Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA) teamed up with Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) sub-regional office and refugee leadership, for the implementation of a support program Directed towards People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWA) and clients with mental illnesses, in PTP camp, Grand Gedeh County.
The program started in the second quarter of 2015 and is intended to support the Extremely Venerable Individuals (EVI) in terms of providing income generating activities and options for stress relief.
To this end, agriculture was identified as a major activity to supplement the livelihood of the people and also fight anemia and malnutrition which is prevalent in the refugee camps. The agriculture was planned for a group farming scheme and also to support individuals who already secured land for individual farming. With 120 beneficiaries, 15 acre of land was secured for the group farming while more than 20 acre of individual farms were supported.
1.1 Group farm
The group farm was started with only 5 acre of land but with successful implementation, additional 10acre was awarded for AHA from the host community through LRRRC thus reaching more beneficiaries. Currently 120 EVIs are supported in the program (PLWA, Mental illnesses and elderly people).
1.2 Individual farms
25 clients with farms around the camp were identified and given financial support. The support provided include; payments for labor force to complete the expansion work on individual farm, brushing of the bush, weeding, use of insecticides and herbicides.
Coordination with camp leadership: AHA has established a strong coordination with the camp leadership from the initiation of the project. The team composed of PLWA and community health workers who are also beneficiaries in the group. Elderly individuals were are also included in the beneficiaries so as to solve unattended death cases amongst the elderly and conduct regular health check up at the farm site.
The leadership continuously provided technical advice with regular visits to the farm; mobilized the youth and the camp security team to volunteer to brush and clear the farm land; and supported the farm by mobilizing the block leaders to come and work at the farm every Saturday.
Coordination with Partners in the camp: AHA partner, LRRRC took the lead of negotiating the land deal with the host community and was able to secure 15 acre of land. Furthermore, LRRRC and Care supported the program by making regular visit to assure the security and safety of the project.
Coordination with UNHCR Sub-office Zwedru: UNHCR sub office provided continuous technical support and also visited the farm project to directly encourage the beneficiaries. The sub office through the nutrition associate also co-headed the different coordination meetings with partners (USAID-HANDS, MOA and others) that AHA is attending to expand the farm.
Coordination with other stakeholders: AHA was also working closely with Ministry of Agriculture (MoA). MoA did inspection of the farm land to provide machine for tilling of the farm. MoA agreed to provide the machinery for tilling to speed up the process and also minimize labor coast. In addition the Ministry was very supportive in the free provision of some seedlings and fertilizer. With support from WHO/WFP, AHA has secured 700 pairs of rain boots which were distributed for the EVIs, volunteers, camps security and the leadership and LRRRC staffs in the camp.
1.3 Group farm handover
AHA handed over the first farm garden on September 5, to the intended beneficiaries in PTP camp. The farm given out covered three acres of crops comprising of cassava, maize, beans, ground nuts, bitter balls and soybeans. The process of dividing the portions to each beneficiary was carefully taken by drawing all the beneficiaries on board before the final handover which was graced by UNHCR representation, CARE camp management and camp leadership. A group of forty EVIs benefited from the first pilot project.