Concern (Ireland)

Concern carries out water and sanitation projects that have benefitted around 161,000 people. As part of this, they have linked 9,260 families to new supplies of safe drinking water. Renovated pump stations are also delivering better quality water to 20,650 families. Over 600 latrines were built too, improving sanitation.

In the rural communities where they work, their focus has been on halting deforestation and improving farming techniques. In total, 170,000 people have benefited from this work. They have provided 270,000 potted tree seedlings to three community-run nurseries. These potted seedlings grow quickly – in three to nine months – with undamaged root systems. This is a major improvement on the more traditional bed-grown seedlings that were previously used. Traditional seedlings usually take one to three years to grow and often suffer from damaged roots.

As part of their forestry work, they have also supplied nurseries with tools, pots and fuel. With supervision from the Academy of Agricultural Research, they undertook a series of crop trials. They wanted to find out what types of crops could flourish on the lower slopes of hills and mountains. The crops included new varieties of rice, sweet potato, sorghum, soya bean, millet, hybrid maize and ground nuts.

The trials were successful. There were positive results: the hybrid maize produced twice the normal yield; the millet produced standard yields using only half the normal amount of fertiliser. These crops are now being incorporated into the annual co-operative crop plans. The ability to grow these crops on lower slopes will alleviate the pressure to produce crops on the higher steeper slopes.

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