2018 Impact Report

Our 2018 Impact Report is here!

Click to open the report and read about the amazing work we were able to do in 2018, all thanks to your support and donations: Self-Help Intl 2018 Impact Report

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A Message from the Executive Director:


Talent is universal, opportunity is not. Every day at Self-Help International, we see the difference opportunity can make to talented individuals and their communities. Given the opportunity, women like Ama go from being food insecure to growing nutritious food for her weaning child and sharing the bounty with her neighbors; men like Isidro lead cooperative members to re-establish the supply of nutritious seed corn for Nicaraguan families; and girls like Vera pursue a high school education against all odds. These are just some of the talented individuals who are thriving today because of the opportunities you granted to them through your gifts to Self-Help. Thank you.

I’m often asked how Self-Help works in Ghana and Nicaragua, countries with different cultures where people speak different languages and face different challenges. As a small (but mighty!) organization, we’re able to apply our core values of accountability, competence, integrity, and sustainability to carry out our mission to alleviate hunger by helping people help themselves while adapting how we serve to best meet local realities. The programs do – and should – look different in each country, thanks to the local leadership provided by Nicaragua Country Director Jorge Campos and Ghana Country Director Benjamin Kusi, who each marked 20 years of dedicated service to Self-Help in late 2018.

Through programs focused on improving agriculture, empowering women, and accessing clean water, Self-Help Nicaragua has been introducing innovative technologies and best practices to help farm families and communities become more resilient for decades. This resilience was tested during the first planting season of 2018 when political unrest led to three months of road closures that prevented local staff from traveling to many of the rural communities Self-Help serves.

Jorge Campos adapted by using the popular messaging application, WhatsApp, to send photo and text messages with training tips to the hundreds of farmers he couldn’t advise in person. He also shared his talents with those he could reach, and began training farmers on Ometepe Island. Fearful of an economic crisis, farmers who might have been skeptical to change methods that served them for decades were willing to take risks. They tested the new “double row” planting methods that Self-Help taught, planted the high-protein seed corn that Self-Help produced, and reported triple and quadruple the yields. Today, hundreds of individuals and communities are better off because they could access training and get the resources to put that training into action.

Under Benjamin Kusi’s leadership, Self-Help Ghana introduced two new programs in 2018 that build on and integrate our work to empower women and girls, improve nutrition and food security, and foster entrepreneurship. The Growing Healthy Food, Growing Healthy Children pilot program serves mothers and infants in a village where chronic malnutrition affects one in four children. In February 2018, every new and expectant mother was food insecure and only 36% practiced exclusive breastfeeding. Now, 85% of new mothers practice exclusive breastfeeding, and moms are successfully growing nutritious weaning foods for their children – even in the dry season!

The Fran Mueller and Virginia Lageschulte Agricultural and Entrepreneurial Training Center partnered with three local universities to create the Graduate Entrepreneurs Program and recruit the first cohort of would-be entrepreneurs with degrees in agriculture for a one-year fellowship. The program addresses high youth unemployment by offering students practical skills in an incubator-like setting to launch businesses that will create rural employment opportunities for themselves and others.

On behalf of our entire team at Self-Help, thank you for sharing your talent, time, and treasure throughout the year, whether by advising our overseas teams from the US or in person, helping move our headquarters into a new, more accessible office space in Waverly, helping organize or participate in a fundraising event, spreading the word to invite your friends to join us in this mission, or giving generously to offer these life-changing opportunities in Ghana and Nicaragua. To ensure we’re accountable to you and those we serve, Self-Help earned the 2018 GuideStar Gold Seal of Transparency, accreditation through Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, and was named by GlobalGiving as a Top-Ranked and Effective international organization.

Your support of our mission in 2018 extended opportunities to more than 7,300 individuals to share their talents and build healthier, happier, safer places to live, work, and raise their families.  We couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for allowing us to be your partner in impact.


With gratitude,

Nora Tobin
Executive Director