Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Beth Tessema recently returned from an extended visit to Kenya to meet with Phyllis Keino, our international spokesperson and founder and director of the Lewa Children’s Home, to evaluate its progress and conduct a needs assessment.
From there Beth visited Uganda where she evaluated forming potential new partnerships with children’s homes and brought Phyllis with her “because she knows how children’s homes should be managed and can quickly evaluate whether there is a good standard of care at a children’s home.”
While she was in the country, she also visited our current partner Bega kwa Bega (Shoulder to Shoulder) which Bread and Water for Africa® has worked with to support its education program through the donation of books.
In the past two years, Bread and Water for Africa® has provided 44,000 books to Bega kwa Bega which distributed them to 120 impoverished rural schools benefiting more than 15,000 students.
In addition, Beth visited its organic farming training center and the farm manager who is very well educated in organic farming methods and is a strong advocate for food sufficiency at both the family and community levels.
Beth came away very impressed in the training center, which is used by Makerera University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in all of Africa, as an organic farming internship facility.
And she was equally impressed with the model farming sites she visited where she met farmers who are being trained in the best ways to make use of their very small plots of land utilizing every spot possible and learning to plant and harvest throughout the year using crop rotation among other things.
“The Bega kwa Bega program is a great example of how food self-sustainability at a grassroots level benefits family and, eventually, whole communities,” Beth commented. “It is always true that when every family’s needs are met at the grassroots level, the whole community changes.”
It is with great relief that we are pleased to report good news on the agriculture front from Sierra Leone that the 2019 planting season started on time!
Bread and Water for Africa® has long supported the agricultural operations of our partner in the country, Faith Healing Development Organization (FHDO), particularly its rice farm, so it was especially nice to hear from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations that: “Following a timely onset of seasonal rains, planting of paddy rice, to be harvested from September, started in 2019.”
Rice is the staple food in Sierra Leone and after years of disappointing harvests due to poor rains, it is good to know that the weather is cooperating with the farmers this year.
However, that does not mean that there still are not concerns. The FAO also reported that “despite the overall favorable food security conditions, some vulnerable households still need external food assistance.”
According to the FAO, “pockets of poverty remain in the country,” citing an analysis that 124,000 people will be in need of food assistance until September.
But thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, FHDO is expecting a bumper harvest of rice this fall which will go to feed thousands of hungry Sierra Leoneans who are most in need in the impoverished country.
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.