Residents of Fenesu Village were engaged in full-time hunting to create a living; they used to burn down forests to hunt bush meats, gather firewood, and for other economic gains. These human activities lead to land degradation and loss of natural resources.
When I got involved, I introduced the Fenesu Farmers Based Organisation. A community group that is aimed at reducing the human activities that result in the destruction of the environment with the introduction of farming as a commercial way of life and not a subsistence one. This idea is how we won a grant from the UNDP Sierra Leone GEF Small Grants Program.
The group has employed over 75 staff (especially women and youths) who are earning a monthly salary depending on their workflow. Some of the beneficiaries use their earnings to take care of family needs.
However, we presently have over 50 hectares of land to plant cassava and rice, but there are so many challenges that we encounter here. The expectations of the locals are very high, we don’t have the required machines, not enough seeds and also uniforms for workers are needed.
So far, if I can achieve my dream at this point, it’s because I created a common understanding with the locals in the community where I work, Even though there were challenges like a taboo in women owning lands when I started, at the end of the day I beat all odds and here we are today providing solutions to the problem of the people.
My name is Kumba Vandi, I am an accountant, also the founder of KMV Foods & Produce Limited and the Fenesu Farmers Based Organization.
Before now I was a teacher, I taught for 9 years without pay, unemployment was a major problem in our community and the majority of the youths are engaged in criminal activities. The elderly people were unable to take care of their families, they couldn’t afford to provide food, pay school fees, and other necessities.
When Fenesu Farmers Based Organization started operating in our community, things have become better. Now I can take care of my family, I’ve constructed a house and I am also able to save some cash for future purposes.
People from across the community, especially women have benefited a lot from this project. It has also changed the drive of agriculture in the community, we are now able to provide food for ourselves and save our environment from hazardous destruction.
My name is James Fayia Robert, I am living in Fenesu Village, Kailahun, and am the farm manager for the Fenesu Farmers Based organization.
About GEF SGP
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), offers grants to innovative, inclusive, and impactful projects that address global environmental and sustainable development issues.
Fenesu Farmers Based Organisation
The main goal for this project is to implement improved land and agroecosystem management practices, which will benefit land users by dissuading the community from engaging in practices that lead to land degradation and loss of natural resources. This will be achieved by creating alternative job opportunities for people within the community.
About GEF Small Grant Stories
The GEF Small Grants Stories series is made possible by a grant to VR&C Marketing Company to increase the visibility of the GEF Small Grants Programme in Sierra Leone through the production of blogs and digital media content on the successes of the program.