In an isolated area in the Dominican Republic, Progressio has been working with a local partner, Solidaridad Fronteriza, to support people like Ramona to find ways of adapting to the challenges of climate change, deforestation and drought. The cross-border project promotes food security and sustainable agriculture.
Pictured above: Ramona in her family chicken farm promoted by the technical team of Solidaridad Fronteriza and Progressio, as part of a project financed by the Big Lottery Fund.
Altagracia Ramona Franco (pictured above), a 55-year old community activist from Villa Esperanza in the north-western corner of the Dominican Republic, feels pleased that her new vegetable plot has given her family a more varied diet, and has helped her grandson regain a proper weight.
This part of the country, an isolated area on the border with Haiti, which has been neglected by the central government for a long time, has been facing a declining production as climate change and deforestation have led to prolonged drought.
As a result, local farmers can no longer make a living from crops such as coffee and cocoa, and have been reduced to subsistence farming, with some people surviving on less than $2 a day. With such precarious incomes, people eat mainly foods high in carbohydrates, such as manioc and plantains, but with little protein or vitamins. The poor quality diet can have serious consequences, particularly for children, affecting their growth and development.
One of Progressio’s local partners, Solidaridad Fronteriza, with support from the Big Lottery Fund, is helping to find ways of adapting to these challenges, through a cross-border project promoting food security, sustainable agriculture and the solidarity economy.
As part of this, Ramona and 20 other members of the ‘Unity and Effort’ mothers club, have been given training and help with setting up vegetable plots using sustainable production methods, as well as information about better nutrition, particularly for children.
Pictured above: Workshop on preparation of family gardens for organic production of vegetables, realized by the technical team of Solidaridad Fronteriza and the local women's organization (Mother Club) "Union y Esfuerzo".
Women from the group have also received assistance in setting up small poultry units to produce eggs, for their own consumption and for sale. Ramona is enthusiastic about the changes that she’s experienced. She said:
Before I did not know how to prepare balanced meals. We no longer have to spend money to buy vegetables from lorries, as in the past.
She now shares her knowledge with others, encouraging them to participate, making follow-up visits to provide support and offer tips.
The women are so committed that even after the end of the project they are planning to carry on, giving some of the chicks they have raised to others, so they can benefit too.
Here's how you can help Progressio support more people like Ramona, to empower themselves:
Take part in our ZimFare and ZimFast fundraising challenges, which help you to get a glimpse of what life is like for people living in extreme poverty in Zimbabwe and around the world: www.progressio.org.uk/zimfare
Fundraise for Progressio by challenging yourself. You can either sky dive, treck across the Atlas Mountains, or run the Royal Parks Half Marathon: bit.ly/Progressio-challenges
Or, if you would like to make a donation to Progressio, please click here: bit.ly/Progressio-Donate
Thanks to the support of people here in the UK, in the last 3 years Progressio has helped 9 million people turn their lives around for the better. We have helped people fight injustice and discrimination, overcome poverty, and gain the skills and knowledge they need to stand up for themselves and their communities.