PUBLISHED June 17, 2020

Agriculture is a significant venture for most rural areas, especially in Africa. According to USAID, over 60% of Sierra Leone’s labour force is engaged in subsistence farming and women make up about 75% of this population. Agricultural activities range from farming, fishing, forestry and livestock. As part of activities in implementing income-generating activities in rural communities in Sierra Leone, SEND Sierra Leone in collaboration with Irish Aid and Christian Aid Ireland created a health insurance scheme in communities to improve economic activities.

Mamboma, a village in the Kailahun District is one of the communities where the health insurance scheme was introduced. The scheme was aimed to generate income to meet the emergency needs of its members. It had a membership of eight thousand six hundred and ninety-eight (8,698). After a few months, the community group faced some challenges and the membership began to dwindle.

In addressing these challenges our monitoring team visited the Mamboma community to evaluate these challenges. From its inception, members lacked sufficient skills and knowledge on how to generate income for effective management. There was also disagreement on the use of income generated; there were members in the group that suggested funds should be used strictly for health purposes while others disagreed.


We increased the frequency of our monitoring visits and organised more training sessions on the management of the scheme and effective ways to generate income locally. After these engagements, there was an increase in membership numbers and contributions made towards the scheme. Members were able to invest in agricultural activities specifically groundnut farming. Members of the Mamboma community purchased eighty (80 cups) of groundnuts which were cultivated on a two-acre plot of land from the savings in the scheme.

The purpose of this groundnut plantation is to generate income into the scheme for all members to benefit. Also, groundnut farming was chosen to enable community members to have a balanced diet as it has been a challenge in the community.


Regina Brima, an executive member in Mamboma community group had this to say on the initiative to embark on Agriculture to enhance income into the scheme:

“We want to thank SEND Sierra Leone and its developmental partners for helping us in undertaking an initiative that will benefit us and our community. With the health insurance scheme, we can now boast that we have savings and from this savings we can undertake lots of activities on our own to help us in terms of needs. Before, we never had the idea on how to generate money into the scheme but now we are able to embark on agricultural activities from our contributions made in order to be able to generate more income into the scheme. We as members in the scheme are even contributing again to embark on rice plantation so that we will have more food to eat and to sell as well. For me personally, I have benefitted from the scheme in terms of health, I borrowed money to visit the hospital and later when I recovered, I was able to pay. Now undertaking this agricultural activity from the contributions made will again be of great help in terms of our food intake and to generate money that we will be able to use to address other emergency issues that may arise.’’