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BRAC: Ansu

Sarah Allen / Liberia

Before connecting with BRAC, Ansu earned a living as a coal laborer. He spent his nights collecting coal from the bush, and his days peddling coal in the community. He could only collect about a bag of coal per day, which sold for less than $2 USD.

Through his tireless work ethic and dedication, Ansu had become known as hardworking and trustworthy in his community. Though he dreamed of starting a farm, he could not afford the high startup costs of clearing land and buying seed and tools. So when BRAC visited his community last year, leaders in the community immediately thought of Ansu as a perfect candidate for its agriculture program.

After a few days of training, Ansu received 20 grams of seedlings. He was granted the use of land from the town’s land committee, and received a land preparation budget from BRAC to clear it. He cleared nearly an acre of bush himself.

Ansu never thought that one day he would be growing vegetables, but he says he was excited by the opportunity, and felt motivated and encouraged after the training.

Now, Ansu has a thriving selection of vegetables, including cabbage, pepper seedlings, cucumber, and butterball. He is happy that he stuck with it, because he knows that his hard work will pay off. And after only a few months, it already has: Ansu has been able to pay for all four of his children’s school fees since beginning his farm.

Ansu expressed that he feels proud, because he is now seen as a leader in his community. His neighbors see him working and want to learn from him. As a lead farmer, he encourages and supports 20 general farmers, and organizes bi-weekly meetings to teach them about modern farming techniques—practices he is using on his own land to demonstrate their success. BRAC field staff visit regularly to support him and give him advice, and he shares what he learns with the other farmers in his community.

Ansu has ambitions to continue growing his farm. While he is spending some of his earnings on school fees for his children, he has also focused on re-investing money in his business. He has purchased more tools like watering cans, and will soon invest in clearing more land for farming. He also hopes to start growing more staple foods, like rice and bananas. He recognizes that expanding to crops beyond vegetables will not only help boost his income, but they will also increase his family’s dietary diversity.

Ansu loves learning, and he is grateful for what he has learned so far. “Education has no end,” he said. He hopes to continue to learn and train so that he can grow his business and better support his family.

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