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Strengthen 100 Vulnerable Households in Calabar

by Charles Edet Effiong Foundation
Strengthen 100 Vulnerable Households in Calabar
Strengthen 100 Vulnerable Households in Calabar
Strengthen 100 Vulnerable Households in Calabar
Strengthen 100 Vulnerable Households in Calabar
Strengthen 100 Vulnerable Households in Calabar
Strengthen 100 Vulnerable Households in Calabar


March 2020


Our goal for the project from inception has been to work with the most vulnerable women-led households in our target communities to move them a position of core poverty and dependence on handouts to one of the self-provision of necessities for their households.  

In the first phase of the project, we enrolled forty women who are caregivers of their households with an average of four children in each household. These women are responsible for shelter, clothing, feeding, education, and healthcare for their children. These women averaged income of about N5000 or $15 per month in addition to growing much of their food.

These women were qualified by the utilization of the national vulnerability tool and qualified as very vulnerable. They also had to have a small portion of land to grow the crops and agree to be trained, sign an agreement that stipulated their operational guidelines and agreed to be bound by it.

At inception, they were put through financial literacy and agricultural training. Agricultural inputs were then provided for them and they were monitored by the project team for adherence to guidelines with planting, watering, and management of the crops.

Despite these measures, the results from this phase were mixed. It was difficult to get many of the beneficiaries to abide by the agreement they had signed. Despite training, they struggled to manage the higher income crops introduced to them and after these were grown required support to sell them. Some with smaller parcels of land didn’t produce as much as was required. Too much of the sales income was consumed, breaking the productivity cycle. Our beneficiaries struggled to save the minimum amounts from sales despite that this was limited to 20% and often spent on their necessities.

Last quarter, we decided to take a step back to evaluate the pilot in order to improve on the subsequent phases. Working with feedback from the beneficiaries we decided that we would no longer introduce any crops they were not familiar with but would support the two main crops that these women cultivate for sale. These are two vegetables, known as sense and water leaves.

Our women and the communities in which they reside have years of expertise in the cultivation and sales of these crops. These crops are also all-season crops and do well all through the year. There is also an established practice of buying easily available planting stalks for replanting each monthly cycle amongst the women in these communities. This bodes well for continuous planting cycles and income sustainability. Also,  we decided to drop from the project all those who were uncommitted, refused or failed to comply with the agreement as well as those who didn’t have sufficient portions of land and replace with those who had land and were prepared to be committed and comply.

After completing this re-evaluation, over the last few weeks we commenced the process of re-evaluating and enrolment of replacement beneficiaries for the project. The beneficiaries for this next phase will next undergo orientation and training before inputs are provided for them over the next few weeks. It is believed that with the additional measures we would see an improvement in outcomes and in the long term have beneficiaries who graduate from the program and can sustainably provide for their households for the long term.


Thank you  

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Report 24/12/2019


In the quarter under review, the focus of the project team was on evaluation of the project towards ensuring the sustainability of its benefits. The beneficiaries had reaped their first harvests and we were anxious to see a reinvestment of the funds and a progression towards sustainability, after all the objective of the project was to make progress beyond direct disbursement of benefits as we were already doing with payment of school and health expenses to support the beneficiaries in income generation so they could take up the responsibility for providing for their households themselves.

Our first hurdle was to overcome the challenge the beneficiaries faced in selling their produce. Almost all of them seemed unable to do so by themselves and required support to find buyers. The project team was therefore engaged in helping to find and negotiate in their behalf. Since the object of the project was beneficiary financial independence this was not a good sign.

Unfortunately, more challenges were to follow as the returns from sales were largely not invested in a second crop. In almost all cases most of the returns were expended on food and survival by the beneficiaries. The fact that some of the crops that made up the initial investment were seasonal crops with replanting materials not easily available locally to the beneficiaries may have contributed to this.

This has caused a fundamental shift in our strategy on the project going forward. Rather than try to get the beneficiaries to invest in any crop they have not mastered our focus would be supporting them to strengthen their efforts with the one or two all season crops most of them are engaged in and understand their value chain these fare waterleaf and sense leaf.

The cultivation of these two plants seem to be what is understood by most women in the communities were the project is being run. The young stalks for planting of these crops are affordable and available locally and typically cost N5,000 ($15) and N10,000 ($30) per bed (10m2). They are easy to manage and secure (not subject to theft or vandalism). They typically mature and are ready for sale in a month. Their sales are pretty straightforward with ready buyers and an established price (100% of the investment) and the women are used to re-investing for their sustainable cultivation.

Since the women are used to these crops and know how and where to sell them and where to get the young stalks for replanting the challenges with the crops that were previously introduced should be overcome. Our plan going forward is to support our beneficiaries in the planting and cultivation of these crops from January 2020.  



During the last few months progress on the project faced a few challenges, our analysis of the issues has brought us to the conclusion that the beneficiaries would do better with cultivation, management  and sales of the simpler crops they have a long history of planting rather than any new crops that may be introduced to them which they may find difficult to understand and manage. We have therefore decided to default to supporting them in this effort going forward.


Thank you   



Asari Nakanda

Monitoring & Evaluation Officer.

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Fourth Quarter Report 7/9/2019


In the quarter under review, the project team’s effort was focused on ensuring the beneficiaries demonstrated the skills acquired during the financial literacy training by promoting and marketing of their farm produce, record keeping, budgeting and expenditure. In order to promote market value for the produce from our beneficiaries’ farms, the project team with the collaboration of the agro-economist consultant scouted for off-takers who would readily purchase the produce at fair prices, to enable the farmers plan for the next planting period. The crops harvested by our beneficiaries were corn, okra and pepper.


Activities conducted during this period include:

  • Project performance review meeting.
  • Key Performance Indicator review (KPI)
  • Marketing farm produce and sales
  • Documentation (Keeping of Financial Records)
  • Financial projection analysis and saving group
  • Fund raising and enrollment of the last 60 beneficiaries
  • Evaluation

Project Performance Review Meeting                    

The PCEF project team, agro-consultant and the beneficiaries took time to review the process from the enrollment of households, plan preparation, soil treatment, planting, weeding, pest control, harvesting and sales. The team members evaluated the processes and appreciated the beneficiaries who invested their time and energy in the project. The team also expressed displeasure at some beneficiaries who through their lackadaisical attitude, had not invested the effort required to achieve the agreed upon objectives in their households. They charged all caregivers to maximize the opportunity to better their lives as the project had a fixed life span.

The agro-economist during the meetings, emphasized on the importance of keeping good records and adhering to technical instructions. One of the beneficiaries on behalf of others sang a song of thanksgiving.

She said “this project came at a good time and I thank everybody that put money together to help us. As I sold my produce, I and my children have fed well with the farm produce and with the money realized from the sales. I will enroll the children in school this September as the savings groups will enable me borrow to add up and pay for their fees” .

Finally, everyone present attested to the fact that the outcome of the project was remarkable and it would create a great impact in due course.



Report per each indicator

1. Number of Caregivers Enrolled (Target 100, Achieved 40)

2. Number of OVC Enrolled (Target 400, Achieved 160)

3. Number of beneficiaries served (Target 500 Achieved 200)

4. Number of caregivers enrolled into saving group (Target 40 Achieved 25)

5. Number of beneficiaries with improved vulnerability status (Target 40 Achieved 35)





Marketing as one the key elements of the financial literacy instruction that was emphasized during the training. However, the beneficiaries didn’t demonstrate this knowledge and relied on the technical team to assist in the marketing of the farm produce. This is a challenge that needs to be addressed in future harvests as it is unsustainable. However there presently exists a strong collaboration between the off-takers and the beneficiaries with the technical team standing in as middle men to ensure fairness. The farm produce sold was bought at fair prices by the off-takers. Most beneficiaries were observed to have recorded their transactions (income/expenditure) in their farm record books.



This part of the report will focus on the critical analysis of the input, activities, output, outcome and impact. Data from the baseline (Where they were) will be compared with the present situation (Where they are) and were we want them to be. Ten households (HH) were randomly selected for this analysis. The result has shown that the 31 households which had their harvest ready and made sales that were averaging below 18,000 monthly earned above 27,000 on the average over the three months in the quarter after sales of their farms produce. This was confirmed by our monitoring and evaluation team after analysis of their record books. This trend must not only be sustained but built on. Our goal is that these households will eventually average N50,000 per month or 600,000 per annum. With careful management they would be in a position to take responsibility of their nutrition, clothing, education and healthcare bills etc. The evidence is that the livelihoods of the households participating in the project are being changed. This encourages to solicit for more support as we attempt to reach the project target of empowering 100 vulnerable households.  






At project inception the management and project team of PCEF set the goal of taking 100 households from core poverty to financial sustainability in two years. This was to be achieved by empowering 100 caregivers with basic financial literacy knowledge, technical skills in cultivation of crops, health education, psychosocial support, life building skills, parenting skills and nutrition education. With the available resources the Foundation is in the process of achieving 40% of this target, and will outline a strategy to scale up its outreach quarterly till it achieves its target of 100 households over time.



The PCEF project monitoring and evaluation team visited all the project sites with monitoring tools. Adopting a participatory and discovering approach, the tools were administered and the following were the outcome.

  • Number of enrolled beneficiaries                                                                           =   40
  • Average earnings per month for the quarter for the households with a harvest                                                                                                                                                                                                =   27k
  • Number of beneficiaries who are ready to re-invest and replant                        =     24%
  • Number of HH with accurate farm records                                                         =     60%
  • Number of beneficiaries who have joined saving groups                                     =   50%
  • Number of beneficiaries who are saving above 1000 in a week                          =   20%.

From the results of the visits, the team resolved that, the number of home visits should be increased to six. The team also agreed that beneficiaries who are saving less than N1000 should be encouraged to increase their savings amount in a week, and a technical person must in be present at all savings group meetings. It was also agreed that the group account opening process should be fast-tracked in order to achieve 100% in each indicator.


CONCLUSION:  In the fourth phase of the project a lot of effort went in to ensuring that the produce from the farms were sold at a fair prices and financial records were properly kept. Also the project team identified new households for enrollment by administering the household vulnerability assessment form and child status index forms. Our next activity is to link all Village Savings and Loans Associations to the bank for account opening and to source for funding to enroll the already identified households.


We would like to close by appreciating everyone who has partnered to change the livelihoods of forty households, please continue to partner with us as we build on what we have achieved in successive quarters and incrementally scale up the project to reach the goal of 100 households.


Justine Apebende

Program Manager

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In this third quarter of the project under review, the project team’s attention was focused on ensuring the beneficiaries demonstrated the knowledge acquired during the technical training. Twenty new caregivers were enrolled, trained and supervised to plant the improved inputs supplied to them.

 Activities carried out during this period include:

  • Project team strategic planning meeting.
  • Distribution of inputs and planting
  • Application of fertilizer, pesticides and weeding
  • Enrollment of twenty caregivers for the second phase of the project
  • Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the twenty newly enrolled Caregivers.
  • Hands- on technical training
  • Land inspection, evaluation, preparation and fertilization. 


In order to adopt best practices and learn new strategies, a review meeting was organized with the project team, key stakeholders and the consultant to share reports from monitoring visits in order to identify challenges and develop solutions. From the reports provided by the monitoring teams, weekly visits were paid to the beneficiaries’ farm plots where issues such as non-compliance of a few beneficiaries to professional advice and the infestation of two farm plots with army worms (pests) were noticed. These issues as reported by the team were resolved by encouraging beneficiaries to comply with professional advice and tackling of the pest using recommended pesticides.


 FRIUITING OF CROPS: From the field visits, it was observed that most of the crops (especially okra) in the initial batch had begun fruiting. This stage however required different nutrients which beneficiaries applied to the crops with the assistance of the consultant who educated the beneficiaries on the type of nutrient to be provided to the plant, method of application and dosage.


As the project entered a new phase, the enrollment of new beneficiaries was necessary. This was done in collaboration with Africa Child Foundation (ACF). A pre-enrollment meeting was held with the farmers with Mr. Justine Apebende, Ms. Asari Nakanda and Mr. Arikpo of ACF present. At the meeting, the beneficiaries were oriented on the project objectives and the various processes and activities involved. Thereafter, twenty beneficiaries who met the criteria using the national OVC enrollment tool were enrolled into the program. The caregivers were then asked to prepare their plots for planting.


As part of the requirement for the newly enrolled caregivers and to ensure that each project stakeholder was aware of and adheres to his/her responsibilities as well as to build a stronger relationship and commitment between the various stakeholders. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) stating clearly the responsibilities of each stakeholder for the completion and sustainability of the project was explained. Finally, the MoU was signed by each of the caregivers and copies filed. The process was an eye opener for some beneficiaries who testified of getting a better understanding of the processes and the entire project after reading through the MoU. 



The need to build the capacity of the newly enrolled beneficiaries became a necessity as the caregivers were ready with their contributions to the project. They were therefore taken through a thorough technical training session. Training was done on land preparation, the use of organic fertilizers, weed control, mixed cropping etc. The beneficiaries thereafter prepared their plots for planting.



The following are the challenges encountered this third quarter:

  • Lack of commitment by some beneficiaries
  • Non-compliance of some beneficiaries to technical instructions
  • Lack of land
  • Poor cooperation by some community stakeholders


In order for the project to achieve its target. Over the next quarter we plan to:

Support the processes of

  • Harvesting and linking of the first twenty farmers to off takers
  • Fertilizer application and pest control for the second batch of twenty caregivers
  • Fund raising to support the enrollment of another batch of caregivers
  • Formation of Saving and Internal Lending Community (SILC) to promote saving among our empowered caregivers


During this phase of the project, the focus was ensuring that the crops grew as expected, pests were prevented, fertilizer application was done at the appropriate time, weeding was carried out to prevent competition among crops and weeds for soil nutrients and records were properly kept. Also in this phase another set of twenty beneficiaries were enrolled into the project. In the next quarter the plan is to link the first set of beneficiaries whose crops have started fruiting to off-takers and form them into a Saving and Internal Lending Community (SILC) or Village Saving and Lending Association (VSLA). This is to promote a savings and investment culture and planning amongst them for business growth. Finally, we are really grateful to everyone who has contributed to this project, so far your support is transforming the lives of forty households it is our conviction that by the end of the project we would have transformed the socio-economic status of 100 households. Thank you for your continued support.


 Please find the full report attached with photos.

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Strengthen 100 Vulnerable Households in Calabar

Second Quarter Report 8/3/2019

In the second quarter of the project under review, the focus of project team was geared towards ensuring the beneficiaries were adequately prepared to succeed on the project. Activities included:

  • Project meetings, review of the project plan and budget, review of the monitoring and evaluation plan, drafting of project documents, risk management etc.
  • Drafting and Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the initial twenty Caregivers for the households participating in the project as well as the agriculture consultant.
  • The conduct of Financial Literacy and Technical Training for the first twenty

enrolled Caregivers on the project.

  • Land inspection, evaluation, preparation and fertilization of the caregivers involved in the project. 



In other to ensure each project stakeholder was aware of and adheres to his/her responsibilities and to build a stronger relationship and commitment between the various stakeholders, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was drafted stating clearly the responsibilities of each stakeholder for the completion and sustainability of the project. 

The MoU was signed by for each beneficiary by both parties as well as one between the organisation and the consultants participating in the project.

The signing of this document was significant as it enables the beneficiaries understand the project better and increases their commitment and responsibility to it.


A two day capacity building workshop on financial literacy and best practices for cultivation of proposed crops for the first twenty enrolled caregivers took place at 139 Marina Road, Bayside, Calabar South, Calabar on Thursday January 31st – Friday February 1st 2019. The training was attended by 20 participants and it was aimed at achieving the following objectives:

  • To provide a detailed description of the project to the beneficiaries;
  • To educate beneficiaries on the importance of keeping financial records;
  • To educate beneficiaries on various methods of keeping financial records of their daily and monthly income and expenses;
  • To educate beneficiaries on relevant types of crop cultivation;
  • To educate beneficiaries on land preparation;
  • To educate beneficiaries on the use organic fertilizers and its benefits.


The technical sessions on financial literacy and crop cultivation were facilitated by Mr. Dennis Ikapli and Mr. Edwin Ayuk respectively, adopting a participatory and learner centered methodology. During the financial literacy sessions, Mr. Ikpali taught topics such as value for money, saving, budgeting and record keeping. At the end of his sessions, participants realized the importance of savings and record keeping and hence committed to doing so. This was significant because though many of the beneficiaries have been involved in business and petty trading very few if any had a culture of keeping records. Most of them didn’t see the need to. Record keeping is a new habit that they have to learn.

Mr. Ayuk on the other hand handled topics that had to do with crop cultivation addressing land preparation, production of organic manure, its application and its uses. He also held sessions on the various types of crop cultivation as well as the methods of crop cultivation where he spoke about the use of sack bags in situations where there is no land for direct planting.

Beneficiaries were evaluated after the trainings using a set of previously set questions based on training objectives. Results showed that most of the women (about 95.5%) understood the sessions and could put into practice what they have been taught.



Ensuring the availability of adequate land for the beneficiaries had been a major challenge to the project. Most had struggled to get land that was sizeable enough to achieve the desired targets.

 The land was their own contribution to ensure their commitment to the project. Several visits had to be made over the course of the last several weeks to inspect various tracts of proposed land. Beneficiaries who could not come up with their own tracts of land or who did not  show sufficient commitment at this stage were dropped from the project and an additional process of recruiting additional beneficiaries was done to achieve the minimum target number of twenty.

After the approval of land, it was now important to prepare the land for planting the beneficiaries had been taught how during the technical sessions of the workshop. To ensure highly productive and prompt responses from the beneficiaries the agricultural consultant Mr. Edwin Ayuk and the technical team of the Foundation paid a number of visits to the caregivers in their farms to conduct site monitoring and confirm readiness for planting.

It was observed that 90% of the beneficiaries had completed land preparation and application of organic fertilizers. Some beneficiaries made use of the sack bag gardening in the absence of adequate farm land. The women also proudly displayed their financial records showing resources they have expended so far.

Conclusion:  During this phase of the project a lot of attention has been paid to ensuring the beneficiaries are ready in terms of their attitude, commitment, knowledge and skills to embark on the activities designed to significantly enhance their income. Particular attention was paid by the monitoring team to understand the peculiar situations of each household. Those who fell short were dropped from the project and replaced with others. Our next activity is to provide them with the agricultural inputs required for cultivation.

We are grateful to everyone who has supported the project thus far. We are confident of its progress, the journey to sustainable successes is a long one we would continue to put one foot in front of the other as we walk down this path.


Thank You

Odo Effiong

Project Director.



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Organization Information

Charles Edet Effiong Foundation

Location: Calabar - Nigeria
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @pcefng
Project Leader:
Odo Effiong
Calabar, Cross River Nigeria

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