Stories of Change

Maribel tends to her new vegetables.

Crop Diversity and Irrigation Mean Better Food Security for Maribel’s Family

When she first joined a CWS food security program through our local partner, CIEETS, the only crop that Maribel Espinoza Bermudez had was corn and occasionally beans. 

Maribel represented one of 292 families from the San Antonio community in the Carazo region of Nicaragua who are participating in this holistic food security program. She joined activities and training sessions and then received fruit plants and seeds to expand her production and eventually improve her family’s nutrition and food security. Diversity is a key component of this program; when families are growing lots of different crops, one bad harvest or failed planting season doesn’t have as much of a negative impact on their livelihoods. Plus, a diversified diet leads to better nutrition.

“Thank God we are part of the CIEETS project,” Maribel says. She lives with her husband Ines Mendieta, 54, and her children Anabel, 39, Orlando, 23, Josueska, 17, and Silvia, 12. “Thanks to the Pastor of the Nazarene Church, the CIEETS program came to my community and my family life. I praised and blessed His name.” 

In addition to crop diversification, Maribel and her family also focused on irrigation. They received a plastic water storage tank, which extends their growing season each year. They are no longer limited to only the rainy season. “We learned how to produce with irrigation. Anything we harvest is welcome, this is the basis of our livelihood,” she says. She also expresses gratitude that the project helped her replace a latrine that had reached the end of its useful life. Guaranteeing access to safe water, irrigation, sanitation and hygiene is another of the strategies to strengthen food security in the area. This is especially important in areas like her community, which has low levels of coverage in basic services. 

Maribel added that her husband often tries to find work in construction to earn extra money for the family. Unfortunately, opportunities are rare and low-paying, and both the COVID-19 pandemic and hurricanes Eta and Iota in 2020 only made it worse. This means that the skills that Maribel developed and the support her family has received have been even more critical. 

“May the Lord increase the blessings on the CIEETS project, and on each of the brothers and sisters and their families who dedicate resources to our support, we also tell them those good things come from above and hands that give, never they will come back empty,” Maribel says.