Updates

Seed Programs International

October 2017 Stakeholder Meeting Participants
October 2017 Stakeholder Meeting Participants

Hi folks,

So much has happened since the last report! As we shared earlier, our focus, as directed by our partners, has shifted toward facilitating an exit strategy that relies upon the collective strengths of our partners and their network. As their strategies have become more sophisticated and their capacity has expanded, we've asked them to help us understand where the network is headed next.

Third Stakeholder Meeting

Late in October, the partnership network organized a stakeholder meeting in Breweville City, Montserrado County, Liberia. During the meeting, they developed an action plan based on their pool of peer resources — the skills, tools, and supplies available to them. We’re working closely with our ground coordinator, Francis Bendoe, and our partners to ensure that everyone is represented in the plan and that there is support as the network becomes more self-sufficient.

24 participants attended the meeting to represent their organizations, including:

  • Church Aid Liberia
  • Green Cost Agriculture Program (GCAP)
  • Jacob F. Tomei Enterprise Center (JFTEC)
  • Liberia Animal Welfare & Conservation Society
  • 4-H Liberia
  • Restoration of Education Advancement Programs (REAP)
  • Network Innovation for Children’s Endeavor (NICE)
  • Food Bank Liberia
  • Restoring Our Children’s Hope
  • Other local and community-based organizations
  • Journalists, local farmers, and religious leaders

Related themes that partners reported emerging from the meeting included:

  • Seed is life.
  • Seed is wealth.
  • Invest seed into the soil for development. (This is a focus on seed as a resource for long-term nutrition and economic development in addition to food production for immediate consumption.)
  • Sow seed today for a better tomorrow.

We're also excited to report that 75,000 packets of SPI seed arrived in Liberia in time for this gathering. For this, our gratitude goes out to you for your support of this project, and to GlobalGiving for their generous support of this Ebola recovery project. This seed was highly anticipated, and was distributed among the partners according to the partnership plan that was created at an earlier meeting. Here's what some of our partners had to say:

Let our goal be to reach to the unreachable with SPI seeds that are helping us to fight diseases, hunger, and poverty in Liberia, which are our greatest enemies.  — Bishop Kortu K. Brown of Church Aid Liberia

Because of the support from SPI seeds, more vegetables were available in Bentol City market. This encouraged growers to eat more vegetables, which improved their nutrition, and livelihoods improved from income they earned. I’m very glad to receive SPI seeds and I pledge my commitment to ensure that these seeds will reach the people who will benefit most. I encourage close collaboration among us SPI Liberia Network Partners to support each other in our areas of expertise.  — Mayor Christine Tolbert Norman of Restoring of REAP

From Recovery to Resilience

Besides seed distribution and discussion about different aspects of self-sufficiency, Church Aid Liberia conducted a training on entrepreneurial skills for farmers. Farmers learned how to plant a commercial garden, including methods for estimating what income they can expect from the harvest.

Asked to assess the benefit of the partnership program, 4-H Liberia shared: 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.

These trainings, themes, and participant statements are all indications that our partners have grown from recovery toward self-sufficiency and resilience. Our SPI team could not provide support for our partners without your support. We’re humbled and grateful for your support and the work of our partners.

Thank you.

Miatta giving remarks (Church Aid Liberia)

Miatta giving remarks (Church Aid Liberia)

Mayor Christine giving remarks (REAP)

Mayor Christine giving remarks (REAP)

Jacob collects his SPI seed packets (JFTEC)

Jacob collects his SPI seed packets (JFTEC)
 

Eggplant harvest

Eggplant harvest

Nathan Rwabulemba, Executive director of our Uganda partner organization TAPA says the possibility of creating a prosperous community with improved standards of living is his inspiration. Below is a recent report summary shared by Nathan.

“TAPA has supported individual women and women’s groups in economic strengthening since the inception of the organisation.  We reach women through mobilization and organising group formation of Village saving and Loaning associations (VS&LA), supporting women with domestic animals for income generation, supporting backyard gardens and small farms run by women. Our main goal is to improve the nutrition of children and other family members,  women empowerments on their rights to reduce gender-based violence. Most of these women are caretakers of HIV/AIDS orphans that have been denied and ostracised by their communities. These women are all recipients of SPI seeds. The seeds and the Training provided by TAPA Agronomists has improved many lives and livelihoods.

St. Barnabas: Pulling bok choy for the market.

St. Barnabas: Pulling bok choy for the market.

Hello friends!

It’s hard to believe that three months have already passed. And what a three months! 20,000 packets of seed arrived in August just in time to reach storage in Port-au-Prince before Hurricane Irma made its way through the Caribbean. Even though Haiti was spared a direct hit, the high winds and heavy rains were hard on farmers who had just begun to recover from Hurricane Matthew.

As our partners are regrouping, our agronomist, Stephany, has been coordinating with partners on the ground to deliver seed and learn more about who they are and the communities they work with. As of today, half of the seed — 10,000 packets — has been distributed! 2,000 packets have reached each of five partners, so we’d like to tell you a little about them.

Esther standing on her drought-cracked land.

Esther standing on her drought-cracked land.

Two Stories: Esther & Ms. Mary

Esther is a farmer from Makongo village and a member of the Makongo Farmers Network in south-central Kenya, where she owns ½ acre of land. As a single mother, Esther began farming her land to support eight children, five of whom are in school.

Ms. Mary is a farmer in the Kasambara-Gilgil region of Kenya. Working as a shop attendant, she had always dreamed of becoming a full-time farmer. Mary eventually bought a small piece of land with her earnings and left her job to pursue her dream.

Both women began farming a traditional crop — maize, also known as corn. They prepared the land, planted seeds, tended the seedlings into plants, harvested the matured maize, and then brought their crops to market. After adding everything up, Esther and Mary each discovered that the cost for growing maize was more than they could sell it for at market.

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.