BRAID Africa has pioneered the approach of enabling sponsored families to establish agricultural cooperatives that are self-owned, prevent deforestation, and increase food production per hectare to levels that create community-sustaining food and business profit. Agricultural cooperatives transform our sponsored communities into economic hubs of prosperity. Profits generated by the cooperatives are re-invested into the community to fund schools, enable medical care, and address other crucial community needs in ways self-determined by the residents of that community.
THE STABILITY OF SUSTENANCE
BRAID Africa’s agricultural program investments are based upon the principles of enablement and entrepreneurship. Instead of providing food supplies on a reoccurring basis, we assist our sponsor families in their efforts to develop self-owned farming cooperatives. BRAID Africa then extends loans to these cooperatives so that they may be developed into sustainable farming ventures. The crops produce both sustenance and food for resale. Funds from these sales are used to repay the BRAID Africa loan within one year.
INNOVATION AND COLLABORATION
To address the issues created by wet/dry seasons, BRAID Africa is working in conjunction with the Frugal Innovation Hub at the University of Santa Clara Engineering Department to install a crop irrigation system within a pilot cooperative. This crop irrigation system will be replicated to all sponsored cooperatives. Food production is expected to increase several fold.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
BRAID Africa implements an innovative approach that provides our sponsored families with agricultural and business education. The five-day workshop is led by farming experts. We fund all costs to enable this educational program. Participants in the cooperative farming venture are required to attend each learning session. In addition to farming techniques, our cooperative participants learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, business management, and the use of proceeds to create an expanding, profitable venture.
We provide the funding and materials for sponsored villages to build and sustain schools. These programs provide dual benefits. These schools provide families working in their agricultural cooperatives with a place for the children to learn and develop as the adults conduct their daily business of farming.
To break the cycle of deprivation experienced within our sponsored region, it is necessary to prepare young people with the benefits of education. Donations to BRAID Africa directly address the issues created by a lack of viable schools within the Grand Gedeh county of Liberia. Our funding programs are tailored-made to fit the needs of the region. In our first community effort, we provided the funds to build a school, ensure children receive daily meals and enable teachers with the correct materials with which to conduct their classes.
THE INTEGRATION OF CULTURES
Donations to BRAID Africa enable programs that teach students topics that prepare a young person to lead an effective life. By offering curriculum materials in both English and French, we facilitate the integration of Liberian English speaking and the Ivorian French speaking children into a single educational framework. Our first sponsored program supported K through 4th-grade coursework. Students have now progressed beyond this level. Children from our sponsored village and the war refugee families the village hosts are provided with an upward path of education. This opportunity for children to attend school would be unobtainable without our assistance.
The first phase, started in 2012, focused on treatment of war-related injuries and as the treatment progressed the total number of cases decreased each year. From 2012 to 2017, we provided treatment for 561 refugee survivors.
Six years after the war, we achieved our goal of restoring the Ivorian refugee survivors’ physical health. The majority of the refugee survivors who received treatment have elected to stay in Liberia, a country that is struggling to recover from its own 14 years of conflict.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Several communities have expressed the need to develop markets for their crop production. Currently, crops are sold in the open and without structures available to house or sell the produce in rainy conditions. BRAID Africa is developing the support infrastructure to enable our sponsored villages to build and operate within a structured marketplace.
As BRAID Africa’s support and enablement services expand to additional communities with the Grand Gedeh County, diverse community needs emerge. We identify these needs and custom design support and services programs to enable communities to gain maximum benefit from BRAID Africa’s assistance.