Self-Help International

Self-Help International (SHI) devotes its efforts to alleviating world hunger and poverty by providing opportunities to rural citizens that ultimately lead to self-reliance. Since its inception, Self-Help has served as a vessel; training, education, and opportunities are provided to rural citizens and whole communities in developing countries so that they can have better lives. MISSION STATEMENT: To alleviate hunger by helping people help themselves. SELF-HELP'S INITIATIVE Educate: We educate the people of the United States to understand the problems of life in developing countries particularly the awareness of the perpetual struggle by millions to produce and distribute food to battle p...
Oct 23, 2012

SHI QPM Program chalks another success

Charles July 27 - Before
Charles July 27 - Before

Early this summer, while the Self-Help staff was visiting the women at Ohene Nkwanta for its micro-credit program, they noticed a very malnourished child sitting beside his mother, Janet. His stomach was terribly distended, with frail arms and legs. Immediately following the meeting, project officer, Benjamin, met with the mother to learn more about the family. 

Three-year-old Charles is one of four children. Janet explained that Self-Help loans have been a Godsend as she is better able to provide for her children. At the time, however, Charles’ malnourishment was beyond what she was capable of improving. Self-Help stepped in to provide the mother with QPM (quality protein maize) porridge and vitamins for Charles, in an effort to alleviate his health issues. Self-Help also provided Janet with a loan so that she could purchase health insurance for the entire family.

As you can see from the photos, on July 27, before Charles was given porridge and vitamins, he faced serious health problems. The second photo taken only one month later, August 31, already shows a transformation taking place!  More support is needed for Charles, but he is improving, and we will keep track and share with you his progress.

Thank you so much for caring for children like Charles. The vitamins are truly making a difference!

Charles Aug. 31 - After
Charles Aug. 31 - After
Sep 5, 2012

More Women in Ghana Acquire Cell Phones

Farmer utilizing her cell phone
Farmer utilizing her cell phone

Beposo is a farming community in rural Ghana. It has no electricity but thankfully has a borehole for water. In 2011, nine women from this community benefited from Self-Help International’s micro credit program, receiving loans for petty trading and agro processing.

After two loans the beneficiaries saw positive changes in their lives, the most notable being the purchase of cell phones by four women.  In Ghana, cell phones can be purchased for $20-25.  The number of beneficiaries using cell phones has more than doubled in the past couple of years, with approximately 3 in 5 beneficiaries now using the devices.

  1. The use of cell phones is common among beneficiaries that specialize in trading because of the enhanced communication they provide with important trading partners. Without cell phones  they could travel several kilometres. without meeting their customers. Cell phones have provided them with the knowledge of when their trading partners will be available, saving precious time and energy while making their business more efficient.

The Women Behind the Phones

Some of the cell phones look attractive and expensive, but are still reasonable to purchase, as in the case of Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a hairdresser who has eyes for beautiful things and is doing well with her loans.

In front of Elizabeth are items for her hair dressing business such as wigs, hair cream and rollers. She tells Self-Help the phone makes it easier to schedule appointments with her clients. She tells clients, “…my cell phone number is written in front of my door...in case I am in the next village you just buzz me…” Instead of missing appointments, Elizabeth can communicate with her clients to let them know her whereabouts. Her cell phone can provide the vital link she needs to her clients, enabling her business to grow.

Cell phones aren’t just for trading businesses and emergencies, for Maame Adwoa her phone is a lifeline to her daughter who is in a teacher training college in the city. Maame is a farmer, whose participation in the micro credit program has improved her business, making it possible to send her children to a good school in the city.

The Challenge

There is no electricity in most villages, so how do they charge the batteries on their new cell phones without missing business calls? When batteries run down the phones are sent to nearby community with electricity, which will charge the phone for the fee of 50p (26 cents). Sometimes a phone sent in to be charges is either stolen or swapped. The search for a solution is still continuing. 

Hair Dresser contacting customers
Hair Dresser contacting customers
Mother contacting her daughter at boarding school
Mother contacting her daughter at boarding school

Links:

Aug 8, 2012

Significant Progress - Project Underway

Future site of the training center
Future site of the training center

Self-Help International (SHI) is setting its sights high in Ghana in an effort to reduce the migration of young farmers into its overpopulated cities. All farmers grow maize, however, the two harvests each year usually are not enough to sustain a family’s livelihood throughout the year. As a result, many young farmers are migrating in hopes of finding work to increase income. Interviews with young farmers indicate that while most of them prefer to remain on the farm, the lack of opportunities to generate additional income force them to make such decisions.

Self-Help intends to change the situation by establishing a training center where young farmers will be trained how to raise poultry, small animals, and produce mushrooms and honey to sell at the local markets.   

During the July visit, Executive Director, Merry Fredrick and Country Director, Benjamin Kusi, met with the Nkwakrum Chief who officially granted one acre of land in his village for the construction of the center.  A beautiful field of corn covered the one-acre plot and upon harvest in August, the land will be turned into a construction site for the new training center. In each session, 35 farmers will be trained how to raise, produce, and sell a variety of animals and other products. 

During the first year farmers will be trained in poultry, rabbit and mushroom production. Each training cycle requires attendance for no less than one production cycle in order to fully understand the demands of each animal or product. Upon successful completion of the training, each farmer receives a certificate and selects which of the three enterprises he or she wishes to pursue.  Self-Help will provide low-interest loans for each farmer to begin his or her own production.  

A committee of 11 individuals from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Kwadaso Agriculture College are deeply involved in the project design with the SHI staff.  The collaborative effort is second-to-none and their enthusiasm is apparent. Committee members explained that they are impressed by the high expectations and demands for each trainee.  Furthermore, the ability of farmers to receive a loan upon completion of training to start their own enterprise is unprecedented. Adding this component greatly raises the success rate for each trainee.  The training center is taking Self-Help’s work to a new, exciting level and provides a challenge we look forward to overcoming.

Anyone who wishes to support a young adult farmer in training program can do so for $100.  His or her progress, along with photos, will be sent directly to you so that you can follow your beneficiary’s journey to self-sufficiency. Lets work together to increase farmers’ production of essential animals and products while slowing migration to cities.

Chiefs who donated the land for the center
Chiefs who donated the land for the center
Meeting in preparation for the center opening
Meeting in preparation for the center opening
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