Growing Family Prosperity

The first seeds and cuttings are in the ground and flourishing!

COFA - Growing Family Prosperity
In November and December, Vision 8—Karim Kamara’s local charity—held meetings and interviewed families in six rural communities in Sierra Leone. Thirty families, with a total of more than 400 household members, were chosen to inaugurate Growing Family Prosperity. The families all have land that’s been underused for lack of resources, limiting output and hampering the ability to set aside seed for subsequent years to attain self-sufficiency. With COFA funding, each family received tools, seeds, cuttings, fertilizer, and—key to success—expert help from Mohamed Idriss, the project agronomist, and his assistants, to prepare the land, maximize production, and plant the first set of crops.

Please read on to learn about six families—in their own words as told to Karim and Mohamed—as they start their Growing Family Prosperity journey.

 

Konta Bana

My name is Ramatu Kanu, a farmer from Konta village. My husband and I have six children—four in primary school, one in secondary, and one with me on the farm. On our small piece of land we cultivate maize, okra, beans, and cassava cuttings. The most challenging thing here is paying for seeds and other inputs and farm tools. Every year, we take out high-interest loans from traders coming to our community from the outside. After harvest and paying off the loans, we’re often left with nothing to take care of the home for the rest of the season. What a blessing to receive 20 kg of vegetable seeds, tools, and continuing support from Vision 8!  Such a thing has never happened in the history of our community. Without the terrible weight of loans, and expecting good harvests, we are confident this year will start an upward climb for us. We will send the last child to school and have enough to eat at home.

 

 

Gbom Limba

My name is Alfred Conteh. I have an acre of land in Gbom Limba, where I’ve grown various vegetable crops—peppers, leafy vegetables, maize, okra, cucumber, and bitter balls [tiny bitter eggplants]. Each year, I’ve borrowed money to buy seeds, fertilizer, and any other supplies. I have two wives and six children, all in school—four at primary level and two at secondary school, and another 12 relatives who depend on me.

Before now, after repaying the loans, we haven’t been able to get ahead at all, but I feel this year is going to be different. With the high-quality seeds and assistance from Vision 8, it looks like we can achieve much more. We’re so grateful and hopeful.

 

 

Makankoi

My name is Kadiatu Sesay. I am a farmer and petty trader and a widow with 12 children—8 girls and 4 boys. I grow crops on a small plot of land that I own in Makankoi. I can send only 6 of the children to school—the other 6 had to drop out because I cannot pay. Every year, I have to borrow money from our village savings and loan scheme to buy seeds and pay labor. After harvest, I take the produce to the market for sales to pay my loan and the balance I use to for education, health care, clothing and food. But it is not enough. My children and I hardly ever eat three meals per day and at times we go to bed on an empty stomach. Thanks to Vision 8, the problem of borrowing to purchase seeds is over, and the seeds they’ve given us are high quality. With their guidance, we’ll also be creating a seed bank from this year’s harvest, to plant next year.

 

 

Sint Kalangba

My name is Ya Sinnah Sankoh, a vegetable farmer, married with five boys and two girls. My husband, who is blind, and I cultivate vegetables and cassava on family land. We process the cassava into flour, called gari, and sell it at the local market. It is from the gari sales that we feed our children and try to educate them. But now my husband’s family is asking us to pay to use the land, which will leave us with very little. With the boost from Vision 8, we see this changing and are very grateful for the help.

 

 

Makankoi

I am Abu Bakerr Sesay from Makankoi, where I live with my two wives and nine children—four boys and five girls. I am also a teacher in the community school, but I get no salary for that—the teachers are not paid. All I have is a plot of land I inherited from my father, where I grow pepper, maize, and cassava. But it does not produce enough for my family. Only six children can go to school. At times we go for days with little food—much less two meals per day. Sometimes my children work on other farms for small amounts of money to help. The chance I have this year from Vision 8 is raising the level of my agriculture, and raising my family out of poverty.

 

 

Magbala

I am Dankay Kargbo from Magbala, one of the poorest communities in Marampa chiefdom. I am married with five boys and two girls, and we farm vegetables on a small piece of land. Farming alone does not give us enough, so we also do petty trading to make ends meet, sometimes walking 20 km to access the market on the main road. Even so, it’s difficult to have one square meal per day. We are constantly in debt because we borrow money to buy seeds and other inputs. With help from Vision 8, we are determined to break that cycle.

 

 

 

NEXT BLOG UP: MEET THE GROWING FAMILY PROSPERITY TEAM

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