March 2017 Program Roundup
April 5, 2017
Bauya, Sierra Leone
The team in Bauya is a beehive of activity as they juggle 13 savings groups (203 participant, 60% women), 13 agriculture model plots and more than half a dozen composts! As the dry season draws closer to its end, they are working hard to have the existing and extension model plots ready for planting when the rains arrive in late April and early May.
Five savings groups have been identified in Bauya as ready to participate in the new groundnut seed loan program – the brainchild of Joe Lassayo, one of our field officers, and Josiah Holland, an intern with Just Hope. The aim of the program is to infuse seed capital into these Savings Groups, to allow them to plant larger areas and see greater harvests and profits. This same program will be initiated in Lunsar as well.
Lunsar, Sierra Leone
Field Officers in Lunsar currently working with eight Savings Groups (163 participants, 71% women) and 20 agriculture model plots as they prepare for the upcoming rainy season.
Remarkably, Pastor Sullay has begun working with a Muslim Imam, Sheik Abass Kamara, from his community. Pastor Sullay engaged Sheik Abass during the dry season to plant near a swamp. Together, they are managing the plots and learning conservation agriculture techniques.
The first composts from the training held in January have matured and will be ready to use during this rainy season. Abu Rabo has taken the lead in this harvesting process of the compost.
As we move into the rainy season, the team in Ghana is focusing on preparing and planting model plots, which have grown from 11 to 20. The increase in the number of model plots reflects the growing number of Savings Groups that want to be involved in conservation agriculture training.
We are excited to announce there are 38 total Savings Groups in Ghana with 852 members! With 60% female participation, we are not only empowering families, but also women in these communities so they may continue to work toward economic stability.
We continue to see very good returns across the Savings Groups. Groups are doubling their share values and many members are buying as many as three pass books to increase their investment even more as the second cycle is well under way.
It has been a busy month for Survival Skills students in the Dominican Republic! The students have been working hard to learn the importance of integrity, communication, teamwork, self-motivation and strong work ethic. In addition, they’ve been developing their job hunting skills – from resume building to using available resources such as friend’s knowledge, classifieds and social media.
During one lesson, the Survival Skills students were divided into groups and assigned an amount of money according to the situation on their group sheet. They were required to prepare a budget for common household expenses with the money allocated to them. If they discovered that their expenses were greater than their proposed income, they had to figure out which expenses to cut. It was a very beneficial exercise for the students to see that a budget must be prioritized and some items cut if their income is not enough.
Our two Survival Skills interns, Olivia and Audrey, conducted their initial assessment with the three Malambo students they will be working with. They shared some basic interview information and videotaped the interviews, which will be used as a baseline as the girls continue to refine and practice their skills.
After last month’s hurdle involving some of the students being forced to leave the orphanage, we are pleased to announce that the second round of Survival Skills classes began on March 25 in Colon. We found a solution and have a total of 10 students ages 14-16 attending the Survival Skills program at San Vincente.
To wrap up the month, we delivered materials to teachers for the upcoming English as a Second Language classes soon to be launching in Colon and Malambo. The number of students is greater than we originally planned for, which is wonderful news.