Young women and men are increasing their knowledge on environmentally sustainable agricultural techniques in the face of climate change. Photo: YCI Young women and men are increasing their knowledge on environmentally sustainable agricultural techniques in the face of climate change. Photo: YCI

On Saturday our returned ICS volunteers Josh and James attended a workshop on gender and climate change at Camp Climate.We’re taking a look at our project in Nicaragua which is helping young men and women learn environmentally sustainable agricultural techniques in the face of climate change.

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America with nearly half the population living in poverty, surviving on just over $1 a day. Poverty here is overwhelmingly rural, with rural farmers amongst the poorest nationally. The situation for young rural women in Nicaragua is particularly challenging because attitudes towards women stop them from accessing education and job training.

The majority of people living in rural areas are farmers and therefore they rely on their land to produce enough food for themselves and their families. Poor soil quality, a lack of water and natural hazards such as floods, droughts and hurricanes, mean they don’t have reliable access to sufficient food. On top of this, climate change will impact rainfall, temperature and the number of natural hazard events like droughts and floods so food security is a major concern.

However, thanks to the “Feeding the Next Generation” project with YMCA Nicaragua, young women and men are taking part in local training to increase their knowledge and skills to run their farms using on environmentally-sustainable agricultural techniques.

Miguel is one of the young people who benefitted from the “Feeding the Next Generation” project:

“I am working on my own plot and often help other people. I am especially interested in teaching people about not mistreating plants, working organically, conserving our land and understanding the difference between destroying and constructing our future.”

Through the project, young women are learning to grow fruit and vegetables in ‘kitchen gardens’ which helps to supplement their families’ diets and ensure they have enough food to feed the whole family. Training  gives young women the opportunity to set-up small businesses to sell their fruits and vegetables at local markets. The young women have reported an  increase in self-confidence; which in turn can play a part in breaking down barriers that limit the role of women in society.

Maria, 18, and another young community disaster management committee member hold up the risk map of their community, Yula Sacal. Photo: YCareInternational

Maria, 18, and another committee member hold up the risk map of their community. Photo: YCI

“Feeding the Next Generation” also considers the impact that disasters have on the ability of people to access food. Maria, 18, is the co-ordinator of her community disaster management committee, which was established through the project. The committee has produced a map which shows all the potential hazards in the area. Having an understanding of hazards such as flood or drought prone areas both are more likely due to climate change, will ensure that young farmers can set plans for what to do if they happen. alongside support to improve their crop production these young people and their communities will have a more regular access to food and be better prepared for further climate changes in the future.