This project will help: 60 families from three Compassion centres.
Completion date: December 2023
Food security exists when people have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their daily energy needs so they can live an active and healthy life. Meeting children’s nutritional needs is an essential part of helping their bodies and brains develop properly so they can grow up to fulfill their potential—yet for many children Compassion serves in Nicaragua, hunger is still a daily reality.
Along Latin America’s “dry corridor,” which includes Guatemala, Nicaragua and Venezuela, chronic food shortages are a longstanding crisis. In Nicaragua, it is estimated that 17 per cent of people regularly go hungry. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified this crisis by triggering an abrupt and catastrophic drop in employment and income. Families who were already vulnerable before the pandemic are now barely surviving from one day to the next.
In the municipality of Palacaguina, Compassion is partnering with three churches to provide children and their families with holistic care. Most of these families lost their source of income during the pandemic and are struggling to recover. Our church partners in Palacaguina have identified a pressing need to provide vulnerable families with a sustainable source of food and income so children can avoid illness and malnutrition and grow and develop well.
This intervention will help 60 families from three different Compassion centres in Palacaguina, Nicaragua, start their own home gardens, which can provide them with nourishing food and a means to earn an income by selling the surplus. Caregivers will learn to cultivate a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Our partners also want to equip caregivers with the practical knowledge and business skills they will need to become self-sufficient; they plan to offer a series of workshops in agriculture, nutrition and entrepreneurship led by specialists in each respective field. Not only will the home gardens offer greatly needed food, but it will help in the development of cognitive abilities, children’s academic performance, productivity and income, allowing families to increase their quality of life.
Did you know?
The name “Palacaguina” comes from the indigenous Nahuatl (Aztec) language and means “village near the mountains,” although the topography of the area varies and is very flat in some places. The average temperature is 25 degrees Celsius, and the climate can be very humid during the winter months.
In Nicaragua, a surge in unemployment during the pandemic has worsened an already severe food insecurity crisis. According to the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development, 172,000 people lost their jobs in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the community of Palacaguina, many of the children Compassion serves are going to bed hungry every day. Pandemic shutdowns have left their families destitute. In a shattered economy and without any resources left to invest, rebuilding a livelihood has become close to impossible.
Throughout the pandemic, Compassion has been working closely with our church partners across Nicaragua to meet children’s most pressing needs and begin implementing sustainable recovery efforts that can both endure and outlast the current crisis. Compassion has successfully implemented several similar micro-agriculture initiatives across Nicaragua with great success; now, these three partners in Palacaguina need help.
With your support, 60 families in Palacaguina, Nicaragua, can improve their food security, income and overall quality of life by establishing home gardens. Participating families will be selected based on financial vulnerability (living on less than $2 a day) and ability to work in a garden. In addition to providing families with the tools and supplies they will need to start their home gardens, this initiative will include training for caregivers that covers three fundamental components: sustainable agriculture, nutrition and entrepreneurship. Caregivers will work with an agronomist to learn about the basic concepts of starting a garden, including site selection, planning and design, soil preparation, planting and transplanting, maintenance, composting, pest management, harvesting and seed conservation. Caregivers will grow fruit and vegetables such as squash, peppers cucumber, chiltoma, onion, beetroot, tomatoes and passion fruit as well as herbs. The agronomist will provide families with ongoing support and advice for six months to ensure their efforts get off to a good start. During nutrition workshops, families will learn about the importance of maintaining a balanced diet that includes all the major food groups—fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and proteins. Churches will also hire an income-generation specialist to run entrepreneurship classes, where caregivers will learn the basic concepts of business management, marketing and financial stewardship. Equipped with the right knowledge and skills, it is expected that families will be able to live off approximately 30 per cent of their crop yield and sell 60 per cent for profit. Families have agreed to donate the remaining 10 per cent to their local churches, so that other children can enjoy a nourishing meal on centre days.
What your gift will do
Your gift will help improve food security and income for 60 families in Palacaguina, Nicaragua through home gardens, including:
- Tools and supplies
- Seeds, fertilizer, compost material
- Tools (shovel, wooden boards, watering can, spray pump, wire)
- Technical workshops for caregivers
- Agricultural training with an agronomist
- Follow-up visits for 6 months by the agronomist
- Nutrition workshops with a nutrition specialist
- Entrepreneurship training with an income-generation specialist
- Teaching materials
- Monitoring and evaluation
- Follow-up visits
- Travel expenses
- Local contribution:US$7,525.08; families will be responsible for clearing and preparing the space for the gardens on their properties, as well as for the cost of water for irrigation.
- Handling of funds: Compassion Nicaragua will distribute funds to the three participating churches and ensure that this intervention remains within budget.
- Monitoring and follow-up: An agronomist will provide ongoing monitoring and practical support to families for six months. The income-generation specialist hired by the National Office will visit families monthly to ensure they are implementing what they have learned in the training. Leaders and staff from each church will continue to support families and ensure they have everything they need to be successful. Staff will interview families at the end of this intervention to determine their nutritional status.