What started as an idea at an UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) conference in 1969, became what we know today, Thursday, April 22, as Earth Day, is now observed — 51 years following the very first celebration in 1970 — in nearly 200 countries around world by more than 1 billion people.

EARTHDAY.ORG will feature workshops, panel discussions, and special performances that will focus on the theme of Restore Our Earth™ and ways of innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems including regenerative agriculture – a holistic land management practice which improves soil health.

At Bread and Water for Africa®, our partners in the agricultural field, such as Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL), are not massive farming operations with hundreds or thousands of acres, but grassroots organizationsfocused on helping small scale farmers get the most productivity as they can from their small tracts of land using ecologically sustainable methods.

Among them is Mamie, who through the Bread and Water for Africa® COVID-19 Relief Fund, received agricultural training, gardening tools and vegetable seeds to start gardening in an environmentally- sensitive manner to produce food for her family and sell the surplus at the local market.

“According to Mamie, as much as this project has contributed a lot in diversifying her household’s diet, it has also contributed in empowering her as a woman,” reported RYDO-SL program manager Joseph Ngoniyela Kobba.

Mamie described herself as “just a housewife” with her husband being the family’s sole provider until she received the training from RYDO-SL through the Bread and Water for Africa® COVID-19 Relief Fund.

“We had been encountering difficulties for food and to attend to other financial commitments of the family just relying on his salary,” Mamie told us. “With this project, lots has changed in my home.

“Now I am engaged in incomegeneration (vegetable cultivation) and with the proceeds from sales of some of my produce I can now contribute financially to the running of the household.

“With the income I make, I now have a voice in deciding what we do with the money and that makes me feel empowered,” she says proudly.

And on this Earth Day 2021, we are sure that Mamie will be out in her garden working certain in the knowledge that through sustainable gardening she is today an equal partner “and not just dependent on my husband” as together they lead a more self-sufficient lifestyle