Our mission is to help lift people in rural Sierra Leone out of poverty through education and economic empowerment. We focus on Bumpeh Chiefdom, in one of the most rural and poor of Sierra Leone districts, where people survive on $1 a day through subsistence farming.
Sherbro Foundation partners with the Center for Community Empowerment and Transformation, a volunteer community-based nonprofit of teachers living and working in the community and committed to its development.
Community Computer Center
The Center provides the first ever computer training classes & computer access for the chiefdom headquarters. Computer literacy will build wage-paying job skills in students and adults now coming from a subsistence agriculture environment.
A new education center was developed after securing a corporate donation of 50 laptops. The shell of a building burned during the war was transformed to a modern 40′ x 60′ education center, complete with solar power access. Today it houses:
- Computer training classes for high school students and adults
- Adult Literacy Classes
- The area’s first Copy and Printing service within a 3 hour drive, generating income to operate the Center
- Meeting and workshop rental facilities
Adults, mainly single mothers, have the chance to start or resume educations interrupted by the civil war and its aftermath, or just overall poverty. First-time literacy classes are given, where students learn the ABC’s and to write their names for the first time. GED style classes are also offered to help drop-out’s continue their education.
Classes stress functional literacy, teaching skills to run small businesses and households. See The Extra Gift Adult Literacy Brings.
Village Community Orchards
Villages are empowered to earn their own money to educate their children and fund community development by growing fruit orchards. Villages lead and manage their own orchards, providing ten acres of land and all labor. They receive thousands of fruit tree seedlings grown from seed in local project nurseries, together with training and ongoing monitoring.
Orchards maturing in 4-5 years will produce tens of thousands of dollars in annual income for years to come. Income will be used for education and village development projects of their choice: dig wells, build primary schools, improve roads, etc.
Two tree nurseries have grown 40,000 tree seedlings to date using seed from locally purchased fruit: orange, grapefruit, mango, avocado, guava, cashew, plum and coconut. Nurseries also sell seedlings to private farmers, earning income to support the orchard program.
A major economic program is envisioned for the chiefdom, with thousands of fruit trees supporting local fruit-based cottage industries. See Eliminating Poverty One Tree at a Time.
A three year program to help women farmers restore income slashed in half during the Ebola crisis – and to help them expand to small cash crop businesses.
In March 2015 we asked, what can we do to help hungry farmers right after Ebola. The answer was, help women farmers start fast-growing cash crops like peanuts and peppers. Within five months, they were harvesting.
For $80, a woman farmer gets seed to grow a half vegetable acre garden, a drying tarp and a 100 lb. bag of rice to feed their family now. Women traditionally raise vegetables, but have the least cash now to restart. The project serves many women who are single heads of household.
The first group of women harvested crops worth one million leones ($200) – or three times what they’d earn in traditional rice farming. And they still have the rest of the year to grow rice and fish as usual. The project will continue to cover 450 women in total. Concept to Harvest in Five Months
Newborn Education Savings Program
Emergency Ebola Support
SFSL funded 90% of Bumpeh Chiefdom’s program to break the chain of Ebola transmission, resulting in 50+ days with no new Ebola cases. These results attracted national attention in Nov 2014. With approval of the Ministry of Local Government, the Sierra Leone government secured a $1.2MM WHO grant in December 2014 for chiefdoms nationwide to implement similar programs. Within a month, collective action by all 149 chiefdoms led to reducing the rate of new Ebola case by 80% by January 2015. Key was chiefdom focus on changing high risk behaviors like burial practices. In Two Months We’ll Ensure Ebola is a Thing of the Past.