What we do
What we do
Farming on Crutches (FoC) empowers those in Sierra Leone who have lost a limb to be able to farm organically - through the experience and activities of the Sierra Leone Amputee Sports Association Permaculture and Agro-ecological Farm (SLASA-PAF). This transformation from disability into opportunity starts on a three-acre farm during a one-week course of training in theory and practice. You can get an idea of what happens on the course in this short film. Participants leave the course not only with knowledge but also with tools and seeds and a small amount of cash to permit them to start farming at home. As well as being able to earn a living, they become changemakers in their communities, generating respect in the process.
Future within Sierra Leone
Extending the training to all members of SLASA. We have made a good start but so far only 45 of the 350 members of SLASA have had the opportunity to participate in a training course so providing that opportunity to all members is an absolute priority.
Bee-keeping on crutches
Thanks to support from Bees Abroad and building on the experience of the Rory’s Well project, where bee-keeping has been successfully introduced as a new source of livelihood with significant opportunities for adding value, work has started on adapting bee-keeping to be accessible to those with a single limb.
Demonstration farms
We want to extend our nature-friendly approach to farming, free from chemicals and as far a possible free from debt, not only to the amputee community but also to those who are able-bodied. So plans are being developed to establish a demonstration farm in each of the four provinces outside Freetown. A condition for the development of such farms is that the land, which generally makes up half of the cost of developing the farm, is donated by the local community. We aim to encourage increased awareness of, and the transfer of knowledge to, rural changemakers on ecological, conservational and environmental issues within the local context. The communities will gain practical education on how to develop and carry out sustainable agricultural management practices.
Establishing the training farm as a centre of excellence
Many lessons are being learned from these training courses and from the management of the farm which are being captured for future use. The aim is to strengthen PAF’s ability to share such knowledge online both within and outside Sierra Leone, through training courses and written material. There are also possibilities to extend the training beyond soil-based farming into areas such as bee-keeping (already started with Bees Abroad) and adding value to raw produce through drying, fermenting, storage and packaging etc.
Building a small management team
Like most new initiatives, Farming on Crutches is very dependent upon one or two key people and there is a need to build a small team that can manage the farm, run training courses, monitor and mentor the trainees, raise funds and account for them, raise its profile in the media and respond to enquiries from both home and abroad.
Outside Sierra Leone
SLASA’s reputation was originally built on empowering amputees through football. Amputee football is played in 18 other countries across Africa – Liberia, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Togo, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Morocco, Egypt, Angola and Rwanda. There is an opportunity to share the knowledge and experience of the farm with these countries and encourage them to establish their own training facility based on the model in Sierra Leone. With this mind, we want to invite one representative from each of these countries to attend a training session in Sierra Leone. This will provide both experience of what is on offer and an opportunity to identify what modifications may be needed to implement the programme under their home conditions – conscious that farming is highly dependent upon the local conditions – soils, climate, crop species, traditions, markets etc. With six such representatives spending a week on a training course and with nine counterparts from Sierra Leone this could be achieved through holding three such courses.