The CEO for Tear Fund Canada, Wayne Johnson who arrived in Sierra Leone for the first time has, together with their implementing partner, The Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone (EFSL) concluded a conducted tour of project implementing sites in the Port Loko District of Sierra Leone.
The EFSL Food Security and Livelihood Project Manager said their expertise over the years as a Para Church organization that has been over the years working towards transforming the lives of communities, has created the platform for them to secure funding opportunities from partners.
Mr. Gadiru Bassie said the project will target 300 households with orphans, Ebola survivors, widows, people living with HIV/AIDS and aged in 6 communities, who have access to farm land in Lokomasama chiefdom.
He reiterated his organisation’s commitment to continually provide the farming implements needed in the six communities they are operating; Kigbal, Khigbonor, Kathoma, Bross, Makankoh and Modiyadi; all located at the Lokomasama Chiefdom in Port Loko District. Mr. Bassi said their intervention through the support from Tear Fund Canada is centered on poverty alleviation in these communities.
It would be recalled that after Sierra Leone was hit with the Ebola Virus 2014, claiming the lives of many, families were affected and Port Loko was one of the districts that was badly hit and it left a negative impact on the socio-economic situation of households in the District.
Agricultural productivity has also been negatively affected as many farmers were unable to work. This has contributed to the reduction of income, food intake and poor nutrition, especially for orphaned children whose parents have died due to the Ebola virus.
It was for this reason that the EFSL through funding from Tear Fund Canada decided to work with these affected persons in these communities.
The CEO of Tear Fund Canada, Wayne Johnson during his tour in the six communities said, the goal for Tear Fund Canada is to help transform the lives of members of a community. He said his organization is committed to working through the local churches in countries they operate and they have chosen to partner with EFSL in Sierra Leone. He said their strategy is to work through a reputable organization that believes in national leadership.
He maintained that their projects will not be sustainable if they sit in Canada and work with a community in Sierra Leone, but working through a reputable institution like EFSL will yield the desired fruit they want.
‘’ We are convince that partners like EFSL is actually building up the capacity of their communities to solve their own problem and the best option of supporting the communities in Sierra Leone is by working through local churches to build their capacity by helping them to solve their own problem which in the end will make the desired impact and there will be true sustainability of their project, ‘’ he opined.
Mr. Wayne Johnson commended EFSL for their remarkable work across the country as they fit the criteria of the kind of organization that has strength in Management, having built deep capacity and are able to deal with problems of development by not only giving away things to beneficiaries, but train and build sustainability in the affected communities.
He said TEAR FUND Canada for the past 14 years, has been working in rural churches with farmers that have the passion for farming. He said they operate in countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania amongst others on Economic Empowerment of Women.
Farmers who are Ebola survivors and affected families expressed their satisfaction over the improvement they are experiencing in their lives as a result of the farm they have developed through the help of EFSL.
Kadija Bangura from Makankoh Community and her family has never done agriculture before. She said things has been very difficult for her after the 2004 Ebola crisis not until when she was approached by EFSL to engage into farming, that’s when she realized that agriculture is life.
She said he has seen the benefit in agriculture as she is becoming significant in her community as she can grow and sell her goods which has improved her life and her family.
‘’ The project have just started and there is improvement on our farms as we have harvested and sold the first batch of Vegetables and has brought food on their table’’.
Speaking on behalf of colleague farmers, she lauded the effort of EFSL for the agricultural techniques they have gained through trainings from EFSL and the supply of vegetable seeds, cassava cuttings and cashew.
Rev. Titus Jonathan Williams is the General Secretary of EFSL. In climaxing their visit in the six operational areas in the Lokomasama chiefdom, he encouraged the Pastors and church leaders to be holistic in their ministry. He emphasized the need for the church to involve in activities that will improve on the livelihoods of their members. He encouraged them to continually maintain the peace and stability in the country and cautioned them to avoid hate massages in their pulpits. Rev. William motivates the pastors to get encourage their members to be involved in agricultural activities and work as one as their focus is to achieve a goal of spreading the gospel and not to bring divide.