and 25. 4-H Liberia’s garden programs empower young people to become self-sufficient citizens by developing their potential in premier leadership, agricultural sustainability, and essential life skills.

Each school club maintains their own garden, which serves as a platform for learning agriculture. These school gardens are a way to:

  • Equip students to become competent and self-sufficient in food production
  • Scout out future farmers
  • Inspire students to become productive citizens
  • Enhance students’ potential in premier leadership

As part of their support for youth development, 4-H Liberia has integrated a commitment to gender equity into their programs — almost half of their members are young women, many of whom are in leadership positions alongside their male peers. Their staff and students understand better than anybody that the empowerment of women and girls in Liberia is not where it should be in this day and age. They see it in their homes and communities, much like many other places around the world. 4-H Liberia Executive Director Umaru Sheriff repeatedly shares his mantra with his staff and students, “when you enable a girl or a woman to be in charge of her future and livelihood, you become part of the change and development of communities, and it makes waves of positive changes that raise everyone, including boys and men.” This is only one of the reasons we’re proud to be in partnership with 4-H Liberia!

Fate harvesting corn in a Grow East Africa field.

Fate harvesting corn in a Grow East Africa field.

Hi folks,

We're happy to open this project on a bright note by featuring the continued work of Grow East Africa, our local partner in Ethiopia. One purpose of this project is to increase long-term resilience to climate change, social crisis, and political crisis for communities most vulnerable to upheaval. Grow East Africa is doing just that!

Grow East Africa is an Ethiopian-American led organization working with about 1,000 families at a crossroads for Kenyan - Ethiopian IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons). Co-Founder Yohannes Chonde understands the families' journey, the experience of displacement, and what they need to be successful because may of the families come from his ancestral home, Burji District.

We recently heard from Wato Seif, a Grow East Africa Officer, who shared what it was like to be displaced:

“Not many years have passed since we became internally displaced, leaving our homes and properties, and escaping with just the shirts on our backs and the few belongings we were able to carry. Upon arrival, we found ourselves in the midst of a different culture, a foreign language, and hardships from lack of shelter and ownership of land necessary for an agrarian society.”

Contact Us

Seed Programs International

PO Box 9163
Asheville, NC 28815
+1-828-337-8632

 

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.