by Casta Calderon, Plenty Volunteer
In 1998, Plenty provided fiancial and material support for MUPROVI, a group of women seeking to improve the lifes of mothers and children tn the village of San Juan de Limay in Nicaragua.
MUPROVI - Mujeres Produciendo Para La Vida (Women Producing for Life). This group of 30+ women from San Juan de Limay, Esteli, Nicaragua is working to rescue/reestablish home gardening practices their grandmothers employed, but that were for the most part lost during the past 25 years of war and social conflict within the country. After many years of deforestation under the government of Somoza, and the burning of forests during the conflicts in the 1980s, this area of Nicaragua became one of the driest and poorest regions in the country.
People living in the village of San Juan de Limay are geographically isolated and have very limited means of earning money to pay for their basic life necessities, including food, medicine, clothing and schooling for their children. Sixty kilometers of rocky dirt roads separate San Juan de Limay from the nearest source of vegetables and fruit, in the city of Esteli. The high cost of traveling and purchasing this food in the market of Esteli make it impossible for most families in San Juan de Limay to access all of the food they need for their children. Women of MUPROVI are working to address the shortage of fresh vegetables and fruit in their village, to improve their self-esteem and increase awareness of family nutritional needs. Rosa Centeno, who has a degree in Biology and many years of experience working on environmental initiatives is coordinating the project and providing educational support to meet the objectives.
I was born and raised in the village of San Juan de Limay andI had the opportunity to meet many of these hard working women from MUPROVI during a visit there. I had learned about the project through my relatives and friends, and asked the Plenty board if they could provide any technical or material support for the food production and education initiative these women are attempting to carry out.
I was very thankful to bring a donation from Plenty that was used by MUPROVI to purchase the first seeds and tools for their project. This donation helped them to start a pilot project; 10 women and their children who established small gardens of squash, carrot, cucumbers, beets, radishes and watermelon at their homes.
MUPROVI's specific objectives for this project include:
- to develop their self-esteem and life skills.
- to help families learn more about the nutritional needs of their children.
- to learn how to work together in a group.
- to learn how to manage small gardens and how to make compost from leaves, animal manure and other organic matter found in the village. SOYNICA (Asociaci÷n Soya de Nicaragua), a very well recognized nongovernmental organization for which Plenty has provided support in the past, will be supplying technical assistance to help them achieve the second and third objectives.
Women from MUPROVI were very thankful to receive this donation from Plenty. It helped encourage them to continue working together to address their community's food shortage problems. During the next few months I will be helping MUPROVI seek funding that will support their long term effort to improve food availability in San Juan de Limay.
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