We are still working hard in Sierra Leone, doing what we do best, helping people recover from wars or disasters or sometimes both.
Our Programme Manager just returned from Bo and shared these two stories of people whose lives have been transformed thanks to our work.
From small beginnings:
Siata is a groundnut farmer and petty trader. She is married with a husband and four children who range in age from 8 to 24. Two of them are away in Freetown at school while two are with her at home in her village of Sorbeh Giema, in the Pujehun District of Sierra Leone.
She received a loan of one bushel of groundnut seeds from the Action on Poverty Community Based Group, where previously she could only afford to plant half a bushel. The harvest is due in July and she is expecting 20 bushels, from which she will repay the initial 1 bushel loan to the group for onward loaning to another member. She is expecting to get Le100,00 (i.e. about £13.50) per bushel at the market. However as the cultivated area was bigger than in the past she paid a labour gang about Le30,000 (£4.00) plus food to help her plant it up. There were no other additional costs or inputs, so her return should be a healthy one.
She has also taken a cash loan from the Community Based Group of Le300,000 (£40) to start up petty trading. This has gone well and she has already made 2 repayments. The business is growing and she would like to build up the business to do it long-term rather than the farming. So from small beginnings, with the right help and support, people can do incredible things..
Ansumanah is a rice farmer in the village of Sorbeh Giema, in the Pujehun District of Sierra Leone. He is married with 4 boys and 2 girls, 3 of whom go to school. He borrowed 1 bushel of rice seed from the scheme supported by the Action on Poverty project, so this year increased his acreage from 2 to 3 bushels, which should take the yield up to 18 bushels. The harvest is due in September and the price he’s likely to get should be around Le80,000 (or £11) per bushel. He plans to spend this increased income on school fees and, hopefully, to build himself a new house in the village. Long-term he would like to build and rent out a house in Bo, the nearest large town.
During his visit, our Programme Manager heard just how much support from the UK means to people there. He reported:
“On a practical level, of course, Action on Poverty’s support has enabled people like Siata and Ansumanah to start planting again and grow more crops. But also psychologically, the local organisation in Sierra Leone said how much they appreciated our partnership as the country faced the worst Ebola crisis the world has ever seen – a friend in need is a friend indeed. Thankfully, while the epidemic is not yet beaten, the worst appears to be over, but the road to recovery will be long, and we need your support to continue this important and valued work.”