Every year on World Hunger Day, people around the world come together to inspire people and show their solidarity and support for sustainable solutions to ending world hunger. To mark the day this year we speak to General Secretary of Nicaragua YMCA, Carlos Amador, who is working with young people in rural areas to train them in sustainable farming techniques.
In 2012, we started to support Carlos and the YMCA on the ‘Feeding the next Generation’ project where up to 1,200 young people in Nicaragua will be trained in sustainable farming methods and will be given support to engage local markets and shops so they can earn a living. Carlos has been involved since August last year and he told us why focusing on young farmers is essential for food security for generations to come.
“We are currently working in communities which has many poor families. We like to work with young people in in these areas because I know their lives will change for the better as they learn more about food production.”
Over the next three years young people and their families will learn skills to increase the diversity and size of their crop yields and reduce their environmental footprint when growing their food.
“It’s not possible for young people to buy fertilisers,” said Carlos, “so we prioritise doing everything locally. Young people will recuperate the local seeds and learn how to grow their food in an environmentally friendly way. They’ll learn about how other farmers and growers use chemicals and fertilisers and how this can impact the health of themselves and their families.”
A key and new aspect of the YMCA’s work in Nicaragua is to train young people so they can adapt to the effects of climate change. To reduce the risk of disasters, 260 young farmers will have access to seed banks and seed storage facilities to fight the effects of drought and floods. Land for growing food will also be protected to ensure their fertility.
“Many people burn the land here as preparation for growing food and don’t know that this is actually worse for the land, so as part of the project the YMCA will prevent people from doing this”.
Once the young farmers have learned these skills they will be supported by the YMCA to sell their food so they can support themselves and their families. Carlos explained “the ultimate goal of this project is to ensure that the futures of the families supported by the YMCA are secure.” Almost 1,000 young people will have increased access to business opportunities so they can earn a livelihood from selling their crops.
If you find out more about World Hunger Day visit www.thehungerproject.co.uk