The Yassah's Sisters Livelihood Program
“Cultivating Sustainable Future for Rural Women in Lofa County, Liberia West Africa.”
Pictures of members of Yassah's Sisters Livelihood Program USA
To know Yassah’s Sisters, you must first know a bit about Yassah Ford. Yassah is a native of Liberia, Africa, a developing African country recovering from a violent civil war. Conditions in the country are desperate for many, as it often ranks as one of the world’s poorest countries. Life expectancy hovers around 45 years old, infant mortality rates average 15% and many of the populace remains uneducated.
Yassah’s Sisters was formed by a group of Lafayette women in collaboration with Change Agent Network to support the numerous single mothers in Liberia who have difficulty feeding their children. In this pay-it-forward program, a woman receives a machete, hoe and ax and bags of peanuts, rice, beans, corn and okra seeds for planting. After harvest they pay forward a bag and a half of seeds to the next woman.
The women of Lofa County, Liberia celebrated their first harvest of peanuts and sale of palm oil, made possible by the generosity of people in Acadiana through the Yassah’s Sisters program. This beginning initiative was the result of our first investment of funds given to a group of 15 women. The hard work of these amazing women is matched with their dedication and conscientious fulfillment of responsibilities.
Eric’s subsequent visit to check progress and plan for the next phase of the program was cause for a 2-day celebration—the first ever in the history of the village. Never before had these women had something to celebrate. Never before had they had a reason to have hope.
During that event, many promising plans were laid out:
- Our group of women has expanded from 25-110 women; from one planting crop to 5 separate farming ventures.
- The village chief has requested that men be allowed to participate. They want to “support the women.”
- The village chief has given Eric six acres of land to develop, and plans are being made for best use of that property—clinic, library? He said that if done well, 50 acres are available for further development.
Photo Gallery of Yassah’s Sisters Livelihood Program in Zuwulo Town, Lofa County, Liberia West Africa:
We are incredibly grateful to all who participated and gave so generously of time, talent, and money. You have given women a reason to hope and a means of feeding families.
2012 begins with many plans and potential to expand nationally and internationally. Our mission of eradicating poverty and empowering women depends on people like you to fulfill our mission. Please contact us if you would like to join with us these initiatives. You will be enriched and inspired as you enable other women to survive and grow.
- Each family needs 2 machetes, 2 hoes, 1 ax and 1 bag of seeds
- Complete package price: $110-$160. Donation for single item purchases are welcome!
If you are writing a check please make checkspayable to Change Agent Network and write “Yassah’s Sisters” in the memo section of the check.
Change Agent Network
10000 N Central Expressway
Suite 400; Dallas, TX 75231
The table below, shows the farm tools, bags of different seeds and their prices that each of thesestrugglingwomen needs:
FARM TOOLS PRICE SEEDS PRICE
Machete $15 Peanuts $100
Hoe $10 Beans $100
Ax $10 Corn $60
Yassah’s Sisters are reaching out, providing a lifeline to Yassah’s efforts and making a public statement that we are all connected and responsible for each other. The sisterhood meets regularly to discuss Yassah’s pressing needs and ways those needs can be met.
Already the group, working in conjunction with the Liberian relief organization Change Agent Network (CAN), has sent farming supplies and monetary donations. The team is also working to build a system of micro-loans, a powerful way to build economies in struggling areas.
In December 2010, Eric Wowoh who is the Executive Director of Change Agent Network traveled to Zuwulo Town in the Zorzor District area of Lofa Country Liberia to meet with Yassah Ford and her team. The purpose of his trip was to jump-start the Yassah’s Sisters Livelihood Program.
Zuwulo is Yassah’s home town and it has a population of 3,550 people. Total number of women in the town stands at 2,000. Children under five (5) years stand at 1,045 and children from the ages of 5-18 years are estimated at 985.
This is a brief video documentary of the Yassah’s Sisters Micro-economic agricultural cooperative program in Lofa County, Liberia.
WHAT WE DO
- Provide funding for micro-economic pay-it-forward agricultural cooperative in remote villages of Lofa County, Liberia.
- Restore hope and dignity to women who have borne the brunt of damage in a fourteen-year civil war.
- Empower women, their families and their community to rise above poverty
- Currently support 100 women and 10 men to plant and cultivate peanuts, okra, yams and rice crops and to purchase palm oil for resale
- Maintain full transparency and accountability for proper use of funds
HOW WE DO IT
- Raise money by donations and events
- Collect items for shipment to Liberia
- Implement programs through trusted and established personal relationship in Liberia.
- Expand the number of participants in this and other villages
- Development of two large tracts of land to establish a regional farmers market for sale of harvested crops to neighboring villages
- Creation of A Place for women, a center for healing traumas of war. Skills training, and conflict resolution/peace-building initiatives
- Begin educational programs with literacy training and the establishment of a library and school
- Provide intermittent health services and establish a medical clinic
- Creating a tailoring and weaving projects
- Create a Light the Way project by providing solar lanterns to village residents
- Develop Sounds of Peace program through cultural exchanges
- Collaborate with already established global organizations
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Make a donation
- Join our organization
- Donate Items-household items, solar lanterns, desks chairs, sewing machines, educational materials, fans, cots and generators
- Donate a vehicle
- Be a grant writer
- Invite us to speak at formal and informal meetings
- Design and maintain website
- Donate auction items
- Volunteer for projects
- Join our Life Changing Trip team to visit Liberia, West Africa
THANKS VERY MUCH FOR INVESTING INTO THE LIVES OF STRUGGLING RURAL WOMEN IN LIBERIA. GOD BLESS!