Stories of Change

Rene. Photo: CIEETS

In a 1.5-year period, 221 community promoters accompanied 884 farmers as part of the CWS-supported program in Nicaragua.

Working together in times of crisis

Rene Bermúdez lives in the community of El Mojón, one of eight participating in a CWS food security and nutrition program that is implemented by CWS Partner CIEETS with support from Foods Resource Bank.

Rene is a relative newcomer to the area, having only lived in El Mojón for five years. He has heard about the past success of the region – he says that his neighbors have told him about how three decades ago there was plenty of food despite the poverty of the region.

Now, Rene says that the food that members of his community are able to grow is not enough. He says, “Continued drought limits our ability to grow our food. Harvests are modest and force us to migrate as seasonal laborers elsewhere. To make things worse, this year torrential rains are destroying our small bean crop.”

And yet, “despite this all, we remain hopeful that things will improve even a little bit.”

The CWS program is helping to break the mold of traditional farming practices in favor of alternatives that are more resistant to climate change. Rene says, “The project is a blessing for many families. It has helped us learn many things that are necessary to cope with and mitigate this crisis – how to survive with our own resources.” Traditionally, farmers in the region stuck to corn, beans and sorghum. They are now beginning to diversify their plots to increase resilience.

Rene tell us that the Farmer Field School, which is run by CIEETS to provide lessons on different techniques and allow a space for farmer-to-farmer exchanges, is making a big difference. From his perspective, this is a moment of crisis for his community, and all hands are needed to get through it. Because farmers can attend the FFS for a mix of theory and practice and learn new techniques, everyone is benefitting.

Rene says, “I want to thank God for this blessing to our families and other communities. Also to those who contribute – you do not know how much that contribution, even if it’s small, helps us.”