Renewed Energy Serving Humanity (RESH) has found a more suitable and innovative way to sustain itself for the foreseeable future as donor support in the country diminishes due to a huge demand for continuous assistance, especially for women, children and drug addicts.
As an organization known for working with these vulnerable groups, RESH knows pretty well that depending on donor funding for the future would never be the best option for the enormous tasks that it has at hand and the level of impacts the organization wants to have in the country.
Donors have done a lot for Liberia in the past few decades, but it is also no secret that the country is gradually seeing donor funding slowing down, and all NGOs know fully well that as donor funds dry up the organizations become dead or their operations come to a halt—RESH can’t afford to reach this point.
And this is just why the organization, that prides itself as an NGO focused on psychosocial support for community members facing trauma, including the Ebola epidemic, has decided to indulge in an innovative initiative called agriculture for sustainability. “We do envisage RESH as a self-sustainable NGO,” RESH’s founder and Executive Director, Earnest Garnark Smith, said.
He knows that a sustainable NGO is an organization that plans ahead; and an NGO like his highly depends on its capacity to address real problems as well as to collaborate with other actors and agencies working in the area, which may strengthen RESH’s impacts in the medium and long terms.
The RESH founder disclosed that all technical works or feasibility studies have been done for the acquisition of the farmland, but there are some issues with funding. “This is a great vision, but funding is trying to tie us down,” he said. But in spite of this, Smith is very optimistic that RESH’s vision will come to fruition.
Accordingly, he said, the first rule for sustainability is to have a clear vision, which is consistent with existing needs. As such, it is important to complete background research and to develop a long-term plan capable of tackling problems and offering concrete solutions. “This is why we are heading in this direction,” he noted.
“We’re into buying 50 acres of farmland in Nimba County for this purpose. We are already raising US$5,500 for the venture. We’re graciously raising that money by His grace. I will be posting the updates to friends of trust and allies directly inbox, because I don’t want it public as this is a project.
“It’s our fervent prayer that the Lord bountifully flood your financial storehouse to joyously enable you be an integral part of this venture as usual,” he told would be contributors, adding, “Please do also share our vision with your trusted and proactive friends, family members, and even organizations you’re a part of and those who could be of immense help.”
RESH is expected to highlight its Agriculture Sustainability project with a fundraiser during its 2nd Anniversary on November 22, 2016. “Please share with us your thoughts and progressive strategies as we are open to adopting results-oriented tips,” Smith said.
It is no secret that donor support to the country has reduced drastically, evidence by the halting of financial assistance provided to government by international partners to complement where the national budget fell short. This reduction in donor funding is affecting every facet of the Liberian society, especially INGOs and NGOs that are fully dependent upon donor support to implement projects.
External funding, it appears, can no longer guarantee an NGO’s future. It is therefore crucial to develop a strong financial plan; knowing fully well that without resources no project can be developed. This is why RESH has done extensive research to define the ways in which the organization could finance its activities in the long term—and this solution has been found in the agriculture sector, which has immense potentials, especially for its many female champions and volunteers.
Smith also noted that it is important to develop a long-term plan that is able to manage the NGO staff in a way that maximizes each individual’s potential and meets their own expectations by supporting their professional development.”
Additionally, an NGO should develop strategies that are able to gather new staff members on occasional and voluntary bases. This will enable RESH to count on the workforce of additional staff members when required.
In closing, Smith noted, “With all said, sustainability plans must be realistic. It is good to cultivate ambitious plans, as we are doing, but it is essential to establish a realistic agenda when it comes to proposing a project, and we feel this is the most realistic for us.”
RESH recently graduated over 200 volunteers, known as psychosocial counselors, to enhance its psychosocial programs in Liberia. These graduates have been deployed in various communities across the country.