Friday, August 28, 2009

In 2007, The Ox-Plow Project And Mill Grinding Projects Begins

Women of Hope Mission (WHOM) projects of posho-mill and ox-plow kicked off in late 2007 and 2008. These projects are supported by ECSS friends at Trinity Baptist Church, Nashua, NH USA. The beneficiaries of the projects are very much excited and are grateful to God for His provision. The project of the grinding mill is located in Loming village where Jordan Anguramoi is pastor and the one of ox-plow is in Ilieu village, which has the most established congregation.

Trinity Baptist made it possible for the purchase 6 bulls and plows. Before this, the widows were using hand garden tools for growing their millet, ground nuts (peanuts), and sorghum. Having the ox-plow project, this provided the widows with a more sustainable harvest and income and improve their livelihood. The most vulnerable were the elderly, widows and orphans which made up a very large part of the village population. In Ilieu, out of over 500 homes there are about equal number of widows living there. Most of the adult men were killed during the civil war. This project was the beginning of the feeling of hope for the future, where the people were so downtrodden before.
The Women's Grinding Mill project will serve as a local resource providing assistance to widows and credit assistance to over 40.000 widows in seven villages. WHOM members, especially widows, have very low income potential. Most income generating projects are inaccessible to women both in urban and rural areas. Many of their families' basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothes. let alone medical care, school fees and materials, are not accessible to them. Severe malnutrition in these families is often prevalent among children. Too often, because of lack of resources, mothers unable to diversify their children's diets with vegetables and other vitamin-rich foods. Without a well-balanced diet, the risk of vitamin deficiency among young children rapidly increases. Women in Sudan work extremely hard, often much harder than their male counterparts. In Sudan, it is the traditional distinction between women's work and men's work that continues to place upon women's back many of the household duties such as cooking, fetching water, caring for children, cultivating and harvesting fields, pounding grain into flour, etc. One of the major tasks identified by women as the most difficult and time consuming is the pounding of grain into flour. This is a task that women undertake in preparing food for their own families.

The goal is to lighten the manual tasks of women in food preparation, and to provide an opportunity for increased income generation, thus raising women's ability to care for their families and improve their children's nutritional status.
Our initial objective are: 1) to provide one grinding mill each to two women's groups (congregations) in two rural areas of Sudan; 2) to assist women in increasing their household income through the establishment of rural savings and loan projects that will work from the revenue of the mill and provide small credit opportunities to women; 3) to facilitate the work of women in preparing food, and to provide additional free time for other care duties; 4) to improve the quality of food. However, we have seen that this will take time for us to realize these objectives because of the nature of the difficult situation in South Sudan. Importing materials from neighboring countries proved to be very expensive because of taxation and transportation.
In September of 2007, one posho mill was purchased and transported to Sudan from Kenya. With the expert help from an government official, this posho mill was installed in the village of Loming and has been providing income for the local widows. Also Pastor Solomon Ollum, who is in charge of ECSS Immanuel church in Ilieu village is already getting support from the posho mill micro-income. The business of the posho mill is going on well although high price of fuel is becoming a problem.
The ECSS Women of Hope (ECSS-WHOM) is still requesting all those good wishers to donate toward ox-plow project for widows in South Sudan. They need to begin the same project in other villages (Loming, Chalamini, Torit, Hiyala, Lobira and Lalanga). If interested, donations can be sent to the address in the Contact Information in this blog.