December Project Round-up: From Motorbikes to Bananas
December 22, 2015
Our VSLA effort now includes 182 people (more than a fourth of them women) in nine groups! We have another group in the early formation stage and expect it to launch soon. Some of the groups have progressed to issuing their first loans, for investments like pesticides, seeds, school fees and inventory for petty trading.
We have started working with Mr. Kofi, a local farmer who is interested in conservation agriculture and has agreed to let us mulch a 6×6 meter section of his established corn crop. A successful outcome of this demonstration should lead to reaching other farmers in the area.
Bauya, Sierra Leone
We have assisted Sullay in buying a new motorbike to help support former Just Hope employees who are embarking on new businesses in their own homes and farms. One such business is a goat farming venture, which involves five former employees. This group has built goat houses for 30 goats, and we will walk with them in the first year to support their venture with animal husbandry insight and financial management as the goats begin to reproduce and provide a source of income.
Lunsar, Sierra Leone
We were disappointed that we had to postpone our November trip to Sierra Leone due to Phillip’s illness, but as it turned out to be malaria, we are immensely grateful for his recovery! We are working to reschedule the trip, so we can proceed with equipping local pastors who have an expressed an interest in the fundamental principles of conservation agriculture.
We are grateful that Jesse’s back has healed, and his mission work in Togo has been keeping him busy. He also is preparing to start another crop demonstration and already has built a sturdy fence to protect the 15×15 meter site (a necessity after dealing with cows that invaded the crop previously). The plot will contain a dry season crop, likely cowpeas and maize, possibly with a living hedge inside the fence (that would replace the fence eventually). David is working with Jesse from the States to assist in this new demonstration plot..
Carolina Patino has been continuing to work on educational material and has recently had conversations with Melva and Walkiria, survival skills teachers, on moving forward. Asilo Malambo orphanage has identified the 15 girls who will be part of the program at that location, and we are hopeful that Hogar San Vicente orphanage will be doing the same soon. While the survival skills classes will not begin until spring, the teachers will begin meeting the girls and cultivating trusted relationships with them.
We continue to work with Raul at the survivor skills home in Progreso, where three boys are living and being mentored by Raul physically, occupationally and spiritually.
For the shoe distribution enterprise, the first container of shoes is scheduled to arrive in early January, and Raul has about 10 groups who are committed to buying batches of shoes wholesale and retailing them in various rural communities around Progreso.
In addition to these two projects, we are excited to announce a third project in Honduras: a 15-acre dwarf banana enterprise in the village of Monterrey that will provide work for many in the community who otherwise would be forced to leave the village in search of jobs in the city. Many women in this same village will be involved in the shoe selling venture, so we look forward to seeing the impact that these two efforts can make in this one village. More details to come soon!