Reporting by Patricia Toquica, Communications Manager, ChildFund Americas
In the Americas region, children, youth and adults in ChildFund-supported communities are joining hands to help break the cycle of poverty while working toward protecting and preserving a sustainable environment. Check out some of the exciting green projects that are under way from the U.S.A. to Brazil.
Sustainable Ag in the U.S.
The Wyan Toka Win community garden in South Dakota is a ChildFund U.S. program that involves children and youth in promoting sustainable agriculture and the consumption of fresh, natural products. Families in the community are taking surplus vegetables and fruits they raise in the garden and selling them at the local farmer’s market to generate additional income.
Innovative Farming, Water Use and Soil Conservation in Mexico
In Mexico’s Totonaca region, 450 families have learned innovative agricultural techniques and are putting the knowledge to work on their own farms. This program is supported by ChildFund México in partnership with the local bank, Compartamos Banco.
Nearly 9,000 people, especially women, in indigenous communities of Hidalgo, Mexico, are benefitting from ChildFund’s training programs to improve water usage, including proper collection and recycling techniques.
In many areas of Mexico’s Mixteca region, gradual erosion is negatively impacting the land. ChildFund works with children and youth to promote sustainable agriculture that will allow the production of healthy products without deteriorating soil fertility.
Family Gardens and Fruit Trees in Honduras
In Honduras, families in the Santa Barbara region work with ChildFund’s local partners to promote community-based agricultural production based on principles of sustainable development.
In the mountains of Honduras, children in ChildFund’s programs are receiving a hands-on education in environmental awareness by planting fruit trees that will benefit their communities. And as part of ChildFund’s Friendly Schools program, children in some areas of Honduras receive comprehensive environmental education and participate in practical projects such as maintaining school gardens.
Eco-volunteers and ‘Harvesting My Future’ in Guatemala
About 180 teenagers from urban areas of Guatemala are involved in ChildFund environmental protection projects. They participate in training workshops and propose practical solutions for environmental issues affecting their communities.
About 450 young people from 10 communities in Guatemala are benefitting from ChildFund’s “Harvesting my Future” project. Teenagers receive training in ecological production of sesame and maize crops that will provide income and a better future to their families.
Environmental Education and Youth Involvement in Bolivia
From early childhood, children in ChildFund Bolivia communities learn about the importance of water, soil and trees, thanks to ecological education programs and activities implemented by ChildFund-trained youth leaders.
About 200 families at the Lucerito Center in the city of Santa Cruz will benefit from ChildFund’s environmental training program focused on reducing and reusing waste to preserve the environment.
In LaPaz, children participating in ChildFund’s early childhood development programs engage with their mothers in activities to improve their motor skills using natural elements easily found in their communities such as seeds, fruits, grains, clay and water. These activities help kids connect and care for their natural resources from an early age.
Natural Resource Protection in Ecuador
In the Ecuadorian province of Tungurahua, children enrolled in ChildFund programs are participating in the “Futurahua” (Water Future) project. They are learning about the importance of water sustainability and its role in the production of crops that feed their families.
With the donation of more than 50,000 native plant species, ChildFund Ecuador is supporting reforestation plans developed by children and their parents in various communities living in poverty in Ecuador.
More than 300 families in various rural areas of Ecuador benefit from ChildFund training programs in sustainable agriculture. Community members are now working jointly to maintain water reservoirs and grow organic products in community gardens and orchards.
Water Conservation in Brazil
In Brazil’s Jequitinhonha Valley, ChildFund’s Water Watchers Program engages children and youth leaders in environmental education, contributing to the preservation and proper usage of water resources that are so scarce in this area.
ChildFund’s Water for Life Program in the rural semi-arid areas of Brazil has involved thousands of children and their families in adopting techniques for water conservation and socio-environmental sustainability. Through this program, ChildFund Brazil helps thousands of families in semi-arid areas learn about water collection and conservation to ensure adequate resources for household consumption and crop growth.
More than 1 billion people in 190 countries are participating in activities to mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day today and this week.
Those living with the fewest personal resources in developing nations often bear the brunt of environmental disruptions — severe drought, water scarcity, extreme flooding, erosion and food shortages.
The natural environment faces many challenges, yet it is the cumulative effect of many small efforts by individuals and organizations that adds up to larger progress to sustain the planet and its people.
Here are four positive things we’re doing through ChildFund:
> Solar panels at the Kokwa Island school in Kenya: This girl’s boarding school in the Lake Baringo community has installed four solar panels to deliver electricity to eight classrooms, two dormitories, a staff room, kitchen and dining hall. By harnessing the sun, “children are now able to have longer study periods in the evenings, between 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and again in the early morning hours, between 5 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.,” reports Jackie Mollel of ChildFund Kenya.
> Eco-friendly stoves in Uganda: Confronting severe poverty often means thinking creatively while keeping the environment in mind. The introduction of energy-saving stoves in Uganda’s Wattuga Subcounty is creating manufacturing jobs, and it’s changing cooking practices. Families in Wattuga have typically cooked on open fires, using considerable amounts of firewood. The eco-friendly stoves hold heat, reducing the amount of wood needed to cook, and they produce less smoke than an open fire.
> Tree planting in Kenya: The widespread cutting of trees for fuel and construction is a leading cause of environmental degradation in eastern Africa. ChildFund Kenya has launched a major tree-planting initiative involving children, youth and communities in reforestation. For example, the Wamunyu Breakthrough Youth Group has started a tree nursery, growing and then selling tree seedlings. Proceeds from the tree nursery have helped fund the group’s efforts to address unemployment issues among youth through vocational skills training programs.
> Growing food locally in Guatemala: A collaboration between ChildFund and the Family Parents Association of Kajih-Jel of Tecpan, Guatemala, is producing a bounty of tomatoes through efficient growing techniques. Bypassing costly traditional greenhouse structures, ChildFund and Family Parents Association opted for an alternative method known as the “macro tunnel.” Shallow dirt canals are dug into the soil to use as walkways, and slopes between the canals act as elevated planting beds. The tunnels are then covered with a tarp in the same dome-style fashion as larger greenhouses. Not only are the tunnels more cost efficient in technique, they also yield a better harvest for tomatoes based on climate and weather conditions.