Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® the poultry farm in Sierra Leone operated by our partner there, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO), is operating in full swing, just like Old MacDonald’s Farm with “here a cluck, there a cluck, everywhere a cluck-cluck.”
Two years ago, FHDO executive director Rev. Francis Mambu came to us with a request for assistance in the construction of a poultry farm where thousands of chickens would be raised from eggs (with plenty of surplus eggs to sell at the local market). This has provided thousands of Sierra Leoneans with access to affordable fresh poultry, which is hard to find in the country, and expensive when available.
In the photos Rev. Mambu sent us, he is surrounded by hundreds of nearly full-grown chickens. Not only does the farm make chickens and eggs available for families, it also generates income for FHDO towards its mission of providing low-cost health care services for the indigent, and education for children.
As the photo illustrates, while the chickens cannot likely be considered “free-range,” they also do not spend their lives contained in tiny cages barely larger than themselves. This allows them to enjoy their lives before being enjoyed as a special treat for dinner on the plates of roughly 5,000 hungry Sierra Leoneans each year.
In Sierra Leone, our partner, Faith Healing Development Organization, recently received our shipment of medicines, medical supplies and equipment to be distributed at its clinics in Rokel, Kenema and Bunumbu village in the Kailahun District. We know they will be put to good use.
“The goal of the clinics is to provide affordable health services to the people in the communities where the clinics operate as most people cannot afford the basics of life,” says FHDO founder and executive director Rev. Frances Mambu.
“The medical equipment and supplies improved the operations of the various clinics. Medical equipment is very expensive, and hence the donation was a big relief for us.”
Access to healthcare in developing countries is a challenge, noted Rev. Mambu, adding “with Sierra Leone being no exception.”
FHDO clinics focus their limited resources on the most vulnerable; pregnant women, new mothers and children under five years old. While the need is great and will always be there “we have made considerable effort with support from Bread and Water for Africa®,” says Rev. Mambu.
The Faith Healing Agricultural Project (FHAP) is an offshoot of the longtime partner of Bread and Water for Africa®, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO) in Sierra Leone and operates with mission of helping small farmers achieve food security.
FHAP does this in several ways including providing these farmers, the vast majority of whom are women, with materials to help them getting off to a good growing season with quality seeds and planting materials.
In addition, FHAP provides the farmers with hands-on training at its demonstration farm, an established support network and even helps them to prepare their land for planting.
FHAP is making a huge difference in the lives of these women farmers, notes FHDO executive director Rev. Francis Mambu.
During the last planting season, over 78 bushels of rice was planted, he reported. The yield was 806 bushels – a return of more than 10 times!
“From the yield during the last planting season, we were able to support about 330 women farmers in different villages,” said Rev. Mambu, adding, “It is also worth noting that the project distributed rice to vulnerable women in the communities to feed themselves and their families.”
Rev. Mambu and FHAP have also been recognized from the highest levels of the government of Sierra Leone for their efforts.
“The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Professor Monty Jones thanked FHAP and its partners for the laudable strides they are making in the country, noting that the FHAP rice project is the largest in the entire country,” said Rev. Mambu.
Rev. Mambu noted in the 2018 FHAP Annual Report that about 75 percent of all Sierra Leoneans are engaged in agriculture in one way or another, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
“Agriculture is the daily life occupation of most of the people in Sierra Leone, especially for those residing in the rural areas,” he said.
Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, 315 women were provided with micro finance loans to start their own farming businesses for seed loans and also received technical assistance for their farms.
The women farmers reside in the Yankansa village area in the Bombali District in the northern region of the country which suffered greatly during the decade-long civil war in the 1990s when farms and farming equipment was destroyed.
The land is fertile for farming, and the weather is favorable for crops to thrive, but Rev. Mambu and the women he helps continue to face great challenges.
“The people living in Yankansa and other surrounding villages are poor – they don’t have the money to invest in agricultural activities,” he told us. “Even though almost all of these people are engaged in farming, their output is small because of the lack of funds for expansion.”
For the future, Rev. Mambu and FHAP will continue to empower women in villages throughout the Yankansa community.
“These women groups are doing well and their farms are expanding,” he told us. “Hopefully in the next planting season more women groups will be able to register for support.
“Our deep appreciation goes out to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® for their support of FHAP for touching the lives of Sierra Leoneans striving to make better lives for themselves and their families.”
Five thousand chickens is a lot of chickens – especially in an impoverished country such as Sierra Leone. Many go hungry for days on end and chicken is a delicacy compared with the everyday meal of beans and rice.
“The evidence suggests that Sierra Leoneans love eating eggs and chicken.”
So says Rev. Francis Mambu, executive director of Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO). We’ve been partnering with them for more than a decade. Together we’ve provided health care services, education and food to tens of thousands children, adults and seniors in the country .
“Home-grown” chickens are very much in need in Sierra Leone. As explained by Rev. Mambu: “As the local production is inadequate because of the insufficient number of poultries in the country, most of the chickens and eggs we eat have to be imported from overseas.”
But, those imported chickens and eggs “can pose a health challenge” particularly if they are not handled and preserved properly.
“A couple of months ago, a whole container load of chickens was dumped as not fit for human consumption,” he told us.
We strive to find ways to assist our partners in Africa become self-sufficient while also providing necessary services to the people in the communities they serve.
Such as the case in Kenya with the Lewa Children’s Home. The home operates the Baraka Farm providing milk and dairy products to the children, and selling the surplus to help with overhead costs.
When Rev. Mambu approached us a couple of years ago with a proposal to construct a facility to house up to 5,000 chickens and food processing area, we were eager to support that initiative.
Today, we are proud to announce that the facility is almost ready to start production.
The poultry facility will be located on farmland owned by FHDO at Yankansa where other facilities are also located. The facility will be able to serve the people of the capital city of Freetown and provinces.
In addition to providing chicken and eggs, profits from the sales will go to supplement revenues for other FHDO projects including schools and low-cost health clinics increase its sustainability. The facility will also provide jobs for several in a country where good jobs are hard to come by.
“The need for eggs and chicken cannot be over-emphasized,” Rev. Mambu told us. “These are sources of protein that are affordable by most and the demand therefore is very high.