This is the nuts and bolts of IFOSuD. It is a hands-on training program that runs every week in three locations. Farmers are taught how to think critically, to analyze, decide, and act.
Farmer Field School (FFS) has three main branches: farming, animal husbandry, and small business. Each community has 50 members, and the 50 members are divided into these groups. Each group then meets together once a week for FFS.
At FFS each meeting begins with prayer and worship. Next they have a Bible lesson, taught orally and with much discussion so they will be able to remember and repeat it at home with their families. Finally, they begin the technical training.
In the farming group they are taught to better grow their traditional crops and to grow new crops, such as vegetables like tomatoes and peppers. Seed quality, composting, and pest control are all topics we cover in technical training. We want them to have something to feed their families and have extra to sell. With this profit they can improve their farms, increase the quality and quantity of seeds planted, and send their children to school.
Animal husbandry technical training is usually focused on goats, but can include chickens and cows. Everything from proper diet, shelter, and breeding is discussed. IFOSuD has several licensed vets who vaccinate and provide medical care for beneficiaries’ goats.
Small business technical training includes ethics, inventory, profit margins, and marketing. Almost all of our small business beneficiaries are women. We encourage their entrepreneurial spirit. They sell anything from fresh cooked food, to school supplies, to flour on the streets in Haiti.
Micro loans are an important part of FFS. Each beneficiary receives a loan through IFOSuD. Farmers receive seed, animal husbandry receives goats, and small business receives cash. IFOSuD has an incredible loan repayment rate of over 90%! IFOSuD works with the individual and the community to encourage loan repayment. It is one fo the requirements for graduation.
Home visits are our secret ingredient. Each Field Monitor visits each of the benficiaries’ homes. This is an incredible discipleship time. The family can share their hopes and struggles. They pray together and encourage each other.
“They are so excited because they never see other organizations come to their house to visit them as friends. Even family embers are excited. It’s so awesome!”
–Neslyne, Field Monitor