Impact Sierra Leone (ISL) kicked off a “Seeds of Life Initiative” with a local primary school in Foindu Village, Sierra Leone. Located in the Northern provinces, Foindu has a high illiteracy rate, limited access to markets, very few job opportunities, and poor health facilities – all of which contribute to limited sustainable development opportunities.
Additionally, there is no secondary school so the children have to travel to neighboring villages for post primary education; yet, it is surrounded by vast agricultural land, beautiful waters and people who truly desire a better community with hopes for a brighter future. In Foindu, there is only one primary school. ISL has established a relationship with the school and its staff and have learned that their biggest need is food. There are 150 students attending this primary school each day that includes a total of 69 girls and 81 boys. Many of these children do not get adequate nutrition and feeding at home. Most consume rice (as this is the most available and desired food) and the majority suffer from extreme hunger and poverty. Currently the kids eat before and after school in their homes. The school hours are from 8:30am to 2:30pm with no school feeding which is a very long day without food & snacks.
ISL recognized the need for food and decided to assist by helping the school grow produce that can be provided to the kids for added nourishment. Studies show that a child who has better nutrition and diet will perform better in school.Our focus for this initiative is to promote wellness and increase access to nutritious food among the primary school students.
This project will provide produce to students at the end of the harvest season. This initiative is of special importance because farming and fishing are the main sources of income for the general population. We also hope to promote female empowerment and inspire the young girls to advance their knowledge in agriculture. Research has shown that amongst the girls in rural Sierra Leone, there is a high dropout rate, high rates of teenage pregnancy, making them the most vulnerable among populations served.
Currently, farm leaders in rural communities are primarily male. We want our efforts to inspire a future generation of empowered female farm leaders through skills training and development.Through donations and grant funding, the children and staff will be able to plant/grow a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the year allowing us to achieve ISL’s Sustainable Development goals including Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well Being. Through donations from our supporters, we will be planting the following produce: maize, cucumbers, peppers, okra, yams, potatoes, ginger, sweet berries, pineapples and more.
ISL donated seedling, farm tools and fertilizer for this project. On April 19th, the first day of the initiative, ISL staff along with the students and teachers planted okra and the children were extremely excited. These planting activities took place after their school day with the heavy labor completed by ISL staff.
The following week, the kids planted cucumbers and pineapples using recycled pineapple suckers. Impact Sierra Leone commemorated Earth Day by teaching kids how important agriculture and sustainable development will be for their families. In addition, ISL provided wellness pictures to teach the children health benefits of the produce they will be growing. Our future goal is to develop a Wellness Program to help improve the health of this community.
We are transforming this community through compassion step by step. We look forward to a great harvest and the opportunity to make a great impact in Foindu Village through Sustainable Development. We welcome donations via http://www.impactsierraleone.org so we can purchase more seeds and tools for the Children’s Farm. United We Stand and Together We Rise!
Written by: Yeabu Conteh