Learning the (ground)nuts and bolts
Amar and his wife have been working to establish a solid future for themselves and their four children. They are the lucky ones – their three daughters are studying and their son works in garment production. They can see that there are opportunities ahead, but in the meantime, they need to find a way to make a steady income to make sure that their children can keep working towards an easier life.
Amar and his wife face a common predicament in these areas: they have enough to get by, but they have no savings to use as a buffer, so as soon as there is a flood or an unexpected expense – they find themselves really struggling. The last thing Amar and his wife want are to be a burden on their children; they want to be able to look after themselves and send their children off out into the world. They have a small plot of land that was left to them in an inheritance, but they have never learnt how to work it properly, so it’s in pretty bad shape. They tried to plant the odd thing here or there over the past eighteen months, but everything kept dying, so they assumed that the soil was bad.
Amar and his family live in Theravil, which is in the north of Sri Lanka. It was hit hard by the war, and it was still caught up in conflict in 2009. The agriculture sector in this part of the country hasn’t seen a great deal of advancement over the years either; the few producers of groundnuts in the region at the moment still use traditional methods, which sap the soil of nutrients and lead to diminished crops over time.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
Amar and his wife, along with 300 other producers, will be engaged in the profitable groundnut sector. Many of these families are already working in this sector, but unprofitably. What we will be doing is working with them to break down all the barriers in this sector that prevent them from effectively engaging with the market.
HOW WE ARE DOING IT
We’ll be working with the producers to provide them with training, knowledge about the market, and advocacy skills. These producers will learn about the latest technology and come to understand best practice in cultivating their seeds and storing the groundnuts after they have been harvested. They will work together as a collective and use their combined influence to negotiate better prices with buyers, access government grants, and resolve any disputes. With their newfound knowledge, these producers will be able to produce more groundnuts of better quality, for which they will receive a better price.
We take a systems approach in how we work – transforming the systems that keep the poor economically excluded. What this means is that we look at the root problems in why the poor are not being connected to the Groundnut sector and work with the community and market actors to address these barriers, one by one.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
This programme gives 300 villagers just like Amar the opportunity to use their land productively, access essential training and services, and create a more reliable income stream. In order to start this project in Theravil, we need to raise $81,985. This works out at $273 per family; only $56 a year over the 5-year programme to help Amar grow a brighter future for himself, his wife, and his children.
A WHOLE OF VILLAGE TRANSFORMATION IN THERAVIL
This project is just one of the projects that we are doing in Theravil. We work through a whole of village approach to improve the economic well being of the families and transform the village. We will spend five years in each village breaking down the barriers that prevent the poor from engaging in profitable markets, and earning enough to stand on their own two feet.
This means barriers both in the market as well as those socio-economic barriers that keep vulnerable families economically excluded.
We will achieve this over a five year period, by:
- Supporting the continued increase of income, assets and savings
- Working to economically empower women & men producers so that they have a voice and agency in the homes, communities and the markets in which they work, and
- Working to reduce the vulnerability of families so that they can recover from shocks and sustain their growth out of vulnerability
This project, “Learning the (ground)nuts and bolts” is just one of the many we will be undertaking in this village over the next five years. To learn more about the village vision and the many projects that will come together to enable this change, read more here.