January 2017 Project Roundup

January 26, 2017

Bauya, Sierra Leone

Compost training is underway in the Bauya region and the process is proving successful for the Mobonoh village, which turned their first compost this month. Creating their own compost gives the farmers an extremely affordable way to improve the quality of their crops, and they can even sell it for a profit. See photos from a compost demo…

In Gbotima, the harvest from Just Hope’s groundnut (peanut) demo plot was so impressive that Agnes Lamboi intends to develop four more sustainable plots to compare with her other traditionally planted field!

Bauya, Sierra Leone, Demo Plots

Agnes Lamboi works on a demo plot.

Savings groups are taking off in the area and now total 13, the latest addition from the Rochin village. Participation continues to increase and a large percentage of members are women, who are being encouraged and empowered to provide for their families with savings and agricultural training.

Members from the Mulunya team were excited to purchase radios from the returns of their first year-long cycle of investing and saving. While radios are a commonplace household item for many here in the U.S., for these individuals living in remote villages, it’s an invaluable connection to news, information and entertainment.

Bauya, Sierra Leone, Savings Group Radios

Mrs. Moriba and her newly purchased radio.

Lunsar, Sierra Leone

The banana demonstration plots are looking great. Maintenance continues on other demo plots (currently fallow, a critical step to ensure long-term fertility of the soil) in preparation for the next growing season.

Lunsar, Sierra Leone, Banana Farming

Working a banana demonstration plot in Lunsar.

Compost training began this month and is planned to include six different villages over the next two to three weeks. Unfortunately, technology issues have impaired communications, so we are hoping the team has been able to move forward.

Shanty and John are continuing their great work with Lunsar savings groups. In Mabureh Mende, the savings group has grown to 45 members and has decided to divide into two groups, which will create the seventh savings group in the Lunsar region.


Savings groups continue to be very active in Ghana with a total membership of 747 in 33 groups. A total of 78 loans have been made, opening doors for people to grow their businesses and pay household expenses, while paying a reasonable interest rate to their group.

Ghana, Savings Group

Savings Group meeting in Ghana.

Currently in the middle of the dry season, agricultural plot maintenance continues in preparation for planting in March. The team’s first compost training partnership with Abu Rabu, a savings group member in the Akwadum village, is about to kick off. These sessions are designed to equip farmers with improved farming practices that can positively impact their household income.

Ghana, Composting

Packing mulch for composting.

Malambo, Panama

We are excited to announce that two new interns, Olivia and Audrey, from Belmont University have been selected for the Malambo project. They will be working with three students on interview skills, job readiness and professionalism as they work through the Survival Skills program, scheduled to start back up in March.

Colon, Panama

This month, San Viciente decided it will not allow students 15 years of age or older to stay at the facility. Our teachers, Karen and Melva, are working to find hosting options for our Survival Skills students so that they may continue the program in March.

Colon, Panama, Survival Skills

Survival Skills class in Colon.

Dominican Republic

Survival Skills students finished their first module on Independent Living and also completed their first test. Some students even scored a 100%! They have started the second module, Job Training, that will help them answer questions such as, “What do I want to do?” and “What am I good at?”

The students got a special visit from Joanna’s mother, Noris, who is a psychologist, nurse and teacher. She shared about her personal working experience, explained savings accounts and the need for emergency savings, and she brought a credit and debit card so the students could learn the difference between the two.

As the students move forward in the curriculum, we continually encourage them to prepare and be thorough, limit distractions, do more than is necessary, and stay focused — all of which mimic the discipline needed in a job setting and empower them to become excellent candidates for steady jobs.

Dominican Republic, Survival Skills

Survival Skills class in the Dominican Republic.

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