In between the growing seasons, Fatima and others in her village buy and sell basic goods to keep earning income. World Renew’s partner in Sierra Leone, Christian Extension Services (CES), has been working with the people of Bendukura since 2010. With CES, they created a village development committee which established priorities for their village. Fatima was elected as the committee’s chairperson.
The village development committee began by focusing first on food security. They implemented a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security program, where a core group of farmers was given two bushels of improved husk rice as seed to plant and pay back with an additional half bushel of rice after harvest. This seed was then made available to another group of farmers, now over 50 women.
“Our plan and hope,” says Fatima, “is to make sure that every woman farmer in our community will benefit from this project, so that we don’t have to go to neighboring communities looking for seed to plant or food for our families.”
With the proceeds from her own harvests, Fatima was able to purchase a female goat which has given birth to three billy goats.
“I thank God for Christian Extension Services and their donor partner, World Renew, and their involvement in our community,” says Fatima. “Lives in Bendukura have been transformed and women have been empowered.”
The work in Bendukura community continued with the completion of other development priorities, including a community primary school. With the success of the agriculture program, Fatima and her family have the funds to send their children to the newly completed school, and her oldest daughter recently completed and passed her West Africa Basic Education Certificate Examination!
“Now all my five children are going to school and we have enough food to eat everyday,” Fatima rejoices.
With Christian Extension Services’ support, the village of Bendukura has also built a grain storage building and a floor to dry the grain, rehabilitated two abandoned wells so villagers no longer have to drink unsafe stream water, and begun a village savings and loan program which allows villagers to save and take out micro-loans for children’s school fees, family health care, farm tools, and fertilizer. With a smile on her face, Fatima celebrates that “our lives in the Bendukura community have changed for the better.”
Daniel Lepp Friesen
World Renew Sierra Leone