|Photo by Jay Wittmeyer|
|An enclosure for raising chickens in Nigeria|
The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) has given several grants recently, including an allocation of $60,000 to PAG in Honduras, and $40,000 to an agriculture project of the Rural Development Program of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Also receiving grants of smaller amounts were a Brethren group in the Congo, and a Friends church in Rwanda.
The $60,000 grant to Proyecto Aldea Global in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, supports work with the Lenca people in animal raising projects over two years. Funds will support animal purchases, staff and training costs, materials, and transportation. Church of the Brethren member Chet Thomas works with PAG in Honduras.
PAG estimates about 60 families per year will be served. “The first five families in each community are selected based on their poverty situation, needs, but they must be known as responsible persons who have a small piece of land to build their pig pens, chicken coops, fish pond, or maybe have a place to place their bee hives. Then there are a second set of families selected and they are trained and are responsible to the first set of families and on it goes,” explained the grant request. “The challenge is that most poor families need some place to start and when you are indigent, you have no land of your own or even to build a house, so farming is out of the question. However we have worked with similar families who have been able to plant a small but renewable food supply on very small pieces of land…. More importantly we can help them establish a small economic micro business that can provide a sustainable income.”
PAG’s goals for the funds are three-fold: production of year-round food for the families who take part, improvement of families’ nutritional intake, and improvement of families’ abilities to have a small business and improve their economic income.
The $40,000 grant to EYN will fund a two-year poultry, fish, and pig raising project, which will in turn allow the Rural Development Program to continue funding the supply of agricultural inputs such as veterinary medicines, improved varieties of seeds, and fertilizers to local farmers in over 80 communities. These items are purchased in bulk and resold at a fair price to rural farmers, who would otherwise not have access to them. The grant request explains that in Dec. 2012, EYN leadership pulled together a panel of experts from across the denomination to plan for ways to raise funds, identify strengths and weaknesses of the current program, and develop a strategic plan for bringing new direction to the programs of RDP. The animal raising projects are designed to be a significant income generator and would be established on land owned by EYN near its headquarters. The church also will seek donations and loans from EYN members toward the cost of the projects.
“At this time of great instability and violence, EYN leaders wish to expand their agricultural services to their neighbors–demonstrating hope and love when all around there is hate and fear,” said GFCF manager Jeff Boshart.
An Evangelical Friends church in Rwanda has received a grant of $5,000 for the ETOMR (Evangelistic and Outreach Ministries of Rwanda) program to train Pygmy families in agriculture. The grant request explains that the Pygmies (Batwa) are 1 percent of the population of Rwanda and normally live by hunting in forests. However many forests have been cleared or are being used as national reserves. ETOMR will offer training in modern farming skills and resources such as seeds to help Pygmy families establish farms and become self-supporting.
Eglise des Freres de Congo, a self-identified Brethren group, also is receiving a grant of $5,000 for similar work. The Brethren group also is working with Pygmy people in the Congo to help them develop skills and resources for agriculture through a project called Shalom Ministry and Reconciliation in Development (SHAMIREDE). The project hopes to improve the lives of 100 families through teaching techniques and methods of sowing different crops such as cassava and bananas. The funds also will purchase seeds and the necessary tools and agricultural equipment.
Find the latest Global Food Crisis Fund newsletter at www.brethren.org/gfcf/stories .