Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rotary Approves a $68,000 Grant To Support Farmers of the Future

As 2013 comes to a close, we are so happy to have some wonderful news to share with you. 

Last March, the Rotary Club of Carbondale Colorado provided $10,000 to build a tree nursery at the Farmers of the Future pilot school in Galbal, Niger. Since then, the Carbondale Club has joined with 7 clubs in North America (3 more in Colorado, and 4 in Toronto, Canada--thanks to Pencils for Kids!), plus the local club in Niamey, Niger. These combined 8 clubs have granted Eliminate Poverty NOW and Farmers of the Future $68,000 to create a tree nursery at the Gonzare school and a vegetable garden at a 4th school, Ecole Centre!

Mango tree saplings at the Galbal tree nursery,
similar to the one that will be created at the Gonzare school
With this grant, EPN will have the full Farmers of the Future program for primary school students and their parents running in the 3 original pilot schools, and begin expansion to a 4thThe grant includes club contributions, plus matching funds at the Rotary district and international level. It covers infrastructure costs for the two projects, agricultural supplies, plus two years of training and technical support for the participants. A total of 40 women (mothers of students at the schools) will be selected by their local communities to participate in the businesses and begin earning much needed income for themselves, their families, and their local schools. 

"Before" at the Ecole Centre vegetable garden site...

6 months after the project start-up, this is what the garden will look like.

By the end of 2 years, we estimate participants will be earning $500/year of extra cash. While this might not sound like much to us, for people who live on less than $1/day, it’s a major increase in household income to use for food, clothing, shelter, and education. Implementation begins immediately: digging a well at Gonzare, connecting to a municipal water pipe at Ecole Centre, and bringing in construction materials for the nursery and garden. Meetings with members of the local COGES (parent/teacher) committees are being held to explain details of the program and requirements for individual participants. We expect the nursery and garden will be fully operational by the end of the first quarter in 2014.

Please join us in thanking Rotary for this generous grant and wonderful opportunity. It is truly gratifying to see Farmers of the Future get such huge support. If this is any indication of what 2014 has in store for Eliminate Poverty NOW, we can't wait!

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