Stories of Change

Zet in his garden.

New information means a better future in Indonesia

Zet Timaubas and his neighbors have always tackled the challenge of growing enough vegetables for their families on their own. Each family kept its own garden and grew what they could based on how their families had been gardening for generations.

Unfortunately, this practice didn’t always work well. Zet has grown mustard, spinach and water spinach to feed his family for years, but without much technical knowledge about how to make those vegetables thrive. All planting was seasonal, starting with the rainy season began and ending before the long and severe dry season, when water simply wasn’t available. The community hadn’t heard the latest information on how to prepare soil for planting, how to use raised beds and how best to space seeds when planting them. Or, if they did have this information, they weren’t motivated or supported to implement and share it. And until CWS team members assessed Zet and his neighbors as very vulnerable but great candidates for technical assistance, they had never received any assistance from the district government agriculture team.

We’re happy to say that all of this has changed, and everyone is learning together.

Our partnership with the families of Meobesi hamlet is just beginning. Our team has been working with the families here through our Timor Zero Hunger program for just a few months, so there haven’t been significant changes yet in terms of the vegetables. But there has been one significant change so far: teamwork.

Zet and some of his neighbors attended a three-day course with CWS to learn these best practices for growing vegetables. In addition to implementing what they’ve learned in their own gardens, they’re going to work together to make sure they can all prosper. “After joining the three-day workshop and field work, I will now form a farmer group in my hamlet with 12 other trainees,” Zet says. “Now that we have learned so much, and can continue to learn and share, [district] agricultural field agents have promised to assist us throughout our group’s planning for improved gardening in a community demonstration plot on land that I own. And, while our garden grows, we can monitor our progress together and make changes with help and advice from CWS staff and the government agricultural workers. Since my plot has nearly year-round water, which is unusual, we can work throughout the year as a group.”

Information changes lives, and in this case it means a bright future for Zet, his wife and their four children. Little Yosina just had her first birthday, and thanks to the generosity of the CWS family, Yosina’s family is going to make sure she can grow up healthy and strong. “I am thankful that CWS has given me the opportunity to receive this agricultural training,” says Zet. “Hopefully, through this activity, the other farmer group members and I will have a better future for our families.”