Empowering Women with Viable Seeds.
For planting season to be fruitful in any rural community the availability of seeds is paramount. These seeds; be it rice, groundnut or millet should be in abundance in communitiies so that women can have access to them to plant. With the absence of women having access to seeds, people who have access to them make fortunes with these seeds. They often lend to women and give them harsh conditions when they harvest their crops “this was a real problem in our community” Kadiatu Kamara one of the women who benefited from ActionAid’s seeds
we are really happy that we the women of kamba community can no longer credit seeds, even if one of us don’t have money to buy seeds, through our seed bank we can give them seeds..thanks to ActionAid”
After the Ebola outbreak, through the government recovery programme, communities livelihoods faced great challenges, majority of the seed banks were empty due to the Ebola, as there was no farming at that time. So, restoring that was ActionAid’s focus which ushered in the provision of seeds to community women to plant “we thought it fit to provide the women with seeds so that they can get enough to plant” Duramani explains.
Kadiatu KAMARA, 40s, living in Kamba village in Kambia District benefited from the seeds supplied “I benefited from rice and ground nuts and was able to plant in a huge farm” Kadiatu explains. Kadiatu together with other women in the Kamba community set themselves to plant and get more yield “we did not expect to see the amount of rice and ground nuts that we had” Kadiatu. Seeing that the seeds are viable, the women set themselves in helping more women in the community “we want our companions not to credit seeds anymore, as they will not have enough to eat, so we reserved more seeds which we shared” Kadiatu.
Each woman after the harvest was able to get enough seeds, have more to sell and above all plenty to eat. Seeing that they can now produce plenty, ActionAid decided to form these women into village savings and Loan group (VSLA) as it was but fitting for them to start leaning the culture of saving “we want to bless ActionAid, after giving us seeds, they now form us into group, with this group its more blessing” Kadiatu informs. With this group women, who cannot benefit from the seeds can now loan some money and buy seeds so that they can plant “we are really happy that we the women of Kamba can no longer credit seeds, even if one of us don’t have money to buy seeds, through our seed bank we can give them seeds” Kadiatu again.
In last year’s harvest, the women of Kamba were able to get over 50 bushels of rice, more than 80 bushels of groundnut and over 40mbags of millet, this gave them enough to share amongst themselves and then each one of them decide the portion each will sell and what will be left to eat and the one to replant. Furthermore, ActionAid did not only give them seeds, but built their capacity in productive farming “that training helped us also, especially in the rice planting, we were showed how to scatter our seeds properly and how to make water drainages for swamp rice” Kadiatu explains.
With her own shares Kadiatu was able to save a lot to plant again, sell and help in the up keep of the home.
ActionAid Sierra Leone through the Kambia Local Rights Programme, has supplied over 60 women's group pf 30 members each with seeds they use to plant. with their harvest the women can now boast of plenty seeds which they can use for themselves and can help other women with.