LIBERIA – As a part of the “Community and School Garden Initiative” of Church Aid Inc. (CAI), students from the Mother Tegeste Stewart Apostolic Pentecostal School in Brewerville planted about 6,000 okra seeds today, June 23, 2022, to launch their school garden in collaboration with CAI. The organization, Church Aid is the relief and development department of Apostolic Pentecostal Church International headquarters at New Water in the Desert Assembly on VOA#1 Road, organized in February 1998.
The organization shares and cares for the less fortunate including the child-at-risk champion’s campaign against Statelessness advances women’s empowerment through microenterprise development and skills training supports food security and other educational initiatives including forgiveness education, reading-room project, birth registration, etc.
Launching the seed planting initiative, the Chairman/CEO of the Board of Directors of Church Aid, Bishop Kortu K. Brown called for the prioritizing of food security if Liberia is to experience the economic development we seek adding, “food security will enable the country to undermine hunger and poverty that’s prevailing in the country”.
He called on students to engage in productive ventures like agriculture and laid out the purpose of the initiative to include the church’s desire to contribute to bolstering agricultural development, supporting the school, community, and family gardening, and the encouragement of young people to engage in food production activities, amongst others.
For her part, Rev. (Mrs.) Miatta R. Sirleaf welcomed the initiative and encouraged the students to fully participate in the gardening program in order to help boost food production and also support their school gardening and school feeding programs. Rev. Sirleaf, a trained agriculture technician from Liberia, Japan, and The Philippines thanked the board of directors, teachers, and students for their participation in the project and pledged to work with them to the finish line in order to achieve the objectives of the project.
The Agriculture Director of the school, Mr. Raymond Alpha praised Church Aid and her partners for initiating the project and pledged the support of he, and his students’ fullest cooperation to the success of the project. The students, both boys, and girls expressed delight in participating in the school garden project. Some requested seeds to take home to begin their family gardens. Children of the elementary school division planted okra seeds in about 195 empty rice bags with soil around the line-formation square of the school.
Church Aid is reaching out to communities, schools, and families “to sow seed to fight hunger”. This initiative has received a donation of about 5,000 packets of a variety of vegetable seeds from Seed Program International based in North Carolina, USA. Church Aid has supported gardening programs since 1998 with the goal of engaging women and community gardeners in supporting food security activities that will grow personal incomes and multiply seeds, amongst others. The organization has distributed more than half-a-million packets of vegetable seeds donated by Seed Program International since 2006 which has benefitted more than 50,000 peri-urban and rural farmers in the country.
Meanwhile, Church Aid is preparing for the reception of a vegetable seed consultant to Liberia before the end of June to assess ongoing food security efforts and explore possibilities of local seed procurement for seed multiplication and food production.