Across East Africa the first growing season of the year is well underway. In South Sudan specifically, vegetable seeds were recently sewn in nurseries and then transplanted into gardens. We are happy to report that gardens are underway!
In South Sudan, we are partnering with Women Relief Aid, a grassroots, women-led NGO based in Juba, that provides humanitarian assistance and community development throghout underserved communities in the country.
In Torit, Eastern Equatoria State, we are supporting community-wide food security via 'community club gardens,' ran and managed by young people in rural households. These community club gardens support more than just vegetable production and food security for those at-risk of economic, conflict, and environmental-related shocks: they strengthen community and intercommunal resource sharing, promote solidarity, and create a learning network for climate-smart agricutlrual practices.
In this project, 100 club members are receiving an intensive training of vegetable production, climate-smart agriculture practices, and crop diversification. Preference for training participation is based upon need, and the majority of our trainees are at-risk teenage mothers.
These young women have been managing the community club gardens throughout Torit county. Community members receive guidance and training from the trained club members, making these gardens a hub for community learning and knowledge sharing.
Through this program, a ripple effect of increased vegetable production will spread across these communities.
As the growing season continues, training progresses, and harvests begin, we can’t wait to share more progress updates with you!
Thank you for supporting projects like this one. Remember - East Africa is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years, making garden projects all the more important. At SPI, we believe that we all deserve to have enough food on our tables to feed our loved ones.
the SPI team
Did you know that globally, over one third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted? In developing agricultural communities this statistic can reach over 75 percent of a farmer’s yield. This difference in percentage is due to a surplus of crops in the market during harvest season and a lack of capacity to safely and reliably preserve the produce beyond the harvest season. Food that cannot be eaten or sold goes to waste. The dry season is often referred to as the hunger season, or lean season, in which children and adults experience seasonal wasting (loss of body mass) which often leads to permanent stunting. Crops and the income earned by selling the crops at market are meant to last farmers and their families through the dry season and into the next harvest. This season between harvests, can be a dangerous period of time when the food and profits from the harvest have been exhausted and rural farming communities struggle with poverty, malnutrition, and other afflictions stemming from food insecurity.
In 2022, Seed Programs International partnered with Preserve International to work with four women's farm groups in Yumbe, Uganda. The women participants all currently reside in the Bidi Bidi Refugee settlement, which is the largest refugee settlement in Uganda. Women in the refugee settlement often lack basic necessities such as food, health care, psychological care, education, and opportunities to work. Many are dependent on food rations. This partner program aims to train the women in agriculture, food preservation, and marketing skills to empower the women to grow their food, preserve it for sustenance and sale in the dry season, and earn an income.
Thus far in 2022 two women's groups, with a total of 50 women, have started work: the Saalama Women's Farm Group and the Joy Women's Farm Group. They received five outreach trainings, grew okra, cowpea, kale, jute mallow, and tomato, and received farming resources such as rope and watering cans. The women were also given sparky dryers to preserve the food that was not consumed or sold at market. Sparky dryers are an invention local to Uganda that dehydrates food and runs on biofuel. In 2023, work with these two women's groups will continue and two additional women's groups will join the program.
Thank you for joining and supporting this work. We could not do it without you! Stay tuned for additional program updates!
At Seed Programs International, one of our primary foci is on ensuring women have equal access to agricultural training, supplies, and seeds. We do this because despite women comprising roughly half of the world’s agricultural labor force, they continue to be under resourced compared their male counterparts. What’s more, according to the UN FAO, if women have the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%.
Of equal importance for us, is what women contribute to their communities. It’s estimated that a woman invests 85% of her income back into her family and community, compared to 35% for a man. This means that when we invest in women, we also invest in education for their children, better health outcomes for their family, and overall community development.
One of our flagship projects that highlights women in agriculture is with Taaru Askan Farm and Tostan International in Senegal. There, we are working on a multi-year project to train selected women from rural, Senegalese villages in a multi-day intensive training in organic and regenerative agricultural practices. This year, we are working with 3 villages in spreading organic, regenerative agricultural practices. Following the intensive training the selected women receive, they return to their villages and in turn train other women in their villages, creating a positive feedback loop on both spreading sustainable agricultural techniques while uplifting the status and empowerment of women in their respective villages. So far this year, over 120 women have been trained in regenerative agriculture.
Through this project, we are changing the way in which rural Senegalese villages farm, while also providing important resources and to women to balance the scales in a traditionally gender-unequal society.
Pleas enjoy some of these photos of the work these women have been up to. Through this project, they have diversified their crops, are earning more income than before, and have improved nutrition significantly throughout their villages.
When you donate to SPI, you donate to women around the world to change their circumstances for the better. Even more, you donate to creating food systems that do right by the planet.
Hi there folks,
We're excited to share some exciting project updates for 2022. Just as growing season is upon us here in North America, so too has the planting and growing season kicked off in many parts of the tropics over the last few months. And here in our world, that means lots of new projects, with partners new and old alike. It's one of our favorite times of the year.
Today, we'd like to share with you in broad strokes a few exciting things going on in SPI's world. We want to share two of our projects that are underway–new seeds in the ground getting ready to sprout.
Mughende Women's Association in Kasese, Uganda:
In Kasese, Uganda, a small area in Western Uganda, we are partnering with a women's farmer association to support their efforts in expanding agricultural activities via training, access to capital, and garden inputs. Together, we are supporting a 10-day farmer training that focuses on vegetable growing, rather than staple crop growing (think large planting of cereal crops, like maize, sorghum or beans). We call these vegetable gardens 'kitchen gardens,' as they are frequently smaller in size than ceral crop plots and are frequently nearby to the home to ensure proper maintenance and easy harvesting. In addition to the farming training, a business marketing training is included as well, to help the women learn how to market their new vegetables. Through this project, we will be supporting gardens for a 1,000 women-headed households. Stay tuned for more updates later in the season!
Mujeres Trabajando por Tecpán (Women working with Tecpán) in Guatemala:
Tecpán is a women's group in Guatemala that we have been supporting since 2018. Through their program, they support women-headed households in rural Guatemala in multiple areas of their lives; income, health, educaiton, and agriculture. Our work with them supports agricultural projects, and this year, we are gearing up to work with 125 women to provide them with agricultural training, seed inputs and garden tool inputs for them to increase their food production and increase opportunities for income to bettter support their families. We look forward to sharing with you more about the women supported through this project as time goes on!
These are just two of many women's groups that we are supporting this year. And thanks to supporters like you, we are able to increase capital, access to opportunities, and improved livelihood for women around the world, all whilst building food security and climate resilience in an ever changing world. Thank you for your continued to support.
Want to expand your impact? Share our page with 3 friends and see if you can triple your giving! If you have any questions or want to learn more about us, please reach out. We'd love to hear from you.
the SPI team
Recently, we had the privilege of partnering with AMPATH to introduce vegetable farming to Group Integrated Savings and Health Empowerment (GISHE) members in western Kenya. Both GISHE and AMPATH are supporting the new Universal Health Coverage initiatives in Busia County. Our first quarter reports are in, and we are happy to announce several successful activities from the program.
At the beginning of 2021, Group Empowerment Service providers (GESPS) members were debriefed on the Seed Project International program. AMPATH, Amiran, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health provided facilitators to train GESPS participants and familiarize them with vegetable farming needs. Then, 10 demo sites were selected to help model best practices and gain practical experience farming. The nearly 600 beneficiaries selected by AMPATH’s Social Behavioral Team (SBT) will primarily be maintaining a sack garden. We supplied spinach, onion, tomato, watermelon, capsicum, kale and coriander seeds to AMPATH and their training officers who then distributed the seeds to the beneficiaries.
There were some minor setbacks like delays in availing seeds to beneficiaries, a shortage in choice of seeds, and a limited number of seeds, however, we plan on bridging the gap quickly. In the next quarter, we plan on helping establish the demo plots by availing necessary equipment, transplanting seeds from nurseries, distributing vertical sacks, and keeping up-to-date with the team’s progress.
Two participants have shared their stories about the impact of our blossoming program. The first comes from Ester, a founding member of Mama Murindi’s self-help group, in the surrounding village. In 2015 Ester started agribusiness activities with the help of her husband and children but reported having some difficulties managing crops. She knew she needed training but her opportunities were limited until AMPATH organized their vegetable garden training. She believes that through the best practices training she received she is better equipped to manage her vegetable crops and tackle disease/pest damage. When our seeds were delivered mid-April, Ester was one of our beneficiaries who received the seeds at no cost. Now, she can provide extra nutrition to her family and increase her business’s profits.
Our second perspective comes from Abdalla, a GISHE group trainer and farmer in Makunda village. He is also one of the farmers who received tomato, onion, kale, coriander, capsicum, watermelon and spinach seeds. Abdalla praises the vegetable gardening training for supporting him and his livelihood. He has also voiced concern about crop management causing problems with his production and sales. Abdalla cites the virtual Integrated Pest Management training, which provided pesticide-free avenues for crop protection, as being particularly useful and he plans to incorporate it on his farm. Producing safe, healthy crops for himself and the market enable him, like Ester, to ensure his family and community are well-nourished. Taking his skills further, as an experienced leader and trainer, Abdalla has offered to host a demo plot to help support other beneficiaries. He prepared the seed beds by applying the skills he learned at the January training.
New projects like our partnership with AMPATH are made possible by your continued support. We would like to extend a sincere thank you for your help to enable our team to make a difference in the lives of Abdalla, Ester, and nearly 600 others through this program alone.
-- The SPI Team
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