Home gardens

Funding required: $92,400

Beneficiaries: 70 families in Palaguina and Yalaguina

Completion date: March 2023

Country: Nicaragua

Executive summary

In Latin America’s “dry corridor,” chronic food shortages long predated the arrival of COVID-19. However, the pandemic has brought about a dramatic worsening of the food insecurity crisis. In Nicaragua, where 17 per cent of the population was already living with food insecurity before COVID-19 hit, income loss due to the pandemic is expected to push a further 172,000 households into poverty by the end of 2021. This will leave hundreds of thousands of children without access to sufficient food.

Compassion’s church partners in Palaguina and Yalaguina—communities within the city of Somoto—are concerned about food insecurity among the children they are serving. Many caregivers in these communities have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and are unable to provide their families with enough food. Without intervention, the outlook for these children is dismal.

As the impact of the pandemic continues, Compassion has been working with churches across Nicaragua to help families implement their own gardens at home. This initiative has proven to be a highly successful and sustainable way of providing families with food security, while also giving them a source of income as they begin selling their excess produce at market.

Our partners in Palaguina and Yalaguina have identified 70 families who are facing a food insecurity crisis due to pandemic-related job losses. These families have space on their properties for home gardens, but they just don’t have the resources or knowledge they need to get started. By helping these 70 families start their own gardens and small business ventures, our partners hope to support both food security and economic recovery in their communities.

Did you know?

With limited job opportunities in their homeland, thousands of low-income Nicaraguans migrate each year to neighbouring Costa Rica in search of seasonal or permanent work. Today, close to 300,000 Nicaraguan citizens are permanent residents of Costa Rica.

Summary

Background

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Nicaragua has seen its pre-existing food insecurity crisis dramatically worsen. Many of the children Compassion serves in Nicaragua were already living in vulnerable conditions and have experienced the most severe impacts of this crisis. From the beginning of the pandemic, Compassion has responded, working with churches across the country to provide vulnerable families with emergency food supplies—and to find more sustainable solutions moving forward. Home gardens have already proven to be an extremely successful initiative, as they not only help families gain food security, but provide them with a sustainable source of income as they begin selling their produce. Without sustainable options to feed their families, many caregivers may leave to seek work elsewhere, including migrating to neighbouring countries, which are already struggling under the huge influx of immigrants. At best, these migrants find temporary, seasonal, low-paying jobs, keeping them in the grips of poverty.

The need

Compassion believes that all children deserve access to sufficient, nutritious food so they can lead an active and healthy lifestyle. A nutritious diet is a key part of children’s holistic development, as it supports their physical growth, makes them less prone to illness and improves their performance and attendance in school.

You can help 70 families in Palaguina and Yalaguina, Nicaragua, gain food security and economic stability by starting their own home gardens. In addition to receiving tools and resources including seeds, fertilizer and building materials, caregivers will also work with a professional agronomist to ensure they can start and maintain their gardens successfully. Caregivers will also attend workshops with a nutritionist and a business specialist. They will learn how to maintain healthy eating habits at home and develop the valuable skills they will need to start and run their own businesses. For each home garden, it is projected that families will use 30 per cent for consumption at home, 60 per cent will be sold to earn income, and the remaining 10 per cent will be donated to the church for use at the Compassion centre, thus helping to feed other children in the community as well.

What your gift will do

Your support will provide sustainable home gardens for 70 families facing food insecurity:

  • Tools and supplies, including:
    • Fertilizer, compost and seeds to grow squash, cucumber, chiltoma, tomato, beet, radish, onion and pepper
    • Shovels, wooden boards, watering cans, spray pumps, wire
  • Technical assistance
    • Training with an agronomist and follow-up visits for 6 months: site selection; design and planning; seedling; composting; transplanting and maintenance; soil preparation; pests; insecticides and natural fungicides; and knowledge about production, harvest and seed conservation
    • Workshops with a nutrition specialist
    • Training with an income-generation specialist
    • Materials and snacks for training sessions
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Food and transportation
  • Follow-up visits (transportation and meals)

Logistics

  • Local contribution: US$8,804.32; families will also clean and prepare their patios and provide their own water for irrigation
  • Handling of funds: Compassion Nicaragua will distribute funds and ensure that this intervention remains within budget.
  • Follow-up: Following COVID-19 precautions, church staff will oversee the progress of the home gardens and ensure that the produce from the gardens is distributed as expected. The nutritionist will conduct interviews at the end of the intervention to ensure families understand and are following healthy eating habits. An engineer hired by the National Office in Nicaragua will conduct monthly visits with families to ensure their gardens and businesses are successful.
80%

No less than 80 per cent of your donation will be used for program activities and a maximum of 20 per cent for fundraising and administration. If we exceed our funding goal for the initiative shown, the remaining funds will be used to fund other programs where the need is greatest.