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Faith and Farming Empower Communities


Pastor Santiago is the spiritual and community leader of a place called Las Cabeceras. A farmer himself, he uses his influence with his deeply devout community to address water scarcity and prolonged drought and bring about real improvements in people’s lives. As he puts it, “We are all responsible for caring for Creation.”

Program communities are often cut off from the rest of the world by distance and impassable roads, so people depend on each other for their survival. Santiago is one of 20 active community organizers and promoters in the FRB food security program, and encourages neighbors affected by the three-year drought to find ways to become more resilient.

Santiago came to Las Cabeceras 15 years ago because of the good conditions for agriculture – fertile soils and plenty of rain. However, in the last six years, yields have been declining as result of the combination of very high temperatures and poor rain patterns, which in turn have resulted in severe economic losses.

Since Santiago joined the program, he’s better able to support his family economically with his “diversified farm,” growing maize, beans, sorghum, banana, cassava and more so that he still has food if one or more crops fail. Farmers are finding solutions to water scarcity, improving soils, protecting their watersheds, engaging in reforestation, and experimenting with a variety of climate-specific seeds and seed banks.

He says, “The hands-on Farmer Field Schools in the program are important because they allow us to come together and look for a solution to a common problem like the drought. We share our ideas and experiences and reinforce the need for everyone in the community to seek compromises and solutions.”

Pictured:  Felix and his diversified farm

Nicaragua Carazo program
Led by Church World Service and local partner CIEETS
8 communities, 220 households, 1,251 individuals

09/12/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Dispatch from an FRB traveler

November 12, 2011- My month started with an interesting and learning filled trip with Bev Abma to North Korea. We were encouraged to meet the program partner and farmers on several farms. From here, I joined up with three FRB travelers from Iowa for a week in Timor Leste, an island nation off the west coast of Australia and one of the world's newest nations. Our member, CRS and their in-counter partner, CIACS, did a fantastic job hosting us! We spent time attending two training sessions along with farmers from two communities in Ossurua. We were taught new corn production and storage methods that will significantly impact the food security of the people we met. The scenery was breathtaking and I am definitely looking forward to our next trip back in 2013.

Today we are heading for Cambodia where we will visit a program with CRWRC. While on the plane from Timor to Australia I happened to sit behind a lawyer I met while attending a conference in Bulgaria in 2008. On landing in Australia we had a great time catching up and I learned more about his work in Timor where he has been with his wife for the last six years. No sooner had he connected with his next flight, I met a fellow Canadian who has been cycling around the world for the last two years. The world is full of interesting people and having the chance to hear their stories I feel spoiled.

Keep checking back for more on our trip and the stories we are collecting along the way.

Angela, FRB staff

11/14/2011 | Comments: 1 | Add Comment | Read More

Announcing FRB's Video Contest Winner

Congratulations to Dave Stienstra, who submitted a heart warming video on behalf of the people in a land bank program in the mountainous region of Nicaragua. Here is a link to the winning video.  

To learn more about our programs in Nicaragua, please visit their individual pages on our website:  Nicaragua ConquistaNicaragua Farmer, Nicaragua Mateare Carazo, Nicaragua Rio Coco.

11/09/2011 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More
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