The project takes place in the department of Chiquimula, Guatemala, on the border with Honduras, particularly in the Camotàn area, which is characterised by its high temperatures, which can reach up to 44 degrees Celsius in summer, causing prolonged periods of drought. The land in this area is arid: ten years ago people sowed in the first days of May, whereas now, due to climate change, they sow in mid-June. However, this is a risky sowing as July is affected by the heatwave and no rain.
It has been calculated that on average the maize harvest for a family of seven is about half of what is needed for sufficient food, which puts the population in a situation of severe food insecurity.
In the months of November to February, families migrate to Honduras to work in the coffee plantations, where they could earn a good income, but unfortunately, in the last two years, the price of coffee has dropped significantly, from 35 to 12/15 Euros. To complicate matters, a fungus (roja) has been added, which has caused losses of up to 90% of production.
The project aims to contribute to the elimination of malnutrition by ensuring that all people in the area, particularly the most vulnerable, have safe access to nutritious food throughout the year. Through the introduction of new agro-ecological techniques and the provision of adequate production supports, we will support family and small-scale agriculture, in which farmers consume part of their production directly, reserving another for marketing to meet essential family needs. The project also aims to improve sanitation conditions in the intervention communities to prevent the spread of viral diseases.
IMPROVING THE USE OF LAND FOR CULTIVATION
In order to improve the families’ management of cultivable land by increasing agricultural production without polluting it with chemical fertilisers, a diagnostic analysis of the soil through an agro-ecological approach will be carried out by technicians from the Centro Universitario de Oriente (CUNORI) on the plots of land of 24 families. The results of the analysis will be shared with the families themselves, who will be invited to attend a training course in agroecology and soil conservation to better manage their livelihoods.
Rainwater catchment systems will also be built thanks to the technical expertise of the University of Florence, which has carried out several missions during previous collaborations with Mani Tese and ASSAJO. Ten rainwater catchment systems with hand pumps will be built and the previously built systems will be maintained.
Through training for 80 families, natural extracts for insecticides and biological repellents will then be made to be applied to the crops in the family gardens to reduce the use of insecticides, fungicides and chemical pesticides.
IMPROVING DIET AND NUTRITION
To enable families to improve their diets and combat malnutrition, which mainly affects children, basic grains such as maize, beans and some fruit trees will be distributed and planted.
In order not to disperse the basic grains and to allow their preservation over time, 40 silos of 18 quintals will be distributed to the families after appropriate training.
Families will also be accompanied in the creation of family gardens through the cultivation and sowing of native plants useful for food and medicinal plants. To help them, a guide on natural extracts will be printed and distributed.
Finally, food fairs will be organised three times a year, during which families will be able to sell their products, share good practices and buy healthy food.
IMPROVING SANITATION CONDITIONS
To ensure that the families can live in better hygienic and sanitary conditions, training sessions and home visits will be organised for each family by an ASSAJO nutrition educator, filters will be installed to make the water drinkable and improved stoves will be introduced.
Finally, a cleaning and disinfection campaign will be carried out to limit the spread of diseases, such as Dengue and Chagas, transmitted by mosquitoes or other insects that spread due to stagnant water and poor household hygiene.
I am Giovanni Sartor, graduated in Political Sciences with a thesis on political transition in Senegal. Once I finished my studies I immediately began to deal with “the world” and for three and a half years I worked as head of a shelter for migrants, asylum seekers and foreign students. In 2000 I left for Kenya where I remained almost seven […]