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Heifer's Sierra Leone project targets five villages in the Western Rural district of Sierra Leone —Regent, Morthaim, Baoma, Makomba and Crossing. All five villages are characterized by rapid population growth, high incidence of communicable diseases and increased pressure on natural resources and physical infrastructure. The project seeks to increase food production, improve household nutrition, generate supplementary income and increase participants' knowledge and skills in livestock and crop production.
A total of 844 families—211 original families and 633 who will benefit from Passing on the Gift—will receive 714 goats and 132 sheep. They will be taught to cultivate a total of 152 acres of rice, groundnut and assorted vegetables. Training in improved livestock husbandry, crop farming practices and crop and livestock integration, as well as veterinary support services and the training of community animal health workers are also being provided. Heifer Sierra Leone is working with local communities to build leadership skills and awareness on issues relating to HIV/AIDS, water, sanitation and the environment.
Displaced by the rebels during the war, Mohamed Conteh met Madam Fatama Bah in 2004. She gave him and his family (a wife and two children) a portion of her land to farm. He built a hut, and he lives there with his family as caretaker of the land. Over time, Bah formed a farming group of other community members who had sought her assistance, proposing that they work together and share the harvest. A year later, Heifer Sierra Leone became involved. Conteh received training through Heifer in the areas of leadership and group management, Heifer's 12 Cornerstones, community animal health worker and crop management.
Conteh sums up the impact of Heifer's work on his life. "In the past, I was engaged in rice farming, which is expensive and labor intensive. I had to go far from my community to get suitable land for farming, and in the end, the food could not sustain my family for even three months. But with vegetable production, I can get food and income throughout the year. Now, my two children, who previously were not attending school, are getting an education. I can also afford to feed my family every day."