On January 2008, African scientists representing AAPDEP’s African Corps of Engineers, Scientists and Healthcare Workers (ACESH) traveled to Sierra Leone. Their goal was to raise $10,000 for a variety of development projects in the region.
In the coastal village of Oloshoro, a community of 2,000 people in Freetown, Sierra Leone, AAPDEP in joint effort with the Africanist Movement developed a community healthcare project to address the high rate of infant and maternal mortality. The infant mortality rate is 15.44%, 154.43 per 1000 births. Maternal mortality is one in eight. Also, efforts were made to prevent waterborne diseases through workshops by Dr. Michelle Strongfields. During this time, medical equipment and supplies were provided to the Oloshoro Healthcare Committee.
By April 2008, AAPDEP began work with fishermen in Oloshoro to develop a community owned and operated commercial fishing enterprise. The goals were to provide protein, income for youth and funding for development projects like schools and sanitation facilities. Here is what Bai Turray, Chairman of the Oloshoro community had to say at the time:
“The fishing project will provide employment for our youths and generate resources that can be used for basic social and economic development…It will help solve the problems of women and children and the elderly.”
In Gbanelo, a small village of 500 people, located in Lungi, Sierra Leone, ACESH began assessment work to develop 30 acres of land for a community farm. Also in April 2008, AAPDEP and the Africanist Movement built three rainwater harvesting systems in Gbanelo. 22% of people in Sierra Leone have clean water while the remaining 78% rely on unsanitary sources. The harvesting systems were built to help reduce waterborne diseases by providing 3,000 liters of clean water daily during the rainy season.
In March 2009, the Uhuru Movement launched the African Village Survival Initiative (AVSI) in St. Petersburg, Florida with the goal to provide food, water, energy and self-sustaining economic institutions. The AVSI is a joint effort of AAPDEP and the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF).
Through the AVSI, the Uhuru Movement continues to organize local committees in the United States for the purpose of building African community gardens, promoting water purification techniques for irrigation and promoting sustainability. So far the AVSI has established collective organic backyard gardens and set up rainwater harvesting systems for garden irrigation and other household needs. Workshops are offered once a month regarding these projects.
The aforementioned 30 acre farming project in Lungi, Sierra Leone is still in progress. AAPDEP and ACESH together with the Africanist Movement are working to transform the area into a community farm that will produce onions, groundnuts and maize for community consumption. It has been reported that 66% of Sierra Leone is involved in subsistence farming; a type of farming in which almost all produce is used to feed and support the farmers’ family, leaving little for selling. Most live on $1.00 a day and lack tools and resources to improve on and/or increase what is produced. We are asking Africans with skills in the areas of farming, soil science and agribusiness to contact us to find out how they can contribute to this and future projects.
There is work in progress to address the alarming rate of infant and maternal mortality. At least one in eight women dies during pregnancy or childbirth, in Sierra Leone. This is one of the highest death rates in the world. AAPDEP and ACESH are also working with Florida midwives to develop birthing centers and provide training to women in Sierra Leone. The first step is to get our partner midwife to Sierra Leone to assess the best way to institute the building of a facility with hopes to train people from the community to run this center. We are initiating projects that will give training to local health care constituents who have committed to serve their communities to combat this preventable phenomenon. Plans are underway for birthing centers to be built within local communities to make basic healthcare accessible. Details on this progression of this project will be posted on our website soon!
Again we are calling on healthcare workers, specifically those who specialize in the field of pediatrics, midwifery, and nutrition to lend your skills to this project.
Major milestones are happening on the ground in Sierra Leone where AAPDEP will be launching the Oloshoro Fishing Project in November 2009. We’ve reached one of our goals to equip a boat in the village with a motor. This will not only enable the local people to go out further and catch more fish to bring back to the community for sustenance, but is also a means to create economic sustainability for their community. However, we feel that this project can grow and we ask that more boat motors be donated so that we can equip other boats in the community. With more access to the water this community will grow and provide more and more for themselves. If you want to donate a motor or know how we can obtain one please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Branches Forming
Oakland, CA—AAPDEP celebrated the consolidation of its first AAPDEP branch in Oakland, California. Its first task is to begin work on a community garden at the Uhuru House location. This garden will serve the African community by creating avenues of learning about gardening. It will also be a source of healthy foods through our AVSI initiatives.
Houston, TX—A meeting was held at the S.H.A.P.E. Community Center in which Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African Socialist International (ASI), and AAPDEP Director Aisha Fields, spoke. Local people enthusiastically inquired about how they can come into the work to form a local AAPDEP branch. A kick-off meeting was scheduled for October 30, 2009 where the main objective to establish leadership and make decisions around what projects will be implemented that will benefit African communities in the city.
Washington, DC—In a city where Africans are under state repression, unemployment is at an all time high, and gentrification threatens our longstanding neighborhoods, it is imperative that this local branch gets off its ledge. The first meeting of AAPDEP D.C. will be held on November 21, 2009. This meeting will also work to identify leadership, decide which projects are most needed in the community and the best ways to implement them.
Our organization is looking forward to continued growth and forward movement.