At Bread and Water for Africa®, we have been promoting foodself–sustainability in Africa for over two decades. The COVID-19 era has increased the need more than ever.
The COVID-19 outbreak in Zambia is having a devastating impact on the economy of the country, and on our longtime partner there, the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre.
Due to rampant inflation, the prices of staple foods increasesignificantly pretty much with each passing day, reports Kabwata founder and director Angela Miyanda.
“Prices of essential foods have gone up greatly,” says Angela who is struggling to keep those 32 girls and 18 boys currently living at Kabwata under her care fed, and additional 23 children living with extended family and foster care arrangements
“From the time of the infection in Zambia, the economy has not done well, leading to major problems for many families and charitable organizations. Some charities have since closed down for not have the vision of sustaining the program beyond donor funding.”
But Angela does have that vision.
Over the years, thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, we have been able to support projects leading to self-sufficiency, such as a fish farming project which provides fish for the children as well as generates income for the orphanage, as well as a banana plantation.
Now, Angela has another vision in mind, made particularly necessary at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic, to construct an 80mx40m greenhouse to grow crops including tomatoes, cabbages, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, onions, cucumbers and what she calls “local vegetables.”
In addition to the greenhouse, she is hoping to construct a chicken coop that will provide eggs for the children and for sale at the local market.
“The intention of having the greenhouse is to grow crops for long-term sustainability, and that will be beneficial to the children,” she explained. “This will help us to reserve funding for other needs such as education and healthcare.”
Angela has already drawn up plans for the proposed greenhouse including a budget of just under $10,000 for the aluminum structure, polythene for covering, sprinklers and accessories, and construction costs.
All she needs now is the funding to build it.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought sudden changes in the lifestyle of Zambia,” says Angela. “With the prices of essential commodities having gone up so much it has become hard for the orphanage to be buying these commodities for the children.
“It has always been the intention of the project to stand alone to avoid being dependent on donor support. We still believe to achieve this one day.
“Thank you, supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®
Although the global coronavirus outbreak has not struck Sub-Saharan African countries like Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe as hard as the United States and Europe, the impact is still being felt.
In Zimbabwe, Margaret Makambira, founder and director of the Lerato Children’s Village, struggles to feed the orphaned children in her care because of the country’s rampant inflation where prices for basic necessities including food continue to rise.
In Sierra Leone, with a population of nearly 8 million, there have only been 1,327 confirmed cases of coronavirus and a total of 55 deaths. That is no doubt due to the country’s experience in combating the deadly Ebola virus outbreak which devastated the country in 2014, along with the government’s quick action in calling for a state of emergency a week before the first case of COVID-19 was even confirmed.
As The New York Times noted, however, “This is not to say that Sierra Leone is certain to win the fight against the coronavirus,” pointing out that the government has acknowledged serious challenges, and that “the health system remains comparatively weak.”
According to the BBC, Zimbabwe has confirmed nearly 500 cases and just four deaths (but the actual number of cases is thought to be higher) as of June 20, but hunger is the primary concern for millions of Zimbabweans at the moment.
“Many people, including myself, are more afraid of hunger than the virus,” a vendor whose stall was closed by the government shutdown in the country told CNN. “Hunger is more lethal than the virus we cannot see.”
At Bread and Water for Africa®, we are thankful for our supporters, especially during this time. Because of them, thousands in Sierra Leone have food, and the children at the Lerato Children’s Village are able to go to bed each night with a full bellies.
Among our newest partners is the Rural Youth Development Organization Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL) which has been serving impoverished communities in the Bumpe Ngao Chiefdom of the Bo District in the country, including operating a health clinic and pharmacy in the village of Mokoba where medical care is drastically needed.
This spring, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, RYDO-SL program manager Joseph Ngoniyela Kobba contacted us with a request for face masks to protect staff and patients at the clinic, as well as for those in the local communities RYDO-SL serves.
However, instead of simply providing RYDO-SL with thousands of single-use face masks which would be discarded, we decided to go one better.
Thanks to our supporters, we were able to provide grant funding to RYDO-SL to purchase enough fabric and sewing machines to enable local tailors to generate income for themselves by making the 3,000 face masks to be distributed to RYDO-SL medical staff and vulnerable members of the community.
Nurse Koroma is pictured second from left in the pink and white dress.
Elizabeth Koroma is among those selfless and dedicated healthcare workers around the world fighting the coronavirus who surely deserve the title of “hero.”
Elizabeth was not only a nurse providing care to patients at the Rokel Clinic in Sierra Leone operated by our longtime partner there, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO), for many years but the head of the maternal and child aid nurses at the clinic.
She survived the deadly Ebola virus outbreak which struck the country in 2014 killing thousands while risking her life treating her fellow citizens, but tragically she did not survive the COVID-19 pandemic, FHDO Executive Director Rev. Francis Mambu sadly reported recently.
“She was a very hardworking woman at the clinic and up to the time of her death was working directly under the clinic supervisor preparing monthly reports of the clinic activities,” Rev. Mambu told us.
She fell ill after she contacted coronavirus from a patient and her symptoms became more severe in a matter of a few days.
When she began having trouble breathing, she was transferred to a hospital for more intensive care than she could receive at the rural clinic, succumbing to the illness within a week of first exhibiting symptoms at age 59 leaving behind her husband and a child.
Her swab results confirmed that she was among the 1,427 confirmed coronavirus cases, and 60 deaths reported in the country as of June 29.
At Bread and Water for Africa®, thanks to our supporters, we have long been able to provide financial resources and medicines and medical equipment and supplies to the clinic, along with several other clinics and hospitals in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Kenya.
And it is with our heartfelt sadness that we report the death of Nurse Elizabeth who we, Rev. Mambu, her patients and community regard as a true hero who gave her life working every day to save the lives of many of her fellow Sierra Leoneans.
Nurse Korma is pictured second from left in the pink and white dress
Among our newest partners is the Rural Youth Development Organization Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL) which has been serving impoverished communities in the Bumpe Ngao Chiefdom of the Bo District in the country.
“The goal of RYDO-SL is to transform communities by building capacities and promoting socio-economic development…and to transform and revitalize the lives of marginalized and oppressed populations in the communities,” says program manager Joseph Ngoniyela Kobba.
Since its inception in 2000, RYDO-SL has cultivated more than 200 acres of inland swamp valley, distributed agricultural tools, and assorted vegetable seeds to women and youth groups in its service area with a population of more than 22,000.
Several years ago, RYDO-SL also constructed a four-room clinic and pharmacy in the village of Mokoba, which thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa last year, we were able to assist with a much-needed renovation of the clinic that was being threatened with closure due to its deteriorated condition.
Following the renovation, again thanks to our supporters, we were able to ship a 40-foot container filled to the brim with medicines, and medical supplies and equipment.
This spring, when the global coronavirus pandemic began spreading around the world, Joseph contacted us with a request for face masks to protect staff and patients at the clinic, as well as for those in the local communities RYDO-SL serves.
“Protecting Sierra Leone’s vulnerable rural poor, thousands whom live in squalid conditions with limited or no access to sanitation or healthcare and where the burden of infectious disease is already spreading,” Joseph told us in April when number of confirmed cases and deaths was relatively low in the country of more than 7.5 million.
However, by June 7, the number of confirmed cases was over 900 and nearly 50 deaths. This is particularly concerning in a country which is still recovering from the 11,000 deaths and 25,000 cases the country suffered during the Ebola virus outbreak of 2014/2015.
During the Ebola outbreak, Bread and Water for Africa was there for our partner in Sierra Leone, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO) providing Tyvek suits and other personal protection gear for its medical staff.
We applauded the heroic efforts of healthcare workers and we experienced first-hand the critical importance of PPE such as face masks following the death of a nurse, Monikeh Moses, an FHDO nurse who lost her life helping others as so many heroes in the United States and around the world are doing today.
Instead of simply providing RYDO-SL with thousands of single-use face masks which would be discarded, we decided to go one better.
Our goal is to provide grant funding to RYDO-SL to purchase enough fabric and sewing machines to employ a local tailor to make 3,000 face masks. The masks will be distributed to RYDO-SL medical staff and vulnerable members of the community, which is a gain for everyone involved.
In addition, any surplus proceeds would be used to restock supplies allowing RYDO to continue making more masks for those who need them.
“The project is a charitable activity and the good health of the target communities is what we aim to achieve,” says Joseph.
Photo credit/Deutsch Welle
In the Sub-Saharan African countries where Bread and Water for Africa® works, health care systems are underfunded and poorly equipped; climate change has caused everything from severe drought to cyclones, and food and clean water are in short supply.
Now, during the global coronavirus pandemic, “Poverty turns lockdowns into a death sentence,” states a recent Time magazine report.
Thanks to our supporters, since COVID-19 began spreading around the world earlier this year, we have been able to continue to provide life-saving assistance that will benefit tens of thousands of African children, parents and elders in countries including such as shipping medicines and medical supplies for use at hospitals and clinics in Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, providing emergency funding to children’s homes in Zambia and Zimbabwe, and continuing our clean water development initiative in Uganda.
This sad predicament has caused some to come up with innovative ways to help deal the with the problem in their countries, such as a young inventor in Ethiopia, Ezedine Kamil, an 18-year-old natural science student.
Deutsche Welle reported earlier this month that Ezedine has 30 inventions to his credit so far, 13 of which have been patented.
The onslaught of the virus presented a unique opportunity to Ezedine who first designed a contactless electrical soap dispenser with a built-in sensor, which could also be operated using a mechanical pedal during power blackouts — a common occurrence in Ethiopia.
And, his invention has been embraced by the local community where 50 dispensers have been produced by the local university and distributed in banks and local hospitals in his town of Welkite.
We commend Ezedine and his determination to make the best of a terrible situation for the benefit of others.