In January, thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, we were able to provide a grant to provide two meals each school day to 125 children attending the Seed School in the Nairobi slum of Kibera for the entire academic term.
But that was before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of schools throughout Kenya, including the Seed School, where these children not only got an education, but could count on having breakfast and lunch every weekday.
Seed Foundation director Patrick Odongo explained that the school “strives at transforming the lives of these children by offering them hope through education, and giving them regular meals while they are at school.
“The grant came in very handy to support our feeding program for the children whose parents can barely manage to provide food for their children,” he told us.
However, when midway through the term and the school was shuttered most of the families faced even more difficult times, but with the unused portion of the grant funding from Bread and Water for Africa®, they were able to provide regular food rations to many of them.
“This helped in feeding the children and keeping them healthy,” he said.
Thanks to our supporters, these 125 children, aged from 3 to 14 whose families are in dire need, not only receive the vital education they need to lift themselves out of unimaginable poverty they arrive at school each day eager to learn and secure in the knowledge they will not go hungry that day.
“In the long term, we are assured of transforming the lives of these children and thus working at breaking the cycle of poverty from the slum-up,” says Patrick.
Because the children receive daily, balanced meals of maize meal (cornmeal which is used to make the Kenyan staple, ugali), porridge, beans, rice, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, green vegetables and fruits, “this has prevented stunting and malnutrition,” he said.
“The feeding program ensures that there is constant class participation throughout the term,” Patrick reported. “When the children are assured of receiving regular meals at school their level of attendance increases.”
“Due to the high poverty levels in the slums of Kibera, most children living there are denied the major basic needs of life, which include a balanced diet and an education.
“The grant from Bread and Water for Africa® was able to fulfill the gap, feeding all the children in the school and giving multiple households the opportunity to live with lesser tension.
“The support from Bread and Water for Africa® comes in handy as a Godly-sent gift enabling the transformation of lives the dreams of children to become their reality.”
Thankfully, since Patrick submitted his report in September, Kenyan schools have recently reopened and children are back in class — and once again assured of getting the meals they need to be healthy, and happy.
In addition to, of course, food security and access to clean, safe water, addressing the lack of adequate healthcare is the most pressing need in Sub-Saharan Africa today, especially in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In the impoverished country of Sierra Leone, people are literally in desperate need medicines and the clinics and hospitals we support are suffering shortages of medical supplies and equipment.
In 2014-2015, when Sierra Leone was seriously affected by the deadly Ebola virus which caused almost 11,000 deaths and more than 25,000 life-threatening infections the country’s fragile healthcare system nearly collapsed.
Five years later, with the country is still recovering from that epidemic, today its healthcare system is reeling under the strains of coronavirus as hundreds of healthcare workers in the national health sector have succumbed to the virus due to the lack of proper protection equipment.
This terrible situation has led to the shuttering of hospitals which has left countless thousands of Sierra Leoneans without treatment and care when they have contracted possibly deadly illnesses including malaria, pneumonia and waterborne diseases.
Today, all of Sierra Leone, as is most of the world, is threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic and we are being asked to help send vitally needed medical supplies like hospital beds, blankets, mosquito nets, anti-biotic medicines, surgical gloves, thermometers, stethoscopes, and hospital supplies.
The small farming community named Mokoba has a population of about 5,600 with almost 75 per cent being women and children. The farming community is among the poorest in Sierra Leone, with farmers struggling to barely grow enough to feed the village and having nothing extra to sell to get money for medicines or medical help.
To address this growing crisis, we hope to soon be shipping a 40-foot container filled with the brim of medicines and medical supplies to the Mokoba clinic and others nearby to help ensure that no one who needs medical care is not turned away without the treatment they need to survive.
Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic had been making inroads into sub-Saharan African countries such as Uganda, Bread and Water for Africa® agreed to support construction of 15 of our partner there, Bega Kwa Bega’s (BkB), water protection projects.
The projects were expected to ensure safe, clean water for drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing for 3,000 Ugandans from 15 surrounding villages at the cost of about $1,000 each by constructing concrete barriers at spring sites to prevent contamination by humans and livestock.
In his request for funding, BkB program manager Ssagala David explained that the water protection project is necessary to protect the health of the residents of the villages through increased sanitation and hygiene made possible through access to uncontaminated water.
“The available community water sources are not safe, not clean, and not enough for the villages,” he told us. “Water is the most pressing need in these communities and is their first request.”
While due to the pandemic the project had to be put on hold this summer, we are pleased to report that now the projects have resumed with the most recent completed one being in the village of Kyangoma in central Uganda.
“The spring provides water for more than 55 houses, a primary school with 310 children, two health centers, and a church,” said BkB administrator Mary Musubika, adding that the water is also created a source of income for members of the community who use it for molding bricks.
“Before protection, it was an open water source shared by both humans and animals such as cows and goats,” she said. “It had been contaminated with the refuse from the runoff rainwater, dirt from the clothes washed near the spring and children could bathe in the water.
“The community members are so grateful now that they have access to a free, clean, safe, and reliable water source which minimizes waterborne illnesses, hence improving hygiene and sanitation.”
We at Bread and Water for Africa® are very grateful for your continued support.
Thank You! Asante Sana!
Rice is among the most common staple foods in Africa, and thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® our partner in Sierra Leone, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO), has been able to significantly increase its rice production significantly.
FHDO executive director Rev. Francis Mambu recently posted on social media that it has “officially launched its new brand of parboiled quality rice and is all set for market” in 25kg and 50kg (55 pounds and 100 pounds) at a cost of Le175,000 and Le350,000 ($17.34 and $34.90) respectively, which amounts to 31 cents per pound.
Rev. Mambu also announced that they are currently harvesting 500 acres of rice “the second-largest local farm rice in the country,” all in a bid to help 450 women from six local villages who have formed a women’s farmers group to work at the rice farm.
We are, of course, overjoyed with Rev. Mambu’s success, but we would be remiss not to recognize our supporters, and our partners here in the U.S. including Arms Around Africa, which provides administrative support, and the Royer Family Foundation which provided FHDO with two tractors and other farming equipment including pillows, hummer mills, grain thrasher, and more.
Thanks to our faithful donors and supporters for enabling us to fund part of the construction of the milling house. Very soon a milling house at the Faith Healing Agricultural Project (FHAP) at Yankansa village will be operational for the milling of its rice, as well as provide jobs for women from the nearby villages will be completed soon.
Rev. Mambu had noted that FHAP has had to keep much of the rice it produces in storage due to the fact that the farm currently lacks a milling house to had value to the rice and make it more marketable.
“Unmilled rice is cheap as the demand is comparatively low,” he informed us. “The need for a milling machine cannot be over-emphasized.”
And, just as Rev. Mambu is, we cannot wait for that day to arrive providing thousands of Sierra Leonean children, parents and elders will a belly full of processed rice every day.
Today, October 16, is the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s World Food Day which recognizes the sad fact of steady increase in hunger since 2014 together with rising obesity due to poor nutrition, clearly indicates the need to accelerate and scale up actions to strengthen food systems and protect people’s livelihoods.
The FAO notes that smallholder farmers need greater access to finance, training, innovation and technology to improve their livelihoods, and that is exactly what Bread and Water for Africa® is doing in sub-Saharan African counties including Kenya where the Baraka Farm provides practical dairy training to small holder dairy farmers in the community teaching them best practices and how to get the most production from their small herds.
Bread and Water for Africa ®knows all too well that without food security, Africa’s future will be in jeopardy. In Sierra Leone, working with our longtime partner, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO), we have supported their efforts to provide hundreds of small holder farmers – primarily women – with the information, materials and seeds to grow cassava (a starchy root vegetable that is a staple in the country) and other vegetables and fruits to feed their family as well as selling any surplus they may have at local markets.
In addition, thanks to our supporters we are able to provide grant funding to FHDO as well as farming equipment to operate their 100-acre rice farm (another Sierra Leone food staple) as well as assisting in the construction of the its poultry production facility which provides chickens to families at prices they can afford.
Most recently, we are currently raising funds for our partner in Zambia, the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre, to construct a greenhouse and chicken coop to provide healthy food for the dozens of children living there as well as selling surplus at local markets.
According to the FAO, over 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food including countless millions living in sub-Saharan Africa. The global population is expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050.
Nearly 690 million people are hungry, up 10 million since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic could add between 83-132 million people to this number, depending on the economic growth scenario, according to the FAO.
Collective action across 150 countries is what makes World Food Day one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar. Hundreds of events and outreach activities bring together governments, businesses, NGOs, the media, and general public. They promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all.
World Food Day 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of FAO in an exceptional moment as countries around the world deal with the widespread effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a time to look into the future we need to build together.
Jeneba is grateful to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® for making it possible to for us to provide funding for our partner Rural Youth Development Organization Sierra Leone enabling us to renovations its Mokoba clinic where she gave birth to twins.
In addition to receiving health care for indigent people such as Jeneba the clinic also provided her with food and free medicines.
“I was blessed because when I saw the newly rehabilitated clinic,” she told us. “Thanks to the Mokoba clinic run by RYDO-SL and God almighty for the survival of my twins and me.”
Peter is the town chief of the Mokoba community is another who expressed his sincere gratitude for the clinic including the furniture, medical supplies and medicines.
“Before, nurses would have to tell patients that there were no medicines at the clinic and patients would have to return home sick,” says Peter. “But since Bread and Water for Africa started working with RYDO-SL there has been a reduction of illness in my community.”
And Frances is a nurse who has working at the clinic for four years and explained that the health center was in danger of being closed by the government due to a damaged roof and told of having to assist a pregnant woman in the rain as the roof was not in such poor condition.
“With the rehabilitation of the Mokoba clinic the health center is now receiving many patients who are reporting very positive results with the treatment we offer them,” said Francis.