August Project Roundup
August 18, 2016
Catch up on the latest from all of our projects around the world!
Classes are going very well. Walkiria has done a great job of engaging other staff from Malambo in the survival skills classes. The social worker and psychologist are both involved in mentoring the girls and helping them in several aspects, such as medical history, blood type, how to live with HIV and the responsibilities of an HIV carrier.
During their study of health and hygiene, they went to the store and looked up prices of basic necessities. One of the students mentioned she “did not realize it would be that expensive to live outside of Malambo, and they should stay there where things are provided.” It was a good opportunity to discuss finding a good job and financial management so that they can afford the things they need. In fact, Melva spent an additional week on job opportunities to address the girls’ many questions. She has arranged to have outside people come on Tuesdays and describe their jobs, how they earned them, as well as the difficulties they have experienced along the way.
One week, all girls were given $5, and they traveled to Panama City to tour the University of Panama. The money was used to purchase fare on their bus card and lunch in the university cafeteria. Melva reported she was pleased with how much confidence they had in paying for and riding public transportation, after having done it only once before.
Our Ghana team now includes a staff of five, with Francis Monnie joining the ranks as Farmer Advocate. They continue their good work and this month launched their 25th savings group! They are now serving 515 participants, 51% of whom are women.
The official results are in from the first savings group to complete a full year-long cycle. After one unpaid debt, its 31 members earned 22% profit on their investment – this in a society where saving money does not typically happen at all! Some members of the group even started doubling their weekly savings so they could earn even more! They are working on adjustments to their constitution as they look toward a second year.
More external demonstration plots are being planted with a variety of crops other than corn and beans, such as pineapple and peppers. Weekly reports from the team show that they are spending one-on-one time with farmers and learning about their needs and desires, giving us an opportunity to walk beside the people we serve and creating chances to learn from each other.
Bauya, Sierra Leone
Rain has kept the team in Bauya from some travel, but they are preparing for our leadership team visit next month. Jenneh wants to do a woman-only groundnut training that we are hoping to coordinate while we are there. We intend to take Shanty and John from Lunsar with us to visit the plots in Bauya, as well as encourage Sullay and Joe to conduct a banana training in their community. (See a photo gallery of our last banana training in Ghana.)
Lunsar, Sierra Leone
We are encouraging Shanty and John to empower Foday’s network of pastors to assist farmers interested in starting sustainable conservation agriculture plots, as the interest in the area continues to grow. The banana demonstration plots are doing well, but the farmers are struggling to keep the compost dry enough for maximum decomposition. While moisture is critical to the decomposition process, too much water will inhibit the process, and it’s been a very rainy wet season.
Shanty and John set a goal of serving 15-20 communities well and to high standards beginning in September, when the rains subside. They hope to introduce savings groups then also, when the seasonal harvests will provide the farmers with enough money to save.
According to early reports from Jesse’s recent demonstration plot, bugs destroyed some of the bean crops, and some of the corn did not germinate properly. Jesse thinks he may have purchased some bad corn seeds. The quality of seeds is a constant problem faced by farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and is addressed in David’s training with the practice of saving seeds from every harvest. By saving back some of their seeds and storing them properly, farmers always know the quality and freshness of their seeds.
Out of 127 applications, Raul’s Survival Skills Ministry won a competition called Yo Emprendo, a search to find the most innovative and socially impactful organization in Honduras and Costa Rica. Evaluation criteria included sustainability, visionary leadership, creativity, cross-sector collaboration and commitment to learning. Congratulations to Raul, Shannon and the boys for this award!
Raul is in the process of setting up his own nonprofit foundation for the program. He is eager to make his ministry as sustainable as possible through the shoe business, and credits Just Hope for giving him this vision and opportunity. He continues to prepare the financing for the second container of shoes, and we may make a site visit there soon to provide business mentoring.
Bananas are in the maintenance stage. Orlando employs an average of 16 people a week to weed, irrigate, fertilize and treat pests.