Welthungerhilfe is an organization that is operating in the east of the country specifically in the Kenema district.
Speaking at his 24C Hangha Road office in Kenema the Project Manager, Hans-Peter Mueller, told Awoko that Welthungerhilfe intervened under the food security project in Simbaru and Wandor chiefdoms to ensure food security and stability of livelihoods in 40 farming communities out of 60.
The project covers sustainable social, human and economic development processes and capacity building as well as basic needs, such as safe drinking water and access to social infrastructures.
The support is focused on the productive potential of women (37 groups) and youths (19 groups), through provision of agricultural inputs as well as support to develop income–generating activities. Further, it supports activities for environmental protection. Training was conducted in each area of intervention to build the capacity of beneficiaries.
The objective of the project is food security in selected sections of the Simbaru and Wandor chiefdoms.
Explaining further about the project operation, Mr Mueller said the project had been operating since May 2005 mainly in Simbaru and Wandor chiefdom.
He said, “the project is operating in three sectors,” saying that beneficiaries were 56 self-help groups.
He said under the agricultural sector, for the past three years, the project had established seed banks for groundnut and rice.
Mr Mueller disclosed that the farmers preferred groundnut cultivation than IVS because “the groundnut gives quick return in a short time”.
Mueller revealed that last year they supported Farmers Field Schools in collaboration with the ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. 44 farmers graduated from the farmers’ field schools and that they were supported with technical advice in organizing vegetable demonstration plots in their areas.
In the field of infrastructure the project is constructing 14 drying floors. And last year it constructed 20 in Simbaru. This year the project has constructed two water wells in Simbaru and rehabilitated three wells in Wandor and is re-deepening one well in Gumbu village in Wandor chiefdom. In total the project has constructed and rehabilitated 28 wells in the two chiefdoms.
Currently there is a bridge construction going on in Simbaru chiefdom linking Comende village with Simbaru Tawahun, which cost nearly ten million Leones. Very soon the project will be finalizing the construction of two ward stores in Bambara and Fallah. The stores will be equipped with rice haulers to be operated by the community people themselves.
At present the project is promoting the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach in selected pilot villages in the two chiefdoms, and the project is going to support the construction of two toilets.
When asked why the project decides to operate only in the two chiefdoms in the district of 16 chiefdoms, Mr Mueller explained that there was an assessment conducted by FAO in 2002 which showed that Simbaru and Wandor were highly vulnerable in terms of food security.
The programme is financed by the European Union (EU) from May 2005 to May 2008 but has been extended for another six months to October 2008.