The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative (GFI) has announced grants to support agricultural and food security projects in four countries, including a soybean project in Nigeria, a food crops project in Ecuador, a corn mill project in Uganda and two community gardens in the United States.
A grant of US $ 17,000 was granted for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa’s soybean value chain project in Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brothers in Nigeria). Of this amount, US $ 15,000 supports EYN’s agricultural staff as part of the denomination’s Integrated Community Based Development Program (ICBDP).
The remaining $ 2,000 is a fee to Dennis Thompson, who consulted and conducted training visits in Nigeria, as well as a connection to a pan-African program of the Feed the Future initiative of US AID’s Soybean Innovation Lab. In the second half of 2021, Thompson will help plan and lead two week-long workshops in Nigeria on integrated pest management and the manufacture of threshing machines for multiple crops.
Plans for the project in 2021 also include propagating quality seeds, supporting 15 volunteer renewal agents, soybean processing training for women, advocating soybean production, processing and marketing soybeans inside and outside EYN, and an administration fee of 10 Percent for the general operation of EYN costs.
A US $ 11,000 grant went to a food project run by La Fundación Brethren y Unida (FBU, United and Brethren Foundation). The project is part of a strategic plan to fight financial stability after much of the FBU’s income – usually generated by school and university groups taking short courses at the FBU center – disappeared during the pandemic.
A recent hailstorm and flooding have hampered efforts, causing crop failures and damage to irrigation systems. This grant will be matched by an allocation of $ 15,000 from the Church of the Brothers’ Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to assist with repairs. Total farm and property damage is estimated at $ 30,000, with the FBU contributing $ 5,000.
A grant of US $ 5,000 will go to a corn milling project run by the Young Brethren Church in Uganda. The grant will be used to buy a flour mill, build a structure for the mill, and cover a year’s start-up and operating costs. The mill will support the Church’s work with five parishes in the Kasese district, reaching 500 participants, with a focus on the most vulnerable, including widows, orphaned households and the elderly.
Participants will receive training on how to make cornmeal foods, as well as microfinance for the purchase of seeds and fertilizers. The mill will also be available for a fee to parishioners who are not direct recipients of training or microfinance, which will help support other Church services.
A $ 3,000 grant supports the Garden Advocate / Casual Labor Fund of Capstone 118La. Capstone 118, a community garden in New Orleans, is a fundraising service for the Southern Plains District of the Brethren Church. In 2018, Capstone began leveraging the Casual Labor Fund idea introduced by other community gardens. The change was necessary in part because of the high turnover rate among part-time workers.
A grant of $ 1,500 went to Springfield (Ill.) First Church of the Brethren for a community garden connected to the church and the neighborhood. Fresh produce is grown in the garden for a nutrition program for students at Harvard Park Elementary School in collaboration with the local non-profit Compass for Kids. The grant will help fund a horticultural attorney’s scholarship to organize volunteers and reach families in the community, and will help pay for seeds and tools.
Further information on the Global Food Initiative can be found at www.brethren.org/gfi.
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