In the village of Pujehun, two families were affected by the Ebola outbreak. As a result, the village was quarantined, and people were prohibited from visiting their farms during critical planting times. Many families had a poor harvest and were concerned about food security during the upcoming “hungry season.” During a special community planning session, community members came up with a great idea – to get loans of seed rice that they would use to increase their harvests and that they could pay back later. The rice they paid back will go into a community store for future emergencies.
When OVP staff went to Pujehun to observe the delivery of the seed rice, they discovered the community had shown a great deal of initiative. They established a system of loaning seed rice that was much more detailed than the one OVP had proposed.
Each individual that wanted to get a bag of seed rice had to not only be a member of the group, but they had to have a guarantor present to sign for them. This was all kept in meticulous records by the community store. After the finish of the harvest season, the individual who took the seed rice loan is to pay back not only the entirety of the bag of seed rice, but also an extra “can” of seed rice. Each member of the farming group will monitor the individual who borrowed the rice to ensure proper use and full payment.
This is a remarkable move for a community. The increased planning that was put into this project by the members of the farming groups in Pujehun means improved crisis resiliency in the upcoming year and a larger pool of seed rice for the next planting season. By allowing those with the greatest immediate need access to a full bag of seed rice, these farming groups are also effectively identifying those most at risk in their community and providing a hand up from their potentially uncertain position.