Nicaragua Mateare Carazo
$63,871 needed of $150,000
United Methodist Comm on Relief, 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.
Diversification Provides Drought Insurance
Lissett says her diversified vegetable garden makes her feel stronger and more able to cope with crises. “We had a drought two years ago that affected all of us a lot. It made us poorer, but it also made us more intentional about growing more foods besides corn and beans, and finding other ways to make money.”
Her family had had financial challenges when she was growing up, so she was glad to join the program and improve her agricultural skills as a way to generate additional income. She’s been putting into practice the soil conservation techniques she’s learned from local partner CIEETS, and has built a water reservoir for irrigating her plants. “The training we receive helps us understand better how plants, soil and water all work together as part of one system.”
The drought made her get serious about planting a wider variety of fruits and vegetables to reduce the likelihood that she would lose everything if it happens again. She is now growing various citrus and other fruits, quiquisque (a starchy corm similar to taro root), banana, guava, yuca (cassava), sweet pepper and papaya. She’s also raising chickens. As she puts it, “My diversified plot ensures that I’ll have food to feed my family, and even have some surplus to sell at the market.”
In addition to diversifying her crops, Lissett also manages a rain gauge to inform her and her community when there is sufficient moisture to plant crops.
“My community and I thank all the people who collaborate with us to improve our situation. Rest assured that we are taking advantage of these resources that come to us through CIEETS,” says Lissett.
Caption: Lissett with rain gauge and records
Nicaragua Mateare Carazo Program
Led by Church World Service and Local Partner CIEETS