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Sowing seeds of change

No matter where you go on this planet, livelihoods rely on local environments, which often dictate what natural resources will – or will not – be available.

In the rural community of Volta, Ghana climate challenges and limited agricultural support has resulted in low crop yields – posing a major problem for families dependent on farming; many households are left with little food stock and even scarcer income to meet their children’s needs.

For some, the struggle lies in the lack of farming supplies: “We do not have the funds to buy required inputs such as seeds and fertilizer. As a result, we have suffered for many years now,” explains Seyram, a young woman from the community.

For others, it is a gap in information: “Farmers here lack the necessary education and this is affecting productivity on our farms,” adds John, a local father who also farms.

But you’re helping a brighter season flourish.

Smiling women, men and children hold up ears of corn and stand around piles of it.

When it comes to working together to uplift their community, these hardworking locals are all ears! Here, they show off the fruits (or rather vegetables!) of their labour – and your support – stacking up several ears of corn within their new storage facility.

To help address these needs in a sustainable way, we partnered with Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Together, you helped us provide community members with key advisement and support in the areas of education, production, management and business (like competitive pricing and market trends).

You helped distribute supplies like 100 kgs of resilient seeds, 75 bags of fertilizer and farming tools to Community Sponsorship-supported youth saving and loans groups, enabling them to cultivate 10 acres of maize!

And, thanks to you, 45 community members – more than half of whom are female – were trained in agricultural practices like:
  • Seed selection
  • Site selection
  • Land preparation
  • Planting practices
  • Fertilizer application
  • Safe and effective pest control techniques.

Build it, and change will come…

Seyram, 26, is one of the members of the garden co-op you’re making possible.

“I have been part of the group farm from the very beginning,” she says, regularly meeting with the group to tend to their shared plot and take home not only corn, but tips to apply to her own land.

Seyram harvests maize in the crops.

Seyram, 26.

“Working with Plan International has been a great experience,” she adds. “There is always something to learn when it comes to their work in my community.”

From getting off the ground and into full bloom, here’s how the transformation sprouted:

Phase 1: The best laid out plans

“The process starts with the preparation of the land and then sowing of seeds,” guides Seyram, walking us through the careful steps they’ve taken, with your assistance.

Veronica plants seeds, looking up at the camera and smiling.

“We are very excited about the group farming,” says Veronica, a local mother, shown here planting seeds. “This is going to help us generate extra income to support our children and help provide food to the whole community as well!”

Phase 2: Cultivating opportunity

“During harvesting, we pluck the corn ears, then de-husk and collect them into sacks to be stored,” says Seyram, who now knows to stock and save the goods for peak season.

Phase 3: A booming business

“The corn will be sold later when the price is good, and income generated from the sales will be used to buy inputs for the next planting season,” she adds, already committing to reinvest the funds you helped generate, so impact can expand even further. And she’s proud of the foothold this is garnering local women by not only being involved but helping lead the initiatives. “Women will be actively involved in the sales by looking for prospective buyers,” Seyram notes.

Phase 4: Reaping the benefits!

Already, these efforts have helped increase crop growth, meaning that – with your help – more families will have more nutrition and funds to support their children, and their health!

“This has afforded us opportunity!” Seyram celebrates. “I have gained some practical knowledge and can now increase my farm output and earn more income. I am very happy because of the group farming project,” she says, visibly joyful.

“It has been enlightening,” says Felix, another happy farmer you helped. “There were so many things that were affecting our productivity, but now we are hopeful things will turn around.”

Fields of gold – for all

Community members load huge buckets of corn into the new storage facility.

“The things learned are very useful,” says John, a pleased father of 6 (pictured at top). “It will help us take good care of our children and save to provide for their school needs.”

As with every project you make possible in the community, youth – like John’s children – now have a chance for a brighter future.

A father and his three sons sit in a circle, smile and husk corn from a bin.

Like so many families around the world, project participant and parent, John, takes a special moment to chat with his sons, Frank, 10, Godsway, 12, and Senyo, 17, as they husk corn out back at their home.

Senyo sits and smiles in front of a barrel of corn.

Senyo, 17.

A young boy smiles at the camera and sits and husks corn.

Godsway, 12.

“Our hopes are to be in good health so we are able to take good care of our children and see them complete school successfully,” says John. “It is our dream to see them grow up and become responsible and successful adults in society.”

In the past, limited opportunities and lack of skill development have pushed many adolescents to migrate to larger, distant cities in search of jobs – further limiting Volta’s workforce and growth.

But it’s projects like this, that you help make happen, that are inspiring youth, like John’s 17-year-old son, Senyo, to see promise in their prospects and choose to stay close to home.

“I like the environment and the people,” says Senyo, when asked what his favourite things about his community are. And he’s especially pleased with the transformations he’s seeing through your support.

“I have seen how Community Sponsorship is helping our parents improve their farming activities and feel good and happy my community is developing,” he adds, hopeful for the future and eager to contribute, himself.

And, much like all the community members – of all ages – touched by this project and your generous sponsorship, his younger brother, Godsway, 12, tends to agree – summing it up with a big smile and a simple shared sentiment: “I feel glad,” he says.

And we couldn’t be more grateful for it.

Thank you for helping Volta’s families grow and thrive alongside their community!

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