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.
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.
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.