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Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

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Agriculture for Children’s Empowerment (Liberia)

by on Nov 4, 2013  |  posted in Youth  |  0 Comments
Martha Teah, a pepper farmer in Liberia, was one of the first participants of the Agriculture for Children’s Empowerment (ACE) project.  After attending two trainings on vegetable preservation, Martha organized a group of farmers, composed of ten women and one man, to construct a solar dryer to dry vegetables.  The group was pleasantly surprised to find that it only takes three days to dry peppers with the solar dryer, even during the rainy season; whereas the traditional method of drying usually takes more than a week.  After harvesting hot peppers, the group came together to sell their crops in bulk.  The ACE team facilitated the linkage between the farmers and a representative of the Liberian Marketing Association (LMA) who usually buys dried peppers from Guinea.  The buyer was so impressed that she placed an order to buy dry peppers from this group of Liberian farmers.

After suffering from 14 years of war (1989-2003), Liberia’s infrastructure, education, health systems and social services have not fully recovered. While the economy is faced with a number of obstacles, Liberia’s untapped agricultural sector offers economic potential, due to the country’s rich soil, substantial rains and large areas of unused land.

The Agriculture for Children’s Empowerment (ACE) project was implemented by ACDI/VOCA under the STRIVE project, which is funded by USAID’s Displaced Children and Orphans Fund, and managed by FHI 360. The ACE project brought rural farmers into the profitable agricultural fresh vegetables value chain in an attempt to increase their production and income. In an effort to improve food security, ACE supplied rice farmers with high-yielding rice varieties along with technical assistance. The project postulates that an increase in household incomes will improve their children’s wellbeing.  In Bong, Nimba, and Montserrado counties, ACE worked to enhance smallholders’ crop output through modern farming methods, strengthen the profitability of their farms through the Farming as a Business (FAAB) training, and link smallholders to potential local buyers.  ACE farmers previously thought of farming as a subsistence activity, but with the appropriate training and technical assistance, for many farmers, their approach shifted to thinking of farming as a business activity.

ACE project activities included the following:
  • Sponsored community educational and promotional events,
  • Provided critical links between farmers and markets for their products,
  • Arranged safe spaces where farmers and brokers could meet , and
  • Sponsored a radio program on agricultural best practices and child safety and wellbeing.

For more information on STRIVE and the Agriculture for Children’s Empowerment, check out ACE's Activity Brief and www.microlinks.org/strive.

STRIVE is a 6.5-year, $16 million program funded by USAID’s Displaced Children and Orphans Fund (DCOF) and managed by FHI 360. The program aims to fill current knowledge gaps about effective economic strengthening approaches and their impact on reducing the vulnerability of children and youth. In partnership with Action for Enterprise (AFE), ACDI/VOCA, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and Save the Children, STRIVE is implementing four economic strengthening projects in Africa and Asia between 2008 and 2014. Coupled with a robust monitoring and evaluation framework and learning strategy, STRIVE is documenting the impacts of these diverse interventions on children.

This post is a part of a series of blogs highlighting activities implemented under the STRIVE project, which will be featured in a lunch panel at the SEEP 2013 Conference on November 7.

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