Local women making shea butter during an ECOVA MALI workshop.
Tree planting at training center.
Our head farmer, Sedou, demonstrating the foot pump used for irrigation.
Here are some of the things we accomplished in the past 2 years:
* Received a generous grant from LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics through their Charity Pot program which enabled us to purchase the land and develop the infrastructure necessary to have our own operational training center and field office. Thank you, LUSH
* Planted an orchard of various fruit trees (cashew, mango, lime, papaya, coconut, guava, date, and pomegranate).
* Hired a dedicated team of full-time and part-time Malian staff.
* Provided short-term employment for over 100 people from local communities at our training center.
* Held nearly a dozen technical workshops for local farmers at our training center, including: composting, making and using natural pesticides, improved shea butter production methods, solar drying, how & why to vaccinate chickens, and more! All in all, over 60 people participated in these workshops.
* Hosted our first volunteer (a young woman from Devon, England), who lived at our training center for 2 months, worked tirelessly alongside our staff in the gardens, and befriended everyone at and around our training center. Thanks, Ellie!
* Launched a beautiful new website thanks to the dedication and expertise volunteered by the folks at Jumpstart Logic - Interactive Web Development. Thanks Lindsay and Brian!
* Produced and sold hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, maize, peanuts, and cashew nuts.
* Raised and sold over 100 chickens.
Gained the interest and attention of Nourishing the Planet, a research and advocacy group supported by the World Watch Institute.
|Season’s Greetings from ECOVA MALI!
Dear Friends, Family, Colleagues, and Supporters,
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to those of you who have made a contribution to ECOVA MALI this year and/or in years past. Thanks to our supporters, ECOVA MALI is increasing food security and strengthening livelihoods for Malian Farmers,especially women. The contributions received to date have positively impacted the lives of hundreds of Malian farmers and their families – through employment opportunities, business and agricultural training, micro-loans, and mini-grants! …AND we are truly just getting started!!!
2012 holds great promise for being our most amazing year yet and here’s why:
We have plans to drastically increase the number of agricultural workshops offered at our training center and on-location in villages in other regions of Mali. These workshops provide entrepreneurial women and men with the knowledge and skills training they need to start, increase, and/or improve their agricultural production, thus increasing their families’ food security and creating income-generating opportunities. Our goal is to provide hands-on training to 120 people in 2012. ECOVA MALI hires local experts to teach fellow Malians valuable and practical agricultural skills. Our workshops are highly participatory and hands-on. This type of experiential learning makes it easy for participants to take their new skills and knowledge and share them effectively with peers in their communities, thus giving our initial training efforts a positive ripple effect.
We want to increase our lending capacity so that we can provide start-up capital to a greater number of entrepreneurial farmers through micro-loans. Our goal for 2012 is to put $2,500 into a revolving loan fund. With a 100% payback rate to date, we anticipate that this loan fund will not only sustain itself but will actually grow as a result of a small interest rate (5%) applied to the loans.
Lastly, we plan to significantly expand the agricultural production at our training center to include fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, and value-added products. Increasing and diversifying production will generate revenue through sales of surplus that will help off-set our operating expenses in years to come. On-site production activities also function as operational models that trainees and visitors can replicate on their own.
BUT… in order to make all this a reality, we need your help to reach our goal of raising $15,000 for our 2012 programs. We kindly ask that you contribute whatever you can and spread the word to your friends & family asking them to do the same. 100% of funds raised go directly to support our efforts on the ground in Mali. Being a small and highly efficient, grassroots organization with minimal overhead expenses, your contributions go a long way. So you can rest assured that your tax-deductible donations are being well spent and actually reach their intended destination, where they make a real difference in the lives of real people!
We look forward to serving ever greater numbers of Malian farmers and their communities in 2012 and in years to come. On behalf of everyone at ECOVA MALI and the farmers and communities we serve:
Many Thanks in advance for your generous support!
Merci mille fois! I ni baaraji!
Ka sini kénéa ani nafalo d’an beh ma!
(May tomorrow bring health & prosperity to us all!)
Greg and Cindy Hellmann Flatt
Co-Founders and Directors
PS. Everyone who makes a donation of $50-$99 by check will receive a copy of the CD "Zou & Moctar - La Sauce" (recorded in Mali by Greg with Cindy and nearly a dozen amazing Malian musicians). Everyone who donates $100 or more will receive 3 copies of the CD. They make a great gift for anyone who loves world music. Just be sure to include your mailing address along with your donation. Consider it a small token of our appreciation and we hope you like the music!