Planting Promise is a social enterprise, or should I say a group of businesses, that directs its profits towards actively contributing to the development of Sierra Leone. Through farming, food processing and its Internet cafe the company is taking a commercial approach to bring sustainable solutions to pressing problems in the country; it believes that empowerment through employment, wealth and hope bring much greater, lasting change than traditional charity.
Founded by Rocco Falconer in 2008 after travelling to Sierra Leone and meeting local philanthropist Eddie Boston-Mammah, Planting Promise started when the two decided to open a small school, which had such high demand that the next challenge was finding a way to fund them; this is what lead to the idea of bringing together economic opportunity and education into villages. Planting Promise provides tools, seeds, and equipment for farming, and the farmers earn 22% of the yield’s profits with the rest going to fund the operating costs such as teacher wages for the schools.
The organization now has six farms that produce rice, cassava, peppers and some experimental crops, which when harvested are collected and taken to a central processing facility also run by Planting Promise. Cassava is transformed into Gari, a dried and powdered form of the vegetable that is a food staple in the region, and Welbodi Gari, a variant product with added vitamins and proteins. With the facility’s excess capacity, the processing plant, which employs 24 full-time staff, purchases cassava from rural farmers across the country for processing to bring market access for remote villages to generate sustainable demand for their products.
Planting Promise also operates an Internet cafe where locals have access to learning courses, assistance with email set-up, photocopying and printing resources.
Through its enterprises, Planting Promise educates 940 children daily in its schools, employs nearly 200 people seasonally, and 53 people permanently, brings 280 bags of cassava each month to market for farmers who wouldn’t otherwise have customers, and through its farming, villages receive nearly £3000 more every year than they used to.
There are many ways to get involved, from making a donation, visiting their facilities, or even investing in the company’s expansion plans, click here.
Thank you Planting Promise for making our world wonderful.
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