August 2017 Program Roundup
August 23, 2017
An inspiring business development program has given a “hand up” to entrepreneurs in Jeremie, Haiti with the goal of reviving the local economy and giving back to the community. This capital investment program is creating a lasting impact by encouraging each participant to analyze ways they can develop personally and contribute to their communities while developing their business through a holistic approach.
40 entrepreneurs submitted applications to the program, and 23 were selected to receive loans based on personal interviews and review of their business plan. Each applicant outlined the terms of their own loan, in which no personal collateral or guarantees were required.
A fund of $15,400 has been distributed among the entrepreneurs (18 male, 7 female) in the form of $300 to $1,500 individual assistance, based on the business plans they submitted. This program is providing assistance and empowering entrepreneurs to reach their goals, and in doing so, restoring dignity and opportunities to provide for their families.
Sierra Leone experienced traumatic loss due to the mudslide in Freetown and heavy rains this month. Nearly 300 lives were lost in the flooding. Continue to pray for the hurting families as they work to rebuild and recover.
Nine seed loan program groups harvested both their conservation agriculture and local method plots. The people have been overjoyed by the astounding results. Conservation agriculture crop yields are approximately 4 times the normal yields. Join us as we continue to pray that the processing and drying of the groundnuts will go smoothly in the spite of the heavy rains.
The Gbomuma women’s group have invested more land and time to conservation agriculture growth of groundnuts than any of the seed loan groups. Their commitment and dedication to conservation agriculture is not only seen in the increase of land being devoted to the project but also in their recent registration in the district as a farmers cooperative. These ladies are taking ownership and reaping the rewards of hard work.
Groups that have completed harvesting are in the middle of drying and processing the groundnuts and preparing their lands for another round of planting in September.
Some of the groups who have recognized the success through conservation agriculture are beginning down a new path with our field officer, Joe Lassayo. With Joe’s guidance, these farming groups have secured one acre of land each and have begun the process of creating one-acre sustainable farms. This will be a step by step process over time where the farmers, working together, create a healthy farming system that can support itself and therefore the farmer and family. This will be accomplished through best farming practices in planning, crop selection and rotations, crop diversity, animal husbandry, composting, etc. and ultimately lead to full restoration of the land and a solid future for the farmer. Please pray for Joe’s wisdom as he guides and mentors these farming groups. Pray for their efforts to lead to success.
Currently, there are 41 savings groups with three new ones beginning in the past two weeks serving just under 1000 people giving them access to loans and a safe place to save. To date, over $100,000 has been loaned out among these groups who have seen a variety of opportunities open up. With some groups reaching their 3rd cycle, we have seen the effect of continuity on developing trust. The savings groups provide opportunities for members of the community to discover their own interests in using these loans to create even bigger economic impacts for themselves and their families through business start ups and larger agriculture ventures. Our field officers are working hard to assess these groups, discover each group’s level of independence as they move forward and identify leadership potential for each group.
Classes were postponed due to illness but resumed with a refresher lesson about money, so the students could understand differing monetary values and the importance of having a budget. The Survival Skills students were able to practice their English during a “What are you doing?” lesson in which they worked in pairs.
As a follow-up to their visit to the rehab center, students were taught about illegal substances and the dangers of using drugs. They were presented with the task of calculating how much money a person would spend in a year if they smoked a pack of cigarettes a day. After calculating the results, they worked in groups to develop responses to peer pressure scenarios they may encounter.