Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families

by EcoLogic Development Fund
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 families

Dear GlobalGiving Supporter,

Today I wanted to share Tereso's experience, one of the farmers we work with in northern Guatemala, in his own words:

My name is Tereso. I am from the community of Santa Maria Tzeja in northern Guatemala. I want to continue telling you about my experience in the implementation of my agroforestry system. In 2019, I planted more than 1,300 guama plants and 250 mahogany seedlings in 2.31 hectares of degraded land. In the beginning, it took a lot of work since the land was previously used as a pasture, but with the will to transform the use of the soil I decided to carry out the work--and I am succeeding.

I am very happy to see how the plants are growing and how they complement each other. The soil is changing color and texture.

This year, together with the EcoLogic field technician, we have carried out the measurement of subplots to monitor the corn harvest and verify yields, whether there is an increase in production or if it is maintained.

I also want to share my happiness, that thanks to the management carried out by the technical staff of EcoLogic, I received my first incentive payment from the Guatemala National Forest Institute (INAB, by its acronym in Spanish). With this incentive, I have managed to reinvest in the agroforestry system and at the same time, it has served to support my family.

Keeping my agroforestry system in good working order entails great responsibility. The established management plan has to be followed and implemented, and this requires a lot of work and commitment. In 2020, I managed to build more than 500 meters of fire breaks around it.  I had to eliminate any vegetative material that could be a source of fuel and generate a fire in my system and damage it.

I have also put up signage showing the type of project that was carried out, the area, the year it began, the species that interact in the area. I want to thank EcoLogic for providing support, technical assistance, and above all facilitating the processes for the implementation of this type of project since they are of great benefit to us farmers and are friendly to the environment.

 Thank you so very much for being a part of making this work possible!

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Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

Did you know May 20 was World Bee Day? During this day, the UN highlighted the importance of bees for us all, particularly in their role as pollinators. Nearly 75% of the world’s food crops depend, entirely, or at least in part, on animal pollination. 

A few tips on what we can do individually for bees: 

  • planting a diverse set of native plants, which flower at different times of the year;
  • buying raw honey from local farmers;
  • buying products from sustainable agricultural practices; and
  • avoiding pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides in our gardens.

Related to our beekeeping efforts in Guatemala, I wanted to share an update from our field technicians, who recently visited our friends at Apiarios Flores Occidentales in the Department of San Marcos.

Their objective was to learn how the family-run enterprise at Apiarios is leveraging products and sub-products of the hive. This workshop was directed to the Ixcán technicians who are in charge of the beekeeping project in the communities, with the aim of learning more about how to transform the raw material (beehive products) into by-products.

Elmer and Antonio shared: “During the two days of theoretical training we learned about 9 products that the hives can generate: honey, pollen, propolis, Royal Jelly, wax, apitoxin, bees, queen bees, and bee larvae. The beekeeping practice consisted of entering the Apiary to obtain each of these products of the hive.

Having the bee products it was necessary to transform them into by-products, this activity focused directly on the subject of confectionery. We learned to make medicinal candies using honey and propolis as the main ingredients.

From beekeeping products, a series of by-products can be transformed, which can be made with the combination of the same raw materials provided by bees, for example: shampoo, honey sweets, propolis sweets, royal jelly, honey sweets with cardamom, multivitamin sweets with honey and propolis, propolis-based decongestant, and honey-based soap.

The possibilities of making sub-products of the schools are infinite, given the number of consumers of these products that vary from children to adults, pharmaceutical products, to beauty products. This responds to a constantly growing industry.”

As a next step, our field technicians will be sharing some of this information with the beekeepers in Ixcán and propose some ways to start incorporating these approaches in order to diversify the ways in which they can generate income from their beekeeping activities.

Thank you so much for all of your support! We look forward to keeping you updated on our next steps.

In solidarity,

Mario Ardany de Leon, EcoLogic Program Officer, Guatemala

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Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

I hope your year is off to a great start and that you and your loved ones are staying healthy as we continue to navigate the global pandemic.

My last update focused on our work with four farmers in the community of Nuevo Nacimiento Cáliz, in the Sarstun region of Guatemala. When we left off, Martín, Javier, Andrés, and Emilio, were getting started establishing diversified agroforestry systems on their farming plots. 

With our local partner, APROSARSTUN, we provided 515 rambutan plants, 400 cacao plants, 6,000 pineapple shoots, 60 banana sprouts, and 3,000 cassava cuttings, which were distributed to the four farmers. Each parcel will cover approximately 0.7 hectares in size.

On a recent visit to the parcels, our field technician was able to provide follow up and hear from the farmers how things have progressed and grateful they are. Not only have the parcels provided essential nutrition during the food security crisis exacerbated by COVID-19, but they were also able to withstand the impacts of Hurricanes Eta and Iota both of which hit this area hard. 

We’re grateful that, despite the devastation caused by these back-to-back hurricanes in many regions, there was no loss of life in these communities. Some of the primary challenges caused by the hurricanes were flooding and saturation of soils. Some farmers lost their crops, especially beans, or frijoles, in Sarstun. But the farmers applying agroforestry and diversification strategies with our help were not impacted and they have been able to maintain their livelihoods and feed their families.

Thank you so very much for your support, which makes this work possible! We are working to extend this approach to more farmers and communities. I look forward to sharing our progress with you during the next update.

In solidarity,

Mario Ardany de León Benítez

Program Officer, Guatemala

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Dear GlobalGiving supporters,

This update focuses on our work with four producers--Martín, Javier, Andrés, and Emilio--in the community of Nuevo Nacimiento Cáliz, Guatemala to establish diversified agroforestry systems. With our local partner, APROSARSTUN, we provided 515 rambutan plants, 400 cacao plants, 6,000 pineapple shoots, 60 banana sprouts, and 3,000 cassava cuttings, which were distributed to the four farmers. Each parcel will cover approximately 0.7 hectares in size.

With these updated agricultural systems, the farmers will produce food for their families in the short, medium, and long-term. The cassava and banana harvest will give yields in one year, the pineapple harvest in two years, and the rambutan and cacao will produce fruit in three years. Fruit species such as rambutan and cacao can produce for 15 continuous years, which will assist these families for many years to come in having food for consumption and fruit for sale in local markets to complement family income. 

Don Martin, one of the new agroforestry producers in Nuevo Nacimiento Cáliz, tells us his hope is to see his plot as a source for food production, generation of economic income, and as an environmental project. He indicates that he chose his most productive and fertile land for planting fruit plants. He will also now plant his corn crops in the alleys of the trees and inga edulis in the rows of the crops.

We’re excited to witness the economic growth that this diverse agroforestry system will bring! We look forward to keeping you updated on these plots as they result in food production and economic income for families in the future.

In solidarity,

Mario Ardany de Leon, Program Officer

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May 2020

Dear GlobalGiving supporters,

I hope you and your loved ones have been able to stay safe and healthy during these unprecedented times! Just like in most countries around the world, in Guatemala we are feeling the effects of COVID-19. Since late March, we have been on orders to stay at home and practice social distancing. Our priority is to keep our staff and communities protected. So far, the number of Coronavirus cases in my country have remained relatively low and have concentrated mostly in urban centers. But the more isolated and rural communities where we work remain vigilant, practicing social distancing, and keeping outsiders from coming into their villages.

Of course, our work hasn’t stopped over that time. The beekeepers and farmers that I work with on a regular basis, have been requesting ongoing technical assistance—which I have been providing over cell phone and text messages. Just as the world has adapted to all things virtual using online meeting platforms, I have been able to continue walking these communities through key processes of honey production and harvest remotely. Although the communities’ technology is not as advanced, most have basic cell phones. A phone call and text messages can do the trick just as well!

In the month of March, I had several phone calls with beekeepers. We discussed how to create and place a wax foundation on which the bees can build the honeycomb to help them work quickly. I also made recommendations so that they were careful when the bees started with the production of real cells and that they were not born at harvest time. Otherwise they swarm and leave the brood chamber with a very weak population and this would affect the honey harvest.

In the month of April, I had a lot of communication with the producers because everyone was ready for the honey harvest. We discussed that as long as the frames presented an acceptable degree of maturation they could move forward. I explained the use of the extraction equipment in detail to obtain a honey free of contamination and to ensure everyones’ safety during the honey harvest. 

The harvest has been good according to the beekeepers with whom I have had communication. For example Don Jorge, with his son Moisés, from the community of Nuevo San Lorenzo managed to harvest 18 liters of honey each. Marcos, Benino, and Vicente, from the Machaquila II community stated the same. It is necessary to measure the humidity of the harvested honeys to be able to determine their classification. It is worth mentioning that these are the new beekeepers with whom we started in 2019. Now in the month of May there has been a lot of communication with the beekeepers offering the basic recommendations for the division and multiplication of hives. 

The honey production is providing resilience and helping rural families in Guatemala navigate these challenging times right now. But we anticipate there will be broader food insecurity as the ability to get key supplies or sell their products in town centers continues to be restricted.This is, of course, a big concern. We are in dialogue with our local staff and partners, to continue providing support in this regard.

Overall, the EcoLogic team and our partners have also taken advantage of this time to share experiences with each other, discuss our work on the ground and how we can improve or enhance our interventions. It has been a very enriching experience, to have the time to take a step back and have these discussions with our own team, and outside experts. We’ve learned a lot from different beekeeping experiences with our partners in Honduras, as well.

I look forward to keeping you updated on the experiences of these communities as we move forward in these challenging times. Thanks again for your support, it gives me the strength to keep fighting for my people and my country each and every day!

In solidarity,

Elmer Urízar

Field Technician, Ixcán, Guatemala

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Organization Information

EcoLogic Development Fund

Location: Cambridge, MA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ecologicdevfund
Project Leader:
Barbara Vallarino
Cambridge, MA United States
$1,037 raised of $10,866 goal
19 donations
$9,829 to go
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