Student Farmers in Liberia Get Back to the Soil and Into the Classroom

Niome Somah, School Garden

There was a time before Liberia’s civil wars when agriculture was an integral part of the education system. Ten years after the end of the wars, the majority of Liberians live in poverty, depend on agriculture as a livelihoods, and grow their own food for survival. That’s changing.
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The Revival of the Grain Coast: Organic Farming in Liberia

Liberia is one of Africa’s poorest nations steeped in a domestic food crisis. This is how one man aims to increase food safety and food security without raising the price.
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Development Aid Programs Target Small Scale Farmers to Ramp up Production in Food Insecure Liberia

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Before Liberia’s civil war, Augustine Tamba’s farm had a water pump, a sprinkler system, and a reliable well. Neighbors worked for Tamba to grow rice, cassava, corn and vegetables in the lowland farm outside of the town of Johnsonville in Montserrado County, Liberia. Tamba had market outlets in Paynesville—20 kilometers away—as well as Monrovia, the country’s capital. Before starting the farm in 1982, Tamba worked as a bank manager in a small town nearby. After a brief stint, he returned to agriculture, “the soil is Liberia’s only bank…the bank of life,” as he explains. During the war, Tamba’s farm laborers either migrated to other countries or became entangled in the bloody conflict. In addition, the market for Tamaba’s produce disappeared when Liberia’s entire economic and social system came to a halt.
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Somaliland Farmers Learn Math, Reading, and Agricultural Skills

Jamas Garden near Amoud

Ferhan, 33, was still a young man when he dropped out of school to help his father in the family’s fields. He quit the third grade and instead of learning to read and write, he learned to plow and harvest. Ferhan’s father passed down traditional methods of agriculture to his son, techniques that Ferhan’s father had learned from his father.
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A Dose of Gardening as the New Social Medicine

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When Meaza Birhanu, 39, learned she was HIV positive seven years ago, she was already bed ridden surviving on food donations from the World Food Program. The death of her husband prompted her to get tested and she was convinced that her death was next. By mid-2010, Maeza took up her new vocation as an urban farmer, and her outlook changed dramatically. In May, the group—known as Kalehiwot—planted corn. The rains came, the crop grew, and bushels of corn were sold on the market.
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A Mother's Dream

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Genet dreams of creating a cooperative with her Group Garden and diversifying the agriculture portfolio by adding animals and a possible dairy farm. “I don’t want my life to happen to my children. I want their life to be greater than mine,” she says.
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Ethiopian Group Garden Wins Support from City and Community

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Gohe Group Garden distributes over 40,000 seedlings for free to promote home gardens and win the hearts and minds of the community. After several years of considerable success with animal husbandry, the city rewarded Gohe—the city’s only HIV support association—with a honey filtration system to begin bee keeping and open a new stream of income for members.
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Urban Gardeners Defy the Desert in Northern Ethiopia

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Water is scarce in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray. There is little difference between the dry and wet seasons, common in the tropics and the rest of Ethiopia. Usually by January, Tigray’s many villages dry up and become nests of desperation while families as well as the farmers depend on a series of small streams and wells.
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From Garbage to Garden

Samson Aberra PEPFAR

Sometimes when Samson Aberra is working in the garden, planting seedlings or replenishing his nursery, onlookers gather to watch him toil. What they don’t know is that Samson Aberra is not “toiling” — he’s barely working. In fact, he is doing what he loves: gardening. Samson’s garden lies next to the main highway running through the Ethiopian highland town of Dessie, located in the northeast of the country. The garden forms a triangle between the main road and a contaminated stream that meanders through the city in its journey to the low lying plains below.
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From Sex Worker to Farmer

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When 29-year-old China Dessale approached the Wain Hotel where she used to work as a commercial sex worker, carrying a basket teeming with cabbage, carrots, lettuce and eggs, the hotel owner couldn’t believe his eyes. He remembered China when she was 15 years old. In desperation, China had joined the same hotel to make a livelihood in Ethiopia’s risky commercial sex worker industry.
Read more: From Sex Worker to Farmer