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Mar 18, 2020

Farms for Orphans, Inc. March 2020

At the FFO experimental farm with our partners.
At the FFO experimental farm with our partners.

March 2020

Dear Donors,

Thank you for your continued support for Farms for Orphans!  You make our work possible!

This past February I was in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, where our current activities take place, and I have many updates to share with you.

FFO Experimental Farm

As you know, our experimental farm and headquarters are located at the Congolese Health Ministry’s National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) complex in the district of Gombe in Kinshasa. Here, I met with representatives from the Health Ministry, the University of Kinshasa and the Congolese Government. We are excited to begin hosting graduate level students from the University of Kinshasa with a research interest in insect agriculture at the experimental farm. Students will be researching all aspects of palm weevil farming, from appropriate environmental growing conditions to feed and substrates favored by the larvae. 

Orphanage Palm Weevil Donations

We are continuing to donate palm weevil larvae to orphanages and street youth from our experimental farm. This past trip, I visited with an orphanage in Kinshasa where the children, ages 1-19 years, have not received protein in their diet for over two months! This was the first time most of the children have tried palm weevil larvae- and it was a hit! We were glad we could help this orphanage, but it was only a short-term solution. With help from donors like you, we can build more farms within orphanages so the children have access to a consistent source of protein and micronutrients.  

New Partners

It was a pleasure meeting with the Women in Business Association (WIBA) during my trip. The Association has over 300 members across the DR Congo, with a range of business initiatives from the automotive industry to the fashion industry. The Association in Kinshasa has built an insect-focused restaurant and market, called “Mikese Restaurant.”  Mikesemeans caterpillar in Tshiluba, but caterpillars aren’t the only insects that will be served and sold at the restaurant and market! FFO is excited to work with the WIBA to provide the restaurant and market with palm weevil larvae and crickets. Through this partnership, FFO youth farmers will gain training in business principles, restaurant management, food safety standards and food preparation. Together, our organizations are creating awareness of the need to farm insects rather than catching them in the wild.  As the wild harvesting of insects can reduce insect populations dramatically when consumption increases. We’ll keep you updated as this new collaboration progresses.

Updates from the University of Kinshasa

While in Kinshasa, I met with Dr. Patrick Mufwila, who is overseeing the joint FFO/Centre D’etude et D’appui Technique aux Initiatives Locales de Developpement (Center of Study and Technical Support for Local Development Initiatives) program at the University of Kinshasa.  Poultry, including chickens, quail, ducks and guinea fowl, are currently being raised at the facility.

#DYK? 

Poultry eggs are almost pure protein of very high quality. They also provide virtually the entire Daily Adequate Intake of vitamin B12, choline, and essential fatty acids for young children. Eggs are commonly a primary ingredient in formulas to treat malnourished children. And, eggs are a popular food in the DR Congo!  A small-scale poultry farm can provide economic opportunities for FFO youth farmers.  For as little as $300 USD, we can provide a youth farmer with everything needed to begin their own quail operation: training; housing for 40 quail; healthy, vaccinated layers; feed and substrate.  

Rotary Club

Farms for Orphans was happy to host our partners from the Rotary Club of Gombe at the FFO farm. Their enthusiasm for and support of our work has been priceless! We are excited to continue to work with the Gombe Club.

Thank you for your continued support, donors. We couldn’t continue this work without you.

Sincerely,

Dr. Amy Franklin

Farms for Orphans, Inc. Founder and CEO

An orphanage palm weevil dinner.
An orphanage palm weevil dinner.
A protein packed meal.
A protein packed meal.
Dr. Mufwila & Olivier (cricket farmer) at UNIKIN.
Dr. Mufwila & Olivier (cricket farmer) at UNIKIN.
Housing for 40 quail.
Housing for 40 quail.
Quail Eggs
Quail Eggs
Preparing a protein donation from FFO.
Preparing a protein donation from FFO.
The Rotary Club of Gombe visiting the FFO farm.
The Rotary Club of Gombe visiting the FFO farm.
FFO beneficiaries.
FFO beneficiaries.

Links:

Nov 13, 2019

Farms for Orphans, Inc. November 2019

Fabrice, FFO insect farmer, delivering larvae
Fabrice, FFO insect farmer, delivering larvae

November 2019

Dear Donors,

Thank you for your continued support for Farms for Orphans!  We couldn’t accomplish our work without you.

This past October I was in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, where our current activities take place, and have many updates to share with you.

As you know, our experimental farm and headquarters are located at the Congolese Health Ministry’s National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) complex in the district of Gombe in Kinshasa. Here, we are experimenting with various feeds and rearing container designs, and we continue to partner with several palm oil companies and researchers from INRB with the aim of increasing efficiency and farm yields.

Thanks to you, we have come so far since first starting this project! The FFO experimental farm is thriving, so much so that we are now able to provide supplemental larvae to our partners that have not yet gotten their own farms fully up and running. One of our orphanage partners, for instance, suffered the loss of one of their staff earlier this year; because this person was also their primary insect farmer, their farming operations were temporarily suspended. Farms for Orphans is excited that we can continue to supply the youth of this orphanage with palm weevil larvae, ensuring them a healthy and sustainable source of protein and micronutrients.  

It was such a joy to go with FFO’s insect farmer, Fabrice, to deliver the larvae. The orphanage staff and children were happy to receive them as well as formula FFO purchased for the little ones.  

Ambassador Hammer and the US Embassy in Kinshasa

At the beginning of 2019 I had the pleasure of meeting the US Ambassador to the DR Congo, Mike Hammer. Ambassador Hammer was intrigued by our work and has proposed ways in which the US Embassy can support FFO’s ability to reach greater numbers of youth within the country. I spent some time working to advance these efforts during my recent stay in Kinshasa. The collaborations are still in development, but we hope to have more concrete information to provide in the coming months. Stay tuned for news! 

Updates from the University of Kinshasa

FFO is installing a converted shipping container at the University of Kinshasa (UNIKIN). As I mentioned in my last update, UNIKIN has donated land where, in partnership with the Congolese nonprofit Centre D’etude et D’appui Technique aux Initiatives Locales de Developpement (CEATILD), we are developing facilities for an agricultural research and training center to provide Congolese youth with a greater range of sustainable agricultural offerings. Here, cricket and silkworm farming, beekeeping, aquaculture and poultry production are already underway. The shipping container will provide space for palm weevil farming.  

While in Kinshasa, I met with Dr. Patrick Mafwila, who is overseeing our joint program at UNIKIN. Dr. Mafwila’s expertise is in developing aquaculture systems. He was excited to show me the catfish and tilapia rearing tanks.  

#DYK? 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states, “The fisheries and aquaculture sector plays and can continue to play a prominent role in world food security. Fish is a vital source of food including protein and micronutrients, particularly for many low-income populations, and the sector also contributes to economic growth and development by being a source of employment, livelihoods and income to people engaged in aquaculture.”

Thanks to Dr. Mafwila’s efforts, we will be able to offer our orphanage partners and youth we serve training in aquaculture as well as catfish and tilapia fingerlings to begin rearing their own fish.  

Consider giving the gift of grubs this holiday season! 

As the end of the year approaches, consider making a donation to Farms for Orphans on behalf of the loved ones on your list who have everything they need… who have a taste for the unusual… or who love kids, the planet, or sustainable agriculture! Farms for Orphans donations are fully tax-deductible, and your gift will go on giving to many deserving kids through 2020 and beyond. Donations to FFO may be made through Global Giving (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/feed-empower-drcongos-orphans-through-insect-farming/).

With gratitude,

Dr. Amy Franklin

Founder and CEO

Farms for Orphans, Inc. 

Future FFO #YouthFarmer
Future FFO #YouthFarmer
Palm weevil larvae are a popular delicacy in DRC
Palm weevil larvae are a popular delicacy in DRC
FFO beneficiaries
FFO beneficiaries
Catfish rearing tanks
Catfish rearing tanks
FFO beneficiary
FFO beneficiary
Drs Mafwila & Franklin, #ZeroHunger warriors
Drs Mafwila & Franklin, #ZeroHunger warriors

Links:

Jul 18, 2019

Farms for Orphans Inc. July 2019

FFO and partners
FFO and partners

July 2019

Dear Donors,

Thank you for your continued support for Farms for Orphans!  We couldn’t accomplish our work without you.

This past May I was in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, where our current activities take place, and have many updates to share with you.

As you know, FFO has partnered with the Congolese Ministry of Health.  Our primary farm, offices and laboratory are located at the Health Ministry’s National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) complex in the district of Gombe in Kinshasa.  Our farm is thriving and we are excited to begin offering trainings to the Congolese public.  These trainings, as well as sales of our farmed larvae, will help to fund our youth programs.  

We’re growing, again!

Farms for Orphans has partnered with the University of Kinshasa and the Congolese nonprofit Centre D’etude et D’appui Technique aux Initiatives Locales de Developpement (CEATILD).  The University of Kinshasa has generously donated land where we are building facilities for an agricultural research and training center.  Here, cricket and silkworm farming, beekeeping, aquaculture and poultry production are already underway.  We are planning the addition of a palm weevil farm as well as mushroom cultivation.  Our programs in small scale agriculture can provide vulnerable people, with little capital or land, with the tools they need to grow their own food in an environmentally sustainable manner.  Training and support for these programs will be available to our beneficiaries, other nonprofits and the Congolese public in the coming months.

Congratulations FFO advisory board member Dr. Dieudonné Musibono!

Our own Dr. Musibono was recently appointed Special Adviser for Environment and Sustainable Development to Congo’s Head of State, President Tshisekedi!  Dr. Musibono has been very supportive of our work in the Congo over the years.  He was instrumental in the development of our current farming activities at the Congolese Health Ministry’s INRB.  Congrats Dr. Musibono!

Introducing (Future) #YouthFarmer, Destiny!

Destiny is the younger sibling of one of our youth farmers.  Although she did not receive FFO’s formal farm training alongside her sibling, she has come to support the farming process by helping her older sister to care for the orphanage farm.  

Destiny is 10 years old and in the 3rdgrade. Her favorite subject in school is math. Destiny wants to become a doctor when she grows up.  She told us that she wants to learn how to farm palm weevil as well as how to cook so she has something good to eat.  When she isn’t in school or helping at the FFO farm she enjoys singing and playing games.  

Thank you for your help on the farm, Destiny! And thank you, donors: your continued support means that Destiny is gaining skills that will enable her to grow into a healthy, self-reliant adult.

The Bug Banquet

And finally, a big THANK YOU to The Welsh Rabbit Bistro and Cheese Shop, Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch and everyone who attended the Bug Banquet benefitting FFO on May 5, 2019.  We had agreat time, eating great food in great company! Your support means the world to us!

On behalf of the children, the orphanages, and all of us at Farms for Orphans, thank you again for your interest in our work. You, dear donors, make this happen!

Sincerely,

Dr. Amy Franklin

Founder & CEO

Farms for Orphans, Inc

Silkworm farming
Silkworm farming
Cricket nymphs
Cricket nymphs
Dr. Musibono in Kinshasa
Dr. Musibono in Kinshasa
Chef Nate from The Welsh Rabbit Bistro
Chef Nate from The Welsh Rabbit Bistro
Destiny and FFO Youth Farmers
Destiny and FFO Youth Farmers

Links:

 
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