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"I'm proud that the people we support excel at what they do"

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Insertion | Sierra Leone | PUBLISHED ON November 24th 2023
Dusu Naomi Lansana (second from right) and her colleagues on the inclusive farm.

Dusu Naomi Lansana (second from right) and her colleagues on the inclusive farm. | © S. Kabo / HI

For Dusu Naomi Lansana, the inclusive farm project in Sierra Leone enables the people participating to overcome the obstacles of everyday life and practise their activity in a sustainable way.

Dusu Naomi Lansana is a project manager for HI in Sierra Leone. She works on our inclusive farm project in the Western Area Urban district around the capital Freetown. Through this project, she is helping people with disabilities, people living with HIV and survivors of gender-based violence to become more independent and regain their dignity.

Breaking down barriers and giving new hope

For Dusu, the inclusive nature of the project is key. By including people with disabilities, people living with HIV and survivors of gender-based violence, the inclusive farm is helping them to overcome the obstacles they face on a daily basis restoring their autonomy.

"It has raised the dignity of the project participants, particularly the women. At the farm, everyone sees themselves as belonging to the same group. The barriers that were excluding people before have been broken down. I am proud that most of them can now practise improved and sustainable agriculture.”

Through agricultural training and coaching in small-scale business management, the project enables its participants to excel at their activities. It has also helped to set up village credit and savings associations so that community members can grant each other loans to strengthen their businesses, launch new activities and diversify their sources of income with the support of the group.

All these measures have greatly improved the living conditions of the project participants and their families.

An enriching experience

Dusu joined HI in March 2023, to help set up the inclusive farm project. This is the first time she has worked on a mushroom cultivation and production project.

“I find it very interesting! Since joining the project, I've learned how to grow mushrooms and other plants in a sustainable way. Working with HI  – making and growing compost, transferring substrate bags from the composting chamber to the fruiting chamber and selling our mushrooms – is a great experience!”

Dusu really enjoys working with people from different backgrounds. On this project, she sees people who have had difficult experiences learning to make peace with themselves and regaining their self-confidence.

Inclusive farm project

In Sierra Leone, HI and its local partners, NETHIPS (Network of HIV Positives) and Visit Sierra Leone, are running an inclusive farm project in two districts. The aim is to promote the autonomy of people with disabilities, people living with HIV and survivors of gender-based violence.

By learning the techniques needed to produce mushrooms and attending training courses on business management, the project participants acquire knowledge and skills that guarantee them an income. Some 200 people are benefiting directly from this project. With their families, 1,200 people will see their living conditions improve in the long term.

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