The families in Puerto Parada live in an environmentally fragile area, susceptible to flooding or extreme dryness. Seven years ago, they were living in extreme poverty and were hungry much of the time.
Today, not only do they have enough to eat, but they are selling their surpluses in the market! Asociación Mangle used a multi-pronged approach. For families that do not have land, they have rented or borrowed land to build communal gardens. Seeds, technical assistance, and small-scale irrigation systems were provided. The families learned when is the best time to plant vegetables to sell in the markets.
A greenhouse was also established to strengthen vegetable production and engage the youth, so that they are safe and not susceptible to gang recruitment. This initiative has been so successful that it has drawn the attention of national authorities that are beginning to replicate the model in other areas. It is an impressive achievement!
Five collective and 13 individual chicken coops were established so that families could have eggs for protein and for sale. Another chicken fattening farm was developed to sell chicken meat. The El Cerro Encantado cooperative installed irrigation pumps so that families could plant in the dry season. Strategic alliances were developed with local organizations and advocacy efforts initiated. The national government has since built a retaining wall on the river to prevent flooding.
The families work incredibly hard and have been rewarded for their persistence and ingenuity.