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Hope for the Future

“May God bless everyone from UMCOR and the FRB community who have helped disadvantaged families in Armenia have a vision for the future, sharpen their skills, and strengthen their food security.” So says the staff of local partner UMCOR Armenia Foundation (UAF) as the program comes to a close. “Witnessing the progress of the program fills our hearts with joy as we observe results and the positive changes in the lives of our participants.”

Samvel, head of a household of five, says, “You’ve made it possible for me to realize my longstanding dream of having a sheep farm. When my mother got sick a couple of years ago, I sold my last cow to be able to care for her. After that, misfortunes followed one after another, and we were so unhappy. Thanks to the program, I now have three sheep and two lambs on my farm. I even envision doubling and tripling my flock in the near future, since the ewes are pregnant. My wife has received nutrition training as well, and our meals have more variety. She knows how to make cheese and sour cream, and we sell some of our dairy products to take care of our debts. What you’ve given us is a way to make a living, and hope.  Thank you.”

UAF staff says the effects of the support and encouragement given to marginalized families in remote villages will live on. Pass-on-the-gift practices have made beehives, chickens, and sheep available to additional families to improve their nutrition and have a source of income to take care of a variety of expenses. The entire community benefits from the availability of eggs, meat, dairy, wool, and honey, and relieves people of having to make long trips into towns for supplies.  Training and follow-up have ensured that farmers know how to care for their animals for continued success.

“Words are not enough for expressing gratitude on behalf of all these families,” says Norayr, a representative of one community whose futures have changed because of the program.

Caption: Chickens improve lives like Alvina’s

Armenia FHSLD Program
Led by United Methodist Committee on Relief and UMCOR Armenia Foundation
3 communities, 156 households, 352 individuals

 

04/06/2018 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Forging Ahead Despite Challenges

Despite multiple challenges in post-conflict South Sudan, local staff has been hard at work training farm extension agents and health technicians to ready farmers and their families for better days. The civil war has ended, yet there continue to be security and infrastructure issues. The remoteness of the area means that people are not in direct danger from residual conflict, but also that basic services are lacking, including phone communications. Recent heavy rains brought flooding, and widespread illiteracy makes training much more difficult. Yet much has been accomplished.

The focus is particularly on women farmers – the backbones of the community. They need to get up to speed quickly on the most effective ways to manage their crops, vegetables, and homes.  Health extension workers have trained “hygiene promoters” to distribute supplies and show women how to treat both well water and river water. Families received soap and instruction on the importance of handwashing.

Agricultural extension workers also identified training needs and mobilized farmer groups to attend training sessions at demonstration plots.  They’ve taught basic principles of crop husbandry and growing vegetables. Because these farmers are starting out new, it has been necessary to distribute seeds and basic farming tools. Farmers are now concentrating on planting okra.

While challenges seem to be vast, it is clear that the will of local partner staff is strong. FRB’s implementing organization, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is confident that the agriculture and health extension training is laying the groundwork for success for these people as they return to normalcy following the war. Your support and prayers are much needed and greatly appreciated.

Caption: Farmer groups during agricultural training

South Sudan Uror Program
Led by Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
1 community, 400 households, 2,800 individuals

 

03/13/2018 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More
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