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...
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
Jul 24, 2012

Upwards and Outwards: Abraham's Evident Progress

Abraham 2012
Abraham 2012

Having never been to Ghana before, I was absorbing every conversation, every meeting, and every experience at the various sites we visited. Among those experiences are hours and hours of stories to tell, pictures to share, and videos to replay. Playing soccer on dirt roads with kids after school, butchering the little Twi'i I knew and eating local fruits with beneficiaries in their villages became common practice. One memory that is especially dear to me was when I met Abraham and his mother during one of our meetings outside of Kobriti. 

I was shown a picture of Abraham when he was young and a bit malnourished. His mother had just started her first loan and over the next two years, she invested in her business and it paid off! She has expanded her business and Abraham has surely benefited from the loans as well. He had been eating QPM-enriched porrige and grew a significant amount. Shy, yet full of energy and playful with his mother, Abraham will start school soon and coincidently be one of the tallest kids in his class. Our executive director, Merry, did not recognize him until she was told who he was. As his mother carried chairs out of our meeting area, Abraham easily walked to the car with a large bowl full of palm fruit balanced on his head. He was happy to hand us mangoes from the back of the truck, initiative that was not taken last year when he was much shyer and not nearly as strong. At his young age, he is very healthy and strong, obvious signs that the QPM porridge has positively-affected his growth. 

Abraham 2010
Abraham 2010
Growing Up
Growing Up

Links:

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $30
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $65
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $150
    give
  • $300
    give
  • $30
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $65
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $150
    each month
    give
  • $300
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Self-Help International

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Self-Help International on GreatNonProfits.org.