BRAZIL, North East, State of Paraiba.
Reducing Poverty Through Community Organic Vegetable Gardens.
Funds for: organic seeds, tools, wind powered water pump, irrigation supplies, repair of the community building, training.
Brazil is one of the most unequal countries in the world.
The richest 20% of the population has 64% of the national income, whilst the poorest 20% has only 2.5% of the total.
20 million people live in extreme poverty and 40 million people live on less than US $2 a day.
Paraiba is Brazil's poorest region - 50% of the population live below the poverty line. The area has a hot, dry climate with long periods of drought. Desertification affects 55% of the semi arid region, threatening the survival of the population and increasing the poverty.
There are high levels of malnutrition and a precarious infrastructure makes it difficult to improve conditions (difficult access to potable water, lack of education and revenue, lack of roads, transport and telephones).
Domestic violence against women is high.
Beneficiaries: initially 90 families (500 people) who live in the Serrote Agudo Settlement. A further 3,425 people will benefit indirectly, by having access to affordable food.
By setting up the community organic vegetable gardens, food security will be improved and incomes will increase from the sale of resulting crops. The repaired community building will provide a place to store tools and hold community meetings.
Eventual commercialisation of produce will increase family income.
Crops grown will include: aubergines, bell peppers, cabbages (green and white), carrots, chilli peppers, cilantro/coriander, courgettes, cucumbers, gherkins, iceburg lettuces, other lettuces, pumpkins, okra, onions (including spring onions), spinach, summer squash, tomatoes and water melons.
Culturally, these people have not eaten many types of vegetables - this project will broaden the communities' diets.
The standard of food will be improved and there will be an increase in health as a result.
3,425 people living in the municipality (over 38% are children and adolescents), will have access to the food which will be provided locally at an affordable cost.
A seed bank and rotational seed fund will be established. Seeds will be distributed to new groups who wish to start their own (vegan-organic) garden. They will be expected in turn, to reserve seeds and pass them on to other groups.
The seed bank and seed fund will encourage self-sufficiency in the supply of good quality seed for the expanding community gardens.
Workshops and training will be provided, including the preparation of (vegan) meals, where all parts of the vegetables will be used (leaves, stalks etc).
Skills and knowledge will also be passed on between exchange groups.
A wind driven pump will be installed, so women will no longer have to walk to the river to collect water in buckets. Improved access to water will increase the quantity and quality of the produce being grown.
The project will give more value to women's productive work; allowing them to be more involved in the decision making processes of the community - improving social inclusion.
This 2 year funded project will be replicated in other settlements, promoting vegan-organic vegetable production as a sustainable alternative, which will improve the food security of vulnerable communities. It will be replicated next year; setting up a further 3 vegetable plots. This process will be ongoing and self-supporting, year after year.
Financed through Concern Universal (Hereford, UK) working with in-country partner Cunhã - coletivo Feminista (Women's Collective).