Nicaragua Carazo Diriamba
$69,300 needed of $142,493
Church World Service (CWS)
A dry climate, environmental deterioration, and chronic poverty have contributed to an inadequate quantity and quality of water and insufficient food in this region, resulting in malnutrition and other health problems. These challenges are complicated by illiteracy, poor roads, high unemployment and seasonal migration to Costa Rica. 55 percent of households in the area are headed by women. Since 2005, local partner CIEETS has been working to reach the most food insecure families in Nicaragua. The current phase of their work reaches out to a third group of communities after two previous successful programs. They are working on conservation agriculture, planting fruit trees and patio gardens, gaining access to clean water, community advocacy, and coordinating with churches to be active in programs that build food security.
New Farming Practices Improve Family Finances
Ramona’s family has always depended on agriculture to survive. With support and encouragement from local partner CIEETS, they’re finally beginning to thrive.
She and her family used to plant only corn and beans. “Sometimes we had good results, sometimes not, depending on the weather,” she says. They would have to sell some of their harvested grains in order to buy staples, but were generally paid little for their produce. It was always a struggle to feed the family and meet basic expenses.
Things started to turn around for them when they joined the program, which uses an environmentally sound, multi-faceted approach to help farmers strengthen and revitalize their operations and living conditions. Farmers like Ramona receive training in farm diversification so that, if one crop fails, they have others to fall back on. They also keep careful records of rainfall and other weather patterns so they have a better idea of when to plant their crops.
Ramona and her family now plant a variety of grains, vegetables and fruits. Irrigation during the hotter months enables them to produce year-round and improve their soil fertility. Four years ago, she participated in a training module for raising broiler chickens. She started out with 25, and currently maintains about 50 birds.
“Besides all the knowledge we have gained about running our diversified farm, we have a good source of income from selling chicken meat in our community and in urban areas. Because we have that income to meet other needs, we don’t have to sell as much of the food we raise, and we enjoy health benefits from the good diet we have now. We all work together as a family. There is no other source of work around here for a woman my age, but now I am proud to call farming, ‘my job.’ And it’s finally paying off and helping us thrive. I thank God for the strength to do this work, and CIEETS for the support they give us to improve our lives.”
Nicaragua Carazo Diriamba Program
Led by Church World Service and Local Partner CIEETS