Richard Aparco of Peru stood nervously before about 50 people at Assumption Parish in O'Fallon and discussed crop rotation and yields, organic fertilizer, greenhouses, irrigation and more.
An agronomist coordinator of a Foods Resource Bank program in Peru coordinated by Lutheran World Relief, Aparco added a bushel of thanks to supporters of the Christian response to world hunger.
Speaking with the help of translator Alex Morse of Kansas City, Kan., the first-time visitor to the United States
Several countries in West African have been fighting an Ebola outbreak for the past several months and the disease continues to spread. There are now 6 countries in the region where the disease has been found – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Senegal.
One of the countries hardest hit is Sierra Leone where we have two FRB programs
As FRB’s Malawi-Kasungu-Mzimba program draws to a close, a report marks the program’s success and indicates that lives and livelihoods have been strengthened with training and support. In one of the world’s least-developed countries (171 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index), farmers have had to face such challenges as declining soil fertility, plant and soil diseases and pests, lack of access to water, and the high risks of depending on one crop (maize) for survival.
The program’s focus has been on expanding and strengthening agricultural-based livelihoods through the introduction of crop diversification and appropriate agricultural production techniques like
Participants from FRB’s Timor Leste-Viqueque program recently reviewed their first-year progress and gave feedback on program strengths and weaknesses during a “beneficiary accountability” meeting. They expressed gratitude for updates from program staff on project goals and objectives and for the chance to weigh in, stating that it was the first time any programming organization had taken the time to report back to them or ask them their opinions.
Before becoming a Private Service Provider (PSP), Abraham, now with FRB's Sierra Leone-Koinadugu program, was unemployed and did not have enough money to pay for his school fees. When he went home to visit his family on holiday, he heard of a CRS program training individuals to become experts in Savings and Internal Lending Communities(SILC) methodology. Immediately, Abraham recognized this as a great opportunity and enrolled himself in the training program. Four years later, he is a stand-out among his PSP peers and is recognized as CRS’s most successful PSP to date,as evidenced by his new motorbike.
Three years ago Alie Bangura, known locally as Pa Alie, was a subsistence farmer and a driver on the side. His fields were unproductive, his family undernourished, and his children uneducated. To make matters worse, when Pa Alie’s vehicle broke down, he could not afford to repair it and therefore lost his job as a driver. Today, however, Pa Alie is a business owner and respected chairman of his SILC (savings and internal loan club)group as part of FRB's Sierra Leone-Koinadugu program.
Like most others in the village of Gberia Timbakor, Dusuba struggled to meet her family’s necessities––food, shelter, and education. With a husband and six children, her small rice and groundnut farm was not enough to meet those needs. That is, until she joined a SILC group through FRB's Sierra Leone-Koinadugu program. Now, she says, she has overcome all of her obstacles.
Sirah is one of the most respected farmers in her community today due to her hard work, ingenuity, and how she’s managed the money she’s saved through her SILC (Savings and Internal Lending Community) group. SILCs are supported by Foods Resource Bank’s Sierra Leone-Koinadugu program to enable and encourage farmers to save money for agricultural inputs and starting small businesses.
A successful and socially conscious Savings and Internal Lending Community (SILC) in FRB’s Malawi-Kasungu-Mzimba program has used its emergency social fund to cheer the sick at a local hospital and health center.
All SILCs set aside a portion of the interest earned from loans for a “social fund” to cover members’ emergencies like illness, funerals, and calamities. This particular SILC had been fortunate enough not to have needed to use its fund, and the amount kept growing. Considering what to do with the money, the group decided to share the bounty at an area hospital and a health center with special donations.