Improved Nutrition and Financial Security In Communities Wows Volunteer

By Leala Rosen

Rachel and I visited Nicaragua in January and spent two weeks learning about CEPAD’s work empowering small farmers and improving food security through sustainable agriculture training. During our time with CEPAD, we stayed at homestays with farmers who have participated in CEPAD agricultural trainings. We stayed on two farms – one was with a family that had been the first Community Agricultural Promoters in the community, and the other was in the earlier stages of working with CEPAD to improve their food security and nutrition.
Community Agricultural Promoters work with disciples in their communities in order to teach others about organic, sustainable agriculture techniques in order to improve crop yields and water efficiency as well as increase food security within the farmer’s homes.

We visited several farms and learned about the different ways that farmers are adapting CEPAD’s techniques and training to fit their needs, based on the size of their land and the water access that is available to them. Each farm we visited was different, but many shared the same principles: use water as efficiently as possible, maximize crop yield in small spaces, and plant a variety of crops.I was especially inspired by the role that women play in growing and cooking food, as well as how women’s statuses improved after working with CEPAD on projects such as the Women’s Patio Project. The Women’s Patio Project empowers women to provide food security in their home by giving them agricultural training as well as the gift of hens, a rooster, and seeds. While in Jinotepe, we met with several women beneficiaries of the CEPAD Women’s Patio Project. The stories they told us were incredibly inspiring. They spoke about household dynamics before and after participating in the project, and many of them mentioned that there is less tension within their home after partnering with CEPAD. Several women told us that they had invested some of the income generated from selling their produce and chickens to starting their own businesses. One woman said that she bought a refrigerator and began selling cold drinks and ice cream to people in her neighborhood. Others mentioned that they now maintain a small shop in their home. Not only did the produce improve nutrition and food security within their home, the money generated by the project empowered the women to make their own decisions, to become entrepreneurs, and to lift their families out of poverty.The sustainable agriculture work that CEPAD is doing in Nicaragua is incredibly inspiring. CEPAD builds small farmer’s capacity to increase food security and improve their household income. The farmers that work with CEPAD actively engage in the program, passing down the agriculture training and knowledge they receive to other farmers within their community, allowing CEPAD’s programs to grow throughout the communities where they work.
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