Self Help Africa pays tribute to Tullamore Credit Union for ongoing support
Photo: Ronan Scully from Self Help Africa pictured in Zambia.
Self Help Africa is paying tribute to members and staff of Tullamore Credit Union this week for their tireless efforts fundraising and supporting the charity's projects in Africa.
Last year, Tullamore Credit Union and its members helped fund the Self Help Africa Home-Grown School Meals Project (HGSMP) which was implemented by Self Help Africa in 60 schools of Central, Eastern and Lusaka provinces in Zambia, from January to September 2019.
With support from the Tullamore Credit Union, the World Food Programme and the Government of the Republic of Zambia, the project allowed in a multi-pronged approach by providing school lunches, cooking demonstrations, engaging local smallholder farmers and the establishment of school vegetable gardens.
The project aimed to provide diverse and nutritious vegetables for school going children thereby improving their nutritional status, school enrolment, and attendance. According to school headmasters and teachers, school attendance significantly improved during the project as students were guaranteed one meal per day at school.
In addition to improving the nutrition of school children, the project also aimed to boost the local economies of affected communities by providing a readily available and sustainable market for vegetables. This was done by engaging smallholder farmers to grow diverse vegetables that were sold to the HGSMP. The objective of the project was to demonstrate the impact of HGSMP on both the nutrition of learners (schoolchildren eat locally grown nutritious foods) and the livelihood of smallholder farmers (who have access to a predictable and reliable market for their produce).
The cooks, teachers, school staff, learners, and the community learned about the importance of diverse nutrition, as well as how to use and prepare locally grown nutritious food. This was achieved by delivering cooking demonstrations promoting the inclusion of all nutritious food groups. The dietary diversity increased from 66% to 83.3%.
Smallholder farmers demonstrated an increase in their capacities in the horticulture value chain: they were able to grow the project specified vegetables, such as pumpkin and sweet potato leaves, rape, cabbage impwa, okra, tomatoes etc. They were also able to market their produce, aggregate, and deliver their crop to the schools. 155 farmers (61 female, 94 male) invested in their business by procuring seeds and planting material. The HGSMP, therefore, contributed positively to stimulate local agricultural production. The impact was demonstrated by the increase in the value of vegetables sold to schools went from ZMW 100 at baseline to ZMW 864 000 after 9 months.
With Tullamore Credit Union’s generous donation, it is fair to say that the HGSMP was a great success. Both schoolchildren and smallholder farmers expressed great enthusiasm for the project, and there was significant community buy-in, according to Clara native Ronan Scully. The farmers demonstrated their capacity to deliver fresh vegetables to the schools and the schools showed that they had the capacity to procure transparently and fairly vegetables for the school feeding.
Self Help Africa says the funding to help support its work in 2020/21 from the Tullamore Credit Union's 'Our World Fund' is much appreciated. The money will be spent on agriculture-based livelihood intensification and value chain projects in Amhara, Oromia and SNNP regions, in Ethiopia. Self Help Africa has developed a unique approach to working with both community-based organisations and existing government structures to improve rural livelihoods in a viable and sustainable way.
Over 315,000 households in rural sub-Saharan Africa, reaching close to two million people, were impacted by the charity's programmes last year alone, and that boost means lasting change for those smallholder farmers to lift them out of poverty.
"Pursuing this mission, however, requires financial support from people and organisations like the Tullamore Credit Union, so thank you for supporting us, your donations will and are making a huge difference to many people’s lives. Thank you to everyone for your support now and always. We continue to ask for your help so that together, we can alleviate suffering in the African countries where we work," said Ronan Scully.
So if you would like to support our work why not organise with your family, friends or businesses an event during Christmas or during 2021 or to make a donation, buy Lifetime and Christmas Gifts or support our One Million Trees Campaign and find out more about the work of Self Help Africa to'Act locally but impact globally' You can make a credit or laser card donation by phoning ((01 ) 6778880 or simply send whatever you can afford to Self Help Africa, Westside Resource Centre, Seamus Quirke Road, Westside, Galway or to Self Help Africa, Kingsbridge House, 17-22 Parkgate Street, Dublin 8.
Self Help Africa prides itself on the fact that throughout its long history our administration costs have been exceedingly low, maximising the amount of money that goes directly to the field, and to the poorest of the poor. Rest assured that if you can give it, Self Help Africa will get it there. For further on our work please see www.selfhelpafrica.org or email:firstname.lastname@example.org