Sierra Leone - Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) implemented through the Agriculture Value Chain Development Project (AVDP) - June 2022
Mariama Bi Jalloh is 29 years old and a university graduate in business administration. She is the chairwoman of the Forward Women with Disability Organization (ForWDO) that advocates for women with disabilities. Persons with disabilities face many obstacles in her community, but Mariama is adamant in her efforts to meet the challenges and to create opportunities for the women in her group. Before the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything, ForWDO operated several income-generating activities at a small commercial centre constructed by the German Leprosy Relief Association. Some of the women were also doing agriculture. Their activities came to a complete halt as pandemic-related lockdown restrictions were put in place. The RPSF identified the women of ForWDO as being among the most negatively impacted by the crisis. The project supplied the group’s 22 women members, as well as three men who provide physical labour, with seeds, fertilizer and other inputs needed to produce vegetables. The RPSF also provided a fund for paying dayworkers and renting farm machinery. They quickly realized the results when the vegetables were harvested and sold, with food and income for themselves and their households. With the money they earned, the group invested in rice production, and is now waiting for the next dry season to plant vegetables again.
“I am confident that with agriculture we will make the money we need to pull a lot of women with disabilities – the most vulnerable in our community – out of poverty. We want to show the world that disability is not inability.”
The RPSF supported the Government of Sierra Leone’s Quick Action Economic Response Programme to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges faced by rural communities. The project focused on enhancing vegetable and groundnut value chains, helping the most marginalized people boost their income-generating activities and strengthen food security.
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