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 batt...
Sep 22, 2015

Solomon Turns Agriculture Waste to Productive Use

In Atwima Nwabiagya, many farmers engage in rice farming for both personal consumption and as a cash crop. After harvesting the rice, much of the rice straw remaining is considered waste. Some farmers throw away the rice straw away, while others burn it leading to environmental pollution. Many farmers continue this practice just as farmers before them did, unaware of the environmental impact.

Solomon is a thirty-three year old graduate from the University of Education, Winneba Campus where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education. He and his wife, Abigail, have one son, and cultivate a rice farm in Atwima Nwabiagya.

Solomon completed a training course at the Fran Mueller & Virginia Lageschulte Young Adult Training Center in Feburary 2015, where he learned about mushroom production. Just like the other graduates, he learned how to compost using sawdust, another common “waste” product from the mills. However, sawdust has not been as readily available lately due to roling power outages in Ghana which have lead to lumber mills producing only a fraction of the outputs, and therefore a fraction the sawdust.

Solomon decided to diversify his business pursuits by adding in mushroom production. In order to maximize returns on his investment, he explored an innovative idea: to tap into this wasteful material he had ready access to on his farm, and turn the rice straw “waste” into compost for his mushroom. In March, Solomon started a pilot study by collecting most of the straw produced nearby test out his theory that rice straw could be used in place of sawdust for compost for mushroom production. Despite the rice straw substitution, the mushrooms grew and he was able to successfully start up a new enterprise. In fact, the yields of oyster mushrooms were higher than those produced using sawdust compost. The straw produces mushrooms much bigger in sizes than the sawdust. Consumers appear to prefer the larger mushrooms to smaller ones.

Mushroom production is now a family business. The enterprise supports the livelihoods of both Solomon and his wife, Abigail, who was previously unemployed, but is now the sales person for their home business. This innovative trial was observed by a Self-Help internship student, who plans to re-create the trial for her final year capstone project. The results will be shared with all future trainees so they are able to make the most informed decision about how to re-purpose readily available materials in their mushroom production pursuits.

Thank you for your support of Self-Help’s Young Adult Training Center in its mission to alleviate youth un(der)employment in Ghana. Your support empowers Solomon and other young adults like him with the training and start-up capital they need to start new ventures and better provide for their families.

From today, September 21, through Friday, September 25, GlobalGiving will be offering a one-time 100% match on all new recurring donations up to $200 per donor! To qualify for the match, donors must give for at least four consecutive months. You can read complete terms and conditions here: https://www.globalgiving.org/recurring-donations-matched/limited-time/?utm_source=GlobalGiving+Project+Leader+Newsletter&utm_campaign=03b87008c1-September_2015_PL_Newsletter9_9_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e74b9ca250-03b87008c1-391646337 . Please consider the gift that keeps on giving with a recurring donation to the Young Adult Training Center. Click the link to donate now: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/ghana-training-center-for-2500-young-farmers/?show=recurring .

Links:

Sep 15, 2015

Women share knowledge, empower one another

Francisca uses profits to host cooking class/party
Francisca uses profits to host cooking class/party

Self-Help International’s micro-credit program is consistently expanding in Nicaragua’s Department, Rio San Juan. As of July 2015, Self-Help has distributed loans to over 110 women, who use the money to pursue entrepreneurship and start their own businesses. The funding gives the beneficiaries the opportunity of economic self-sufficiency, providing them outlets to use their skills and talents in mediums that can yield tangible profits. This report focuses specifically on two micro-credit groups within the municipality of San Carlos. The first group from the pueblo of Cruz Verde consists of seven women who have been active in the micro-credit program, engaging in training and accessing loans, since November of 2013. All are steadily growing their small businesses. The following group comes from the neighboring village of El Empalme de Cruz Verde, and consists of nine women who have been involved with the program since August 2014.

The women from both communities have taken out several loans from Self-Help International, each of which must be paid back before a new loan is issued. Participants from both communities have consistently paid back their loans, including the minimal acquired interest, and subsequently requested new loans of greater value to maintain continued expansion of their various enterprises. They serve as ideal examples of the benefits of micro-credit lending, earning enough to support their families while responsibly managing their debts. Additionally, many are using their businesses as a means of educating, teaching their diverse trades to either new employees or other mothers and children interested in learning. This shared knowledge is one of the many advantages that Self-Help’s program has created in these various Nicaraguan communities.

Francisca, the leader of El Empalme de Cruz Verde, took the initiative to connect with members from Cruz Verde’s micro credit group, in the hopes that the women from each community could each share some of their skills in an open-forum seminar. Many of the skills/trades, such as preparing jams, piñatas, funeral wreaths, cakes, baked/cooked goods, and others, were learned in various training sessions hosted by Self-Help International. To create a fun and collaborating atmosphere for the seminars, Francisca even used a portion of her profits to host a cooking class at El Empalme de Cruz Verde. After the class, participants ate in celebration of a group member’s birthday (pictured below)!

In addition to learning skills at these seminars, women are able to compare notes on good business practices during this meetings.  For example, Vincenta has had more success selling her product door to door in her community, while Francisa sells the various baked goods from a small storefront. Both have become popular treats in their pueblos. 

The series of photos below depict the products that micro-credit participants have learned to create and sell. They include: a cooking class that Francisca hosted; Cake and pastries made by Francisca and Vincenta, and piñatas and funeral wreaths created by women and children from the two communities. The piñatas are sold for various events, including birthdays, church ceremonies, and graduations. Women and children from both communities similarly make funeral wreaths. They use the proceeds from their labors to provide for their families, then to reinvest in their businesses.

As the groups now seek to collaborate for the sake of mutual betterment, they embody the self-sufficiency and empowerment through education that Self-Help International strives to promote. Though the first meeting only consisted of three attendees, it has since grown to an average of nine participants, with meetings taking place as often as twice a week. Many women bring their daughters so they can begin learning the nuances of the different businesses and share in mutual success.

Thank you for your generosity, which is making micro-loans and learning opportunities such as these possible for the women of Cruz Verde, El Empalme de Cruz Verde, and many other Nicaraguan communities.  

Vincenta bakes corn bread & sells door to door
Vincenta bakes corn bread & sells door to door
Francisca makes cakes, pastries to sell from home
Francisca makes cakes, pastries to sell from home
Women make pinatas to sell for celebratory events
Women make pinatas to sell for celebratory events
Another seminar focused on making funeral wreaths
Another seminar focused on making funeral wreaths

Links:

Sep 15, 2015

Dum Spiro Spero-While there is life, there is hope

Samuel ensures Agnes gets to school daily
Samuel ensures Agnes gets to school daily

Agnes was born on September 7th, 2011, to Paul and Comfort of Beposo in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Paul and Comfort prayed earnestly for a first female child, Agnes was considered an answered prayer from God. Being the only female and the youngest of three children, her parents had a lot of hope in her.

This hope was short-lived. Paul tells SHI, at age three Agnes could hardly talk or walk properly. It was difficult for her to mingle with her peers. At one point, they suspected Agnes was deaf but weren’t able to access proper healthcare. The family began moving from one prayer camp to another. In Ghana, a prayer camp is where a group of people meet to pray for weeks and months to God for miracles to take place in their lives.

Finally, on February 4th 2015, Agnes enrolled at the Beposo Islamic Basic school where she is served breakfast prepared from Quality Protein Maize (QPM) every morning. She would go to school every morning staggering or being carried on the back of her elder brother, Samuel. It was very challenging at first but with support from the QPM team and their parents their prayers were answered.

Through continuous interactions with peers and regular protein intake, Agnes’s speech is much better. She recites poems and rhymes and she is no longer shy of peers. Though, she still walks with difficulty, there is improvement.

The Self-Help QPM team measures the weights and heights of beneficiary children quarterly to track impact. In April of 2015, Agnes weighed 28.5 pounds (13 kg) and was 32 inches tall. In August she weighed 32 pounds (14.5 kg), an increase of more than 10 percent of her body weight (3.5 pounds/1.5 kg), in just 4 months.  Her father refers to the physical improvements as ‘bonus’ in addition to her mental improvements.

In addition to supporting school feeding programs, the QPM team takes time to train parents and teachers about the importance of protein consumption to childhood brain development. The faith of Paul and Comfort in the production and utilization of QPM has increased. They no longer say “every maize is maize” but rather place premium on maize with high protein content. They are among twenty-three farmers who willingly offered to grow QPM to support the Beposo School Feeding Program in the Atwima Mponua District of Ghana.

Continuously supporting the feeding program will not only restore hope in the lives of people such as Agnes, but will also ensure the production and availability of food to feed the growing world population.

When you make a donation tomorrow, Wednesday, September 16th, it will be matched by 30 percent.  Starting at 8 a.m. CDT GlobalGiving is matching all donations made through globalgiving.org up to $1,000 per donor at 30%. There is $70,000 available in matching and we’re offering $6,000 in bonus awards! Matching will last until funds run out, so to earn the match aim to donate as close to 8 a.m. CDT as possible. Click the give now button below to improve the lives of children like Agnes and multiply the impact of your donation.

Agnes weighed 28.5 pounds in April, 2015
Agnes weighed 28.5 pounds in April, 2015
Agnes is healthier and more alert in August 2015
Agnes is healthier and more alert in August 2015
Paul with inputs to grow QPM for the school
Paul with inputs to grow QPM for the school

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?
  • $
    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.
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.