Seed Programs International

GEA FarmersGrowEastAfrica (a project of Diaspora Burji Community Organization), is an Ethiopian diaspora-led group based in the US who provides access to resources and training that strengthen the resilience of families in Southern Ethiopia. They work with about 1,000 families at a crossroads for Kenyan - Ethiopian IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons). Co-Founder Yohannes Chonde understands the families' journey, the experience of displacement, and what they need to be successful because may of the families come from his ancestral home, Burji District.

“GrowEastAfrica’s agricultural projects work with vulnerable farmers, many of whom are women, by training them in improved practical agricultural methods, helping them access quality agricultural inputs and technology, and linking them to viable markets. Such efforts help farmers grow more food for themselves or to sell. In doing so, farmers are able to prevent hunger, preserve land for future use, and obtain long lasting food security.” — Yohannes Chonde

Their short-term goal is to establish agricultural livelihoods for people who have been displaced. They accomplish this by providing access to key resources like land, water, and high-quality vegetable seed in addition to extensive training and education.

Yohannes and the farmers, mostly women, deeply and ongoingly assess their program to learn what’s working and what’s not. He continues to build strong relationships within both the IDP and local communities, an important part of successfully integrating an IDP community in a new location. GrowEastAfrica is tasked with not only providing a short-term solution for folks who are fleeing their homes and establishing new lives, but they must also provide a long-term solution that enrolls and integrates local communities in ways that benefit both groups.

The impact of GrowEastAfrica’s program is perhaps best stated by Fate, an IDP woman who has reestablished her livelihood through the program and has also stepped into leadership to train other farmers.

“Thank you so much for all you have done for our community. Just a few years ago we were a community that was worried about what we would eat tomorrow and what the future looks like. Our young people were leaving for the city. Like many of us, they too dreamed of finding a better place to live.

Today, we're still here. Things are looking better thanks to our son Yohannes, who returned to create a path to self-sufficiency for us. Today, not only are we growing our own food, but we're making plans for the future of our people and our community. We are creating markets for ourselves, we're inspiring and empowering each other, and we're saving money and contributing to our own development. Because of the support from Seed Programs International and Yohannes, we now have access to water where there was none.

We’re building on what we’ve already accomplished to include neighboring villages and communities. Hope has come back to us, and we hope to grow our project so everyone — us, our communities, our villages and our country — can become fully self-reliant. We have reached this place because of the support of many people that we will never meet. It is all thanks you to you.

It is said that wise men plant trees whose shade they will never be able to rest under. You have planted that tree for us, and you have allowed us to plant that tree for future generations. Thank you for choosing to invest in our community and in our well-being. We are going to be good stewards of your trust and your resources and will continue to share updates of our growth and successes, as well as challenges, for many years to come.

With Gratitude from Fate and the Soyama Women’s Group.”

You can read more about this partnership in our Updates section, and you’re always welcome to contact us with any questions or for more information.

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Seed Programs International

PO Box 9163
Asheville, NC 28815


Seed Programs Canada (Affiliate)

Registered Charity No. 839858107RR0001
Lombardy, ON

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Seed Programs International (SPI)

Seed Programs InternationalSeed Programs International (SPI) is a non-profit, tax exempt, non-governmental humanitarian organization.

We work thorough other humanitarian organizations, church groups, service clubs and individual donors, to provide quality seed to impoverished communities in developing countries enabling them to grow some of their own food. In addition to seed, SPI provides critical seed expertise and experience operating seed based self help programs.”

SPI is operated by individuals with over 50 years seed industry experience plus over 20 years experience in vegetable research and production. We also have 15 years experience operating programs that have successfully shipped seed to over 70 countries on five continents. SPI has shipped enough seed to plant over 1,000,000 vegetable gardens, providing more than 20 kinds of vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals often missing in people’s diets.