RESILIENT AGRICULTURE IN SIERRA LEONE
The Project at a Glance:
Resilient Agriculture – In Partnership with the Local Church
Location – 8 Villages in the Port Loko District, in North Western Sierra Leone
Local Church Partner –Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone (EFSL)
People Impacted – 2,100
Women Impacted – 60%
Total Project 2019-2021 – $220,000 per year
After a decade-long civil war and 2014 Ebola outbreak, the majority of Sierra Leone’s national population have lived below the poverty line, surviving on less than $2 CAD per day. While the country tries to recover, the agricultural sector has experienced a huge decline. Half of the population is food insecure, with levels of food insecurity exceeding over 60% percent in Port Loko. Those most severely affected include orphans, Ebola survivors, widows, the elderly, and those living with HIV/AIDS.
Working with The Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone (EFSL), this project is providing seeds, tools and training farmers in improved practices. By mobilizing God’s church in Sierra Leone, they are empowered to release more people from poverty and hunger. Vulnerable families are able to fight food insecurity and increase their income to look forward to healthier and more secure futures.
- Lack of access to agricultural inputs
- Inefficient farming techniques
- Limited access to markets due to flooding of main roads
- Lack of access to a substantial, balanced diet
- Decline in farming due to Ebola outbreak
- Low agricultural productivity
- Lack of crop diversification – 70% of farmers produce staple foods (e.g. rice), economically viable crops such as cassava, groundnut, and cashew
Through the local church, this project will train Community Extension Workers on improved agricultural practices and value-added agricultural products. Extension workers will, in turn, replicate the training at the community level by training 300 farming households. Project activities include:
- Providing farming households with agricultural inputs (seeds and tools)
- Training farmers in Conservation Agriculture Techniques – mulching, minimal mechanical soil disruption, and smart-crop rotation.
- Establishment of demonstration farms, lead by extension workers
- Daily monitoring of farming households in various communities
Increased knowledge in Nutrition:
The majority of households in the project region are not eating a balanced diet, as they are not producing diverse agricultural yields. Over time, this leads to numerous deficiencies and immune system-related health issues. Project activities will include:
- Supporting households to engage in diverse vegetable production
- Training of volunteers on nutrition concepts
- Training of households on basic nutrition-related practices
How we work with the Local Church Partner:
Tearfund works with national church relief and development arms and with local churches. The Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone is a large church network, facilitating people who volunteer their services where the need is greatest. We recognize that sustainable solutions to poverty require physical, economic, spiritual transformation from the bottom-up.
Work done in the last year:
- 300 households in 6 Ebola-affected communities received training in improved farming techniques, soil fertility, pest and disease control, gender equality, nutrition, and sanitation.
- 2,100 people in 2 chiefdoms of Port Loko benefitted from increased harvests and better nutrition.
After becoming a widower following the Ebola outbreak, Fatu Kabila was desperate to provide for herself and her children. In the midst of sorrow and deep impoverishment, her isolated community was transformed by the love of Christ through the local church and its economic empowerment program.
Despite being a Muslim community, she and her neighbors were quick to take advantage of the churches’ agricultural training, as it allowed the community to grow new market crops for eating and selling. Fatu no longer worries for her next meal or if she will be able to support her family.
“I have been able to buy double what I ever bought before. I no longer have to beg my neighbors to ensure the school fees are paid for my children. This is a really good foundation for our community.”