Stories of Change

Top: Niño Gómez. Middle: Monte Alto’s new water tank. Bottom: Odilda Gómez stands in front of local garden

Water and Opportunity Spring Up For Local Farmers in Paraguay

Over the past year, Paraguay has faced record-breaking heat waves and severe droughts. This has been especially devastating for local farmers who produce crops such as yuca, watermelons and pumpkins. Inaccessibility of water has affected farmers’ ability to produce crops and has forced them to walk far distances daily to reach clean water. 

 Niño Gómez and his neighbor Odilda Gómez live in the Paraguayan Gran Chaco in a town called Monte Alto, which has been severely affected by the unpredictable climate. (Nino and Odilda are not related- Gómez is the most common surname in Monte Alto). Niño recalls, “we had to spend the day walking very far to get water.” Odilda added, “we suffered a lot from floods and droughts. There was nothing. There were no fish or other food sources.”

Niño and Odilda’s families were two of the 136 families in our program in the Gran Chaco which aims to support indigenous communities’ food security. Through her participation in our program, Odilda received seven sheep and attended our training on water use, consumption and vegetation care. Odilda shared, “I am very grateful to you [CWS]. Now there are more sheep to raise them for consumption.” 

The Monte Alto community also received a 2,600 gallon storage tank (for a mental picture, that’s about 5x the size of a standard hot tub) for water, and the community has been invited to training sessions on safe water consumption. Now, water is easily accessible for consumption and crops. “Now we have water to drink and for our plants and vegetable gardens. The children have clean water too. We want to say thank you,” Niño shared. 

Last month, seven active gardens were established in Niño and Odilda’s community and three more will be developed in the next few months. Through the support of our local partners, we will have also invited other nearby communities to participate in our program. By the end of this year, we hope to reach 240 families and help them have better access to water, resources and knowledge on food security and crop production. Little by little, we hope to build stronger communities that can adapt and thrive in our changing environment. 

Our program, “Rural Development in Indigenous Communities of the Lower Paraguayan Chaco,” is implemented alongside our partner Pastoral Social Diocesana Benjamín Aceval. It is supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Growing Hope Globaly.