*(International projects only)
The Holy Child Integrated Agricultural Center (HCIAC), located in Ogun State, near Abeokuta, was initiated by the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus in 2002. It commits to an eco-friendly philosophy of integrated agriculture: to reduce waste and increase productivity by recycling all organic matter back into the farm.
Due to the high cost of food, many people in West Africa do not eat a balanced diet, which results in malnutrition and high infant mortality. One in five children dies before the age of five due to hunger and water-borne diseases. The people who benefit most from the HCIAC project live in the villages of Owowo, Lala, and Kere, although food grown on the farm benefits people as far away as Lagos (two hours by road). The 1500 villagers served by the project are predominately small-scale farmers. People live in small houses or huts, often without water or electricity. Many walk for miles to find water.
Through a listening survey conducted in 1995 it was found that the greatest needs of the people were food and better balanced diets as well as knowledge and skills of how to produce affordable, nutritious food in an ongoing, sustainable way. From this need evolved the idea of starting an organic farm where they would grow fruits and vegetables and raise livestock and fish without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or hormones. At the same time, the project would provide jobs and services to the local community and train young men and women in organic farming techniques.
To ensure long-term sustainability of the project, a small sales operation has been initiated. Products from the farm (eggs, fruits, chicken, pork, vegetables) and other small items, like phone cards of value to staff and villagers are sold. The accounting unit tracks income and expenses, pays suppliers, and requests quotes. Until last year, all financial reporting was done manually. Thanks to a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters, the accountant now uses a laptop computer, printer and accounting software to aid in managing the finances.