Liberia 2013

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Oxfam Water Week 2013 supported a project in the Grand Gedeh and River Gee areas in south-east Liberia.

Pupils raised funds and called on the support of governments to help improve small-scale farmers' access to water for irrigation - increasing their food production.  Having a more secure food supply and a sustainable income helps farmers to send their children to school and meet household bills.

Money raised through this project has helped to:

  • Clear and prepare 866 acres of land to grow rice and vegetables. This has been allocated to 1,181 of the most vulnerable farmers, nearly half of whom are women.
  • Repair 15.5 km of road, which makes it cheaper and easier for farmers to get to their fields, and transport crops to market. The remaining 4.5 km will be completed by the end of 2014.
  • Build four earth dams, and extend canals to irrigate fields all year round.
  • Involve farmers in building irrigation channels and embankments, giving them a detailed understanding of how these work and how to maintain them.
  • Provide tools, equipment and new varieties of rice seeds. The seeds produce more rice, and because they grow more quickly, farmers can have up to three harvests a year, instead of one.
  • Train staff from the Ministry of Agriculture in new ways of farming and managing water. Using what they had learnt, they went on to train 1,149 farmers in techniques that will help them improve their rice production.
  • Start work on building two rice milling and packaging facilities and provide safe storage for crops. This will help farmers to process rice more quickly, improve the quality, and increase income.
  • Run workshops, training 320 farmers in skills like governance, business development, finance and marketing, to improve their ability to get a good price for their produce.

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Kieran Doherty

''Each time I harvest my rice and look at what I have, I start dancing and my mother laughs at me. Life for me now is okay, with the help of Oxfam and its partners. I just want to say a big thank you to all of you that are doing this work.''

Sophie Gaye