The community of Aberdeen in Freetown, Sierra Leone consists of poor fishing families, that have lost most of their resources due to the Ebola outbreak and are now suffering from the consequences of the current pandemic. To alleviate poverty, the We Are the Future centre provides children with an education, daily warm school meals and trains the youth and women in gardening to improve their employability. Their community garden provides fresh vegetables and aims to reduce food security.
Currently, 49% of Sierra Leone's population are food insecure, affecting poor communities the most. In urban areas high market prices and low access to fruits and vegetables determine food availability. Children of our community in Aberdeen, Freetown often come to school on an empty stomach, some even drop out to help provide for their families. The Ebola crisis has caused a great recession and current governmental efforts to fight food insecurity have been put on hold due to Covid-19.
The WAF center aims to improve food insecurity through three pathways. The community garden, improves access to nutritious food and self-sufficiency. Serving one well-balanced school meal to 150 students of the WAF school, directly improves their nutritional status and enables them to focus on their studies. Training the youth and women in gardening, empowers them to share their knowledge with the community, improves their employability and thus the ability to provide for their future family.
A Healthy lunch every day, improves the students' nutritional status, and consequently, improves their overall health, cognitive development, boosts their academic performance, reduces dropout rates, while providing relief to their caregivers. Involving the community in the gardening process increases awareness of the link between planting seeds and eating food, inspiring them to start their own gardens, improving access to food, economical status and their resilience to future disasters.