Earlier this year, MiaDonna announced that 22% of profits from 2017 would be donated to support a new Greener Diamond initiative. We are excited to announce details about the establishment of The Greener Diamond Agricultural Training Center in alliance with Youth Action International expected to open in early 2019.
Located in Liberia, Africa, the five acre Center will train and employ up to 100 people at a given time for a two-year curriculum. These individuals will adapt new agricultural trade skills, all while earning an income of their own. Upon completion of the program, participants will have the opportunity to form a smaller cooperative and receive a loan of seeds, animals and a grant to start a farm of their own. This will allow the farm to not only sustain itself but also help diamond mining communities establish smaller farms and develop new trades of their own.
Lack of Food Security in Liberia
Unprecedented youth unemployment and lack of food security continue to hinder the progress and development in Liberia. It is estimated that 63% of Liberia’s population (approximately 4 million people) live in extreme poverty and more than 80% live on less than a dollar a day. The majority of the population are poor, marginalized and have little to no options to break the chain of poverty.
Both current and former Liberian presidents have stated that the country must focus on poverty reduction, youth employment and agricultural growth in order to see improvement in the overall state of the people. Furthermore, agriculture is not only a medium for employment, but it is also an important strategy to ensure food security for the country. Liberia’s stable food is rice, however, the country currently imports 99% of the rice it consumes at the cost of $200 million USD per year, which is nearly half of the national budget of $500 million USD.
The lack of food security can be linked back to being one of main reasons why diamond funded civil wars break out in these African countries. At The Greener Diamond, we want to support local communities learn how to farm effectively and efficiently, so we can break this vicious cycle. We no longer want people risking their lives in diamond mines in order to pay for imported food.
The Agricultural Training Center
The new Agricultural Training Center will directly address the issues of youth unemployment and lack of food security in a sustainable, effective and scalable manner by aiming to economically empower communities with self-sustainable, income generating programs. The Center will execute land and fish farming, animal husbandry, and food service. When implemented, the project will significantly reduce poverty and strengthen Liberia’s food security.
The Center will have a five-acre plot of land where a farm will be established by field experts using modern, organic farming techniques. The farm will grow food and raise animals that are in demand in the Liberian market. Once the produce has reached harvest level, program participants will learn to clean and package for the market. Additionally, they will be trained to market the product and manage cash flow, which is critical to ensuring successful returns on investment and overall management of the farm.
Once a participant completes the two-year curriculum, they will have the option of graduating with a certificate of completion or join nine other graduating participants to form a smaller cooperative. The smaller cooperative will then receive seeds and animals to start an independent farm. As these graduates exit the program and form their own projects, a new cohort of young people will enter.
Location for The Greener Diamond Agricultural Training Center in Liberia, Africa
About 100 people will participate in the Center in the first year. With average family sizes of 4+, program participants are expected to surpass 400 in the first two years. Additionally, there will be an increased availability of fresh, organic foods to households and community members as a result of the adoption of improved and sustainable farming practices. Other benefits will include improved and consolidated stock of seeds, livestock farming, year-round availability of fresh fish, better availability of farming tools, rehabilitation and developed valley fields, storage and drying facilities for agricultural produce, and improved nutrition.
How You Can Help
While The Greener Diamond does not accept cash donations, we are in need of supplies. Below is a list of items we need to establish the farm at the new Agricultural Training Center. We would need donations by October 2018 to pack into a shipping container leaving for Liberia. If you or anyone you know can help, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate a pick-up. We are happy to provide documentation for tax write-offs. Thank you for your donations!
About The Greener Diamond
The Greener Diamond is a charity foundation created by mother, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, Anna-Mieke Anderson. After Anna-Mieke discovered the truth behind the origin of her own diamond ring, she committed to searching for a conflict-free alternative solution. She also began sponsoring a child in Liberia, Africa, an area that has been blighted by the diamond mining industry. Through this sponsorship, she was able to exchange letters with the little boy and gained a clear understanding of his situation and the plight of the entire community. She knew that something needed to be done on a large scale to affect positive change. MiaDonna and The Greener Diamond were created together, to work as a system, toward the common goal of eliminating the demand for conflict diamonds. Funds from consumers purchasing eco-friendly engagement rings and eco-friendly diamonds at MiaDonna & Company allows The Greener Diamond to repair the damage caused by the unethical harvesting of mined diamonds, gems, and precious metals.