Nicaraguan Partners Inspired by Exchange Visit to Honduras
When local partner staff from three of Growing Hope’s World Renew programs in Nicaragua traveled recently to Honduras to observe programming practices there, the intense learning experienced by all participants made them feel strengthened in their work and motivated to greater creativity. The visit was made possible in part with support from our “Learning & Sharing Together” fund and a grant from the John Deere Foundation. Both scholarships promote exchange visits as powerful opportunities for program farmers and staff to see each other’s successes, share ideas, and troubleshoot together.
The purpose of the Nicaraguans’ visit was to learn about the Honduras Nueva Frontera program’s bio-intensive agriculture methods (producing more on less land); discuss initiatives on adapting to climate change; observe innovative production methods; and come away with insights into producers’ networks and business associations, all of which they planned on adapting in their own country.
During a welcoming ceremony, CASM’s area manager, César, reminded the visitors that even the most resource-poor families always have something at hand that could be put to good use, thereby setting the tone for the week’s visit to a number of Honduran communities, some very isolated.
Aspects of the Nueva Frontera program that the Nicaraguan delegation planned to emulate were:
- Successful emphasis on vegetable gardening and incorporating leaves and edible flowers into the family diet, habits that have been lost in Nicaragua.
- Use of local, often recycled materials
- Drip irrigation and bio-intensive raised vegetable beds
- New recipes for organic foliar (leaf) sprays
- Fuel-efficient stoves that cut down on smoke and firewood
- Fish farming for family consumption and sale
- Efforts to add value to crops, such as making and selling plantain chips
- The importance of programming even in hard-to-reach communities
This tour made clear the value of what are known as “South-South” exchanges. The instantaneous connection and camaraderie between the Nicaraguan visitors and their Honduran hosts and farming families was palpable, permitting almost immediate trust that encouraged asking questions and sharing experiences. There was enough similarity between the two countries to compare and contrast farming techniques. The Nicaraguan participants left inspired and highly motivated, with new ideas to try out with their organizations and farmers, and the Honduran hosts felt validated in their work.