Sowing Seeds of Change in the Sahel seeks to glorify God by working in agricultural development and community health in the Maradi region of south-central Niger. It is built on a strong tradition of SIM’s work in this area, which began with a Farm school in the 1950s, and was continued with the work of Maradi Integrated Development Project in the past 30 years.
In a country where subsistence farming is the most widespread form of existence, the project intervenes in an area renown for frequent famines, rapid population growth and low life expectancy. In an arid land, SSCS aims to change hearts, mind and ultimately behaviour – to alleviate needless suffering and hunger – by being a beacon of hope, not only for this life but also for the life to come.
To this end, SSCS have a wide range of ongoing activities. At the project’s base, SSCS runs two research and demonstration farms where the goal is to put into practice, demonstrate and teach improved agricultural techniques. Alongside this is a village teaching program, which takes agricultural and health training out to villages around Maradi, as well as in recent days, a local bible school. Furthermore, SSCS facilitates training for other NGOs, and indeed sees its role partly to serve and assist others working towards a similar end.
Village health training includes a wide range of topics: hygiene; sanitation; preventative health care; training birth attendants; and so on. These sessions often go hand-in-hand with chronological bible storying. As for agriculture, SSCS seeks to answer the need of subsistence farmers by demonstrating sustainable solutions which respond directly to physical need, as well as demonstrating how one can live out their faith as a farmer applying biblical truth and principals to what they do.