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.
Medicines, medical supplies and equipment are always in short supply in the rural regions of sub-Saharan African countries, and with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing its spread throughout the continent these items are needed now more than ever.
This month, we are planning on shipping a 40-foot container full these life-saving supplies and materials to our partner in Sierra Leone, the United Methodist Church – Sierra Leone Annual Conference Health Board (UMC-SLAC HB) for distribution to its clinics and hospitals throughout the country.
This shipment will mark the second of such shipments this year of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of medicines and medical supplies for clinics and hospitals in communities such as Rotifunk, Kulanda Town, Manokoh, Taiama Town, and others which serve well over 50,000 indigent and low-income Sierra Leoneans every year.
With the coronavirus pandemic starting to spread in May, UMC-SLAC HB health coordinator Catherine Norman reported upon receiving the previous shipment that “The donated medicines and medical supplies were well-timed and with certainty the need was colossal and consequently produced a helpful effect to the eight CHASL health facilities at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone began in 1855, and 165 years later is still continuing its efforts to improve the lives of impoverished Sierra Leoneans in the areas of education, community development and especially health care.
(As an aside, we were saddened to learn that UMC Resident Bishop John Yambasu was tragically killed in an automobile accident in August while on his way to preach a funeral service for one of his ministers. He is greatly missed by the UMC community around the world and all Sierra Leoneans, and of course by all of us here at Bread and Water for Africa®.)
As the UMC-SL noted in May following our first shipment in 2020, the result has been an uninterrupted supply of drugs, making for the constant availability of essential medicines always at the ready and free for the impoverished, while maintaining a high standard of quality care.
This partnership has provided “immediate emergency care for thousands of vulnerable Sierra Leoneans who were in desperate need and experiencing life-threatening health conditions,” stated the UMC-SL.
And now, through the generosity and compassion of our supporters, hopefully soon another shipment will be arriving in the country for distribution to the clinics and hospitals where these supplies are needed most.
“Once more thank you for your continued support,” said Catherine.
Our longtime partner in Cameroon, Hope Services Ministry International (HSMI), was founded in 1994 to provide humanitarian services including free and low-cost health care to tens of thousands of children, women, prisoners and vulnerable people in general.
Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, we were recently able to ship a 40-foot container containing medicines, body health care supplies for new mothers, medical supplies for hospitals and clinics such as sterile examination gloves and medical equipment including stretchers, wheelchairs, oxygen tubes, and more.
CEO Esther Ndichafah reported to us that they focused their distributions in local communities where there is much hardship is being experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nothing has really been small at such moments when people are struggling to meet their most basic needs,” says Esther.
For example, among the over-the-counter medicines HSMIs received is Zegerid, an antacid which is used to treat certain stomach and esophagus problems, such as acid reflux, ulcers and even prevent stomach bleeding in very ill patients, with Esther noting that “the prevalence of gastritis is relatively high, and this has helped many to find relief.”
Another seemingly small item that is greatly appreciated by nursing mothers is a body balm made of shea butter, with Esther saying that the skin rejuvenating properties of the body balm has helped many mothers with the post-delivery skin healing process.
In addition, HSMI was also able to partner with another non-profit organization to carry out a medical mission which treated many people with a variety of health conditions such as hernias and lipomas, an overgrowth of fat cells under the skin which become benign tumors and can cause pain, complications or other symptoms.
“The donated supplies were used in the surgical procedures,” she reported.
Although HSMI is located in Cameroon, it also regularly provides services to neighboring Chad which she notes is one of the poorest sub-Saharan African countries.
And with a life expectancy of about 52 years for women and 49 years for men, combined with poor healthcare infrastructure and being prone to conflicts, only makes matters worse.
“Some parts of the country are highly destitute including some of the villages we have been reaching out to,” said Esther. “These medications and relief items helped ameliorate their very basic lifestyle and every time they receive things of this nature, it meets a great need.”
And through the use of the medicines, supplies and equipment, HSMI is also able to provide healthcare to those who have fled their homes due to violence in their regions who are known as internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“With the items we received through this shipment, we successfully reached out to hundreds of IDPs in Yaounde and Douala and less privileged people in our health care facilities,” she said. “And we are still reaching and planning to reach out to more people as the COVID-19 pandemic phases out.
“The donations were very timely given the various crises we have gone through in Cameroon in recent times, and many people have experienced untold hardships. It was a great relief to all age groups.”
And to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who help make all we do possible, Esther says:
“We wish to express our sincere gratitude for reaching out to thousands of Cameroonians. We count it a privilege that you trust and place such a responsibility in our hands.”
Medicine Distribution to Health Centers in Sierra Leone
“While so much about the virus and how it operates remains unclear, sub-Saharan Africa so far has dodged a deadly wave of coronavirus cases.” — The Washington Post, September 22, 2020
While that may be true in terms of confirmed cases and deaths, the impact of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic is being felt throughout sub-Saharan Africa as many low- and now no-income Africans are struggling to just get enough to eat.
In countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe, our partners the Kabawta Orphanage and Transit Centre and the Lerato Children’s Village respectively, are relying on an additional grant funding from Bread and Water for Africa® to purchase food for the orphaned and destitute children in their care in the face of rampant inflation where the prices of basic foodstuffs are increasing on a daily basis.
In Sierra Leone, where thankfully as of September 23, there have been just 72 coronavirus-related deaths, Bread and Water for Africa® and our partner there, Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL), have been working hand-in-hand to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
This summer, RYDO-SL program manager Joseph Ngoniyela Kobba, turned to Bread and Water for Africa® with an urgent plea for assistance in providing materials and supplies to make reusable face masks.
“The use of face masks by the target communities to impede COVID-19 transmission will limit the contact of infected individuals via physical distancing and contact tracing with appropriate quarantine and secondly reduce the transmission probability per contact by wearing face masks in public among other measures,” said Joseph.
“The decreased transmission will reduce the death rate and economic impact, while the cost of locally-made face masks is low.”
Throughout the sub-Saharan African countries where we work, the numbers of deaths and confirmed cases is just a very small percentage of the millions of cases and more than 200,000 deaths we have experienced here in the United States, the total number of deaths in those countries is reaching 3,000 according to the World Health Organization with: Cameroon – 416 deaths, 20,598 confirmed cases, with a population of 18.8 million; Chad – 81, 1,153, 10.3 million; Ethiopia – 1,108, 69,709, 85.2 million; Kenya – 650, 37,079, 39 million; Sierra Leone – 72, 2168, 6.1 million; Uganda – 63, 6,468, 32.3 million; Zambia – 331, 14,175, 11.8 million; and Zimbabwe – 225, 7,683, 11.3 million.
In addition, this year we have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of medical supplies to our partners in Sierra Leone such as (RYDO-SL) and Ethiopia, such as Haramaya University community hospitals and clinics, where medicines and medical supplies are desperately needed.
In countries which have closed schools due to the pandemic, such as in Cameroon, Chad, and Sierra Leone, we have received reports that classes will be resuming soon in a safe and responsible manner at which time we will be able to resume our school fee program providing hundreds of children the opportunity to get an education.
And in Uganda, while our water protection project in cooperation with our partner there, Bega Kwa Bega, to prevent springs that serve numerous communities was put on hold, we are pleased to report that it has now resumed.
All of what we have been able to accomplish this year to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives is due wholly to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, without which none of this would have been possible.