We partner with rural communities, working with them to establish sustainable agriculture practices and access other livelihoods. Our first project is Lungi Village, Sierra Leone.
The small farming village of Lungi, near Bo in Sierra Leone was devastated by the Ebola Crisis. After facing multiple quarantines to contain the outbreak, villagers were unable to reach their farmland, which quickly became overgrown destroying their livelihoods. The people of Lungi became dependent on food aid as they were unable to farm their land.
Catch the Dream has been working in partnership with the villagers since May 2017 to re-establish their farming livelihoods. With the help of seeds, tools and support the villagers have successfully harvested their first crop for three years. They have grown maize, rice, cassava, vegetables and more, and are now re-introducing livestock and preparing for future harvests.
UPDATE April 2018
In April 2018 two of our Directors, Fiona and Andrew, travelled to Sierra Leone to see the villagers of Lungi once again. The villagers were proud to show off the produce that they have harvested from the seed they received in 2017 and are busy preparing their land for re-planting ahead of the rainy season to come.
Whilst in Sierra Leone Fiona and Andrew, along with Team Leader Augustine and Village Coordinator Jonathan, met with a representative from the Sierra Leone Ministry of Agriculture to discuss how the village can further develop their agricultural practices and maximise their harvest. Following the meeting, a survey was completed of the Lungi Village swampland and a plan drawn up for its development. This was greeted enthusiastically by the villagers who are keen to learn new skills and increase their yield. Doing so will allow them to not only re-plant sustainably from each harvest, but also sell their excess produce to establish a source of income for the village.
Swamp development, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, will be the main focus for Lungi Village over the coming year as we seek to raise the £13,000 necessary to fund it.
In addition to this, several of the villagers expressed their desire to establish business ventures as another way of bringing in income. As a result, Catch the Dream will be exploring micro-financing opportunities as well as training and mentoring to empower the villagers to do this. Their initial idea was to make and sell soap in the local market and they are now exploring this idea, and others, to ensure they have a viable business model before proceeding.
The final development of the trip was to discuss the establishment of a village savings system. Currently, the village has no funds available to it. Consequently, when something goes wrong, like a broken bearing on the village well, for example, they are reliant on charity to fix it and even this is often not available to them. As they look to establish streams of income, we will be working with them to create a savings pot that each villager contributes to. From this, they will have the funds to spend as they see fit for the benefit of the community. In time, when they have sufficient funds, we will support them to transfer these to a bank account for increased security.
Our team members in Sierra Leone stay in regular contact with the villagers, and the Directors hope to return to Lungi in October to see how these developments are progressing. Watch this space and follow us on social media to stay up to date.