Updates

Seed Programs International

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.

liberia

With your generous support, SPI's Liberian partners positioned their powerful gardening programs as a tool to move beyond Ebola. Now they, and we, look ahead at new ways to use the gains of strong local leadership, vibrant networks, and capable families that were developed in response to the crisis. 

One great example is an upcoming National Agricultural Camp and Agricultural Fair to be held this July by 4H Liberia. 

Our partner Umaru, 4H Director, explains it this way:

"The theme for this year is Grow Liberia- Promote Youth in Agriculture and the objectives are:

  • Help young people see agriculture as a profitable business and viable livelihood by removing the stereotype that agriculture is a poor person’s job.
  • Train young men and women in improved agricultural science and techniques that they will use to impact other youth, parents, and community leaders
  • Allow students to share ideas through communication and leadership training.

The participating schools are from Bong, Lofa, Montserrado, Bomi, Gbarpolu, and Margibi counties. A total of 126 participants will be invited to the camp, including 100 youth ranging in age from 15-22 years, and 26 adults.  75% of the crops that will be showcased at the agriculture fair are seeds from the SPI and seeds for garden practices at the camp will be SPI seeds. Thank you for your support to 4-H Liberia."

What a wonderful example of how your donations not only fed families when no other options were available, but also give ongoing hope for a more resilient future led by a new generation. Thank you!

Going forward, we'll keep working in Liberia to sustain our partner network. Our vision is to have capable trainers in the form of leader farmers embedded in each community, while key organizations continue to provide specialized knowledge and tools for vegetable growing. Our further vision is that Liberia continue to move toward seed self-sufficiency so that SPI seed does not have to be sent across the ocean. This is easier to achieve for staple crops like maize and beans than it is for vegetables. Yet it is possible with a combination of seed saving and continued development of local and regional seed enterprises.

Watch for a new Liberia project here at GlobalGiving in the future. Until then, I hope you'll stay in touch. Contact me any time if you want to know more about what SPI and our partners are up to in Liberia and beyond. 

carrying vegetables

Faces of Liberia's Future

Faces of Liberia's Future

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.