This month’s program highlight brings us back to Liberia, where SPI partner REAP (the Restoration of Educational Advancement Program) is providing women with access to resources and education.
One way REAP facilitates empowerment for young girls and other students is by integrating school gardens and agriculture training into primary school curriculums. More than 30% of students in the schools return to rural areas to farm for a living after graduation. While both young boys and girls benefit from the training, it is especially important for young girls to learn these skills. REAP Founder, Mayor Christine Norman of Bentol, shares:
“[Education] helps the girls avoid dependence on men for food and financial security, and they can share what they learn. … Women pass these skills to future generations, helping to raise children who are similarly self-sufficient and empowered — future farmers who are prepared to feed themselves and their community.”
“Passing it on” is a critical component for long-term self-sufficiency. Last year, REAP conducted a three-day training for 30 women from Bentol City, Liberia and its surrounding villages. Farmers learned how to take a soil sample; differentiate between inorganic and organic fertilizers; apply fertilizers in several ways; and clean their vegetables after the harvest. For additional support, REAP also contacted the University of Liberia’s Agricultural Department to provide three trainers to train the farmers. This is truly the community coming together to power its own success!
“[D]ue to the numerous calls by these women to be trained in the uses of fertilizer and postharvest hygiene practices related to the use of fertilizer, REAP decided to hold a three-day training in the Types and Uses of fertilizer and how to clean harvested vegetables.” — Venny, REAP Executive Director
Not only did 30 women from different communities learn how to use fertilizer, but five women were also educated as trainers for future gatherings. These women have the power to train others in their communities and ensure that future generations will benefit from their own investment. By educating themselves, these exceptional farmers have expanded their repertoire of agricultural skills, bolstering their communities’ resilience against future disaster.
This is just one example of women “passing it on” to other women to facilitate empowerment within their communities. Your support through Sweet Blossom Gifts helps make this possible.