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
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 Families
Sustainable Livelihoods for 100 Families

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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Dear GlobalGiving supporter,

I’m writing to you today because I know you care about the families and communities we work with in Guatemala. My name is Elmer Urízar and I am the Field Technician for EcoLogic’s project with Mancomunidad Frontera del Norte in Ixcán.

I want to take this moment to THANK YOU for your generous support. It allows us to respond to the immediate needs of rural and indigenous families so that they can have dignified lives and livelihoods in the places where they live. I have worked in this community for over 5 years, providing technical assistance to implement a series of complementary strategies that seek to empower rural communities to conserve their forests and natural resources--one of them being beekeeping and honey production.

In 2019, the beekeepers we work with produced 28,000 lbs. of honey. With continued technical assistance, the honey's quality was greatly improved perhaps reaching its best year so far. In case you didn’t know, moisture is one of the most important parameters of honey quality--higher moisture makes the honey more susceptible to fermentation. Thus, we have been working closely with our producers to monitor and reduce the water content of the honey. Feeling more confident in their product, the producers dared to knock on doors of local cooperatives and associations to offer their product.

ASIPOI (Integral Association of Organic Producers of Ixcán) is an association that works with organic production and also buys products to sell nationally and internationally. A group of producers from San Antonio Tzejá spoke with ASIPOI about the sale of their product, demonstrating the quality of honey by showing documentation of its moisture levels. I was very happy that they were able to sell all the honey they had available at about US$ 1.05/lb and ASIPOI was very pleased with its quality--opening the doors for continued sale of their future harvests.

I look forward to keeping you updated on the experiences of these communities as we move forward with the process. 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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Follow up technical assistance on beekeeping
Follow up technical assistance on beekeeping

Dear GlobalGiving supporter,

I’m writing to you today because I know you care about the families and communities we work with in Guatemala. My name is Mario Ardany de León, EcoLogic’s Program Officer. I want to take this moment to THANK YOU for your generous support. It allows us to respond to the immediate needs of rural and indigenous families so that they can pursue dignified lives and livelihoods in the places where they live. 

In our previous update, we shared our work with two new communities in Ixcán, El Quiché, Guatemala--to provide the materials and technical assistance to implement sustainable livelihoods in the form of beekeeping and agroforestry. After the initial delivery of the materials, following up to make sure that the equipment is being used correctly and that the community members have the know-how and confidence to continue implementing the initiative in the long-term is essential!

I wanted to share with you this recent video of our field technicians working with Jorge, to continue building his capacity on the process of hive management: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3u9k0EzwqY

In addition, so far in 2019, we have worked to establish 25 new hectares of agroforestry parcels on land that is currently degraded, producing 47,114 plants for the parcels, incorporating best practices and new techniques from learning exchanges.

I look forward to keeping you updated on the experiences of these communities as we move forward with the process. 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,

Mario Ardany de Leon, Guatemala Program Officer

Growing trees for agroforestry
Growing trees for agroforestry
Building new beehives
Building new beehives
Tree nursery for agroforestry
Tree nursery for agroforestry

Links:

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Me (L) and colleague Antonio (R) with equipment
Me (L) and colleague Antonio (R) with equipment

Dear GlobalGiving supporter,

I’m writing to you today because I know you care about the families and communities we work with in Guatemala. My name is Elmer Urízar and I am the Field Technician for EcoLogic’s project with Mancomunidad Frontera del Norte in Ixcán. I want to take this moment to THANK YOU for your generous support. It allows us to respond to the immediate needs of rural and indigenous families so that they can have dignified lives and livelihoods in the places where they live. I have worked in this community for over 5 years, providing technical assistance to implement a series of complementary strategies that seek to empower rural communities to conserve their forests and natural resources.

One of these strategies is beekeeping. Beekeeping can help build sustainable, resilient livelihoods from the harvest and sale of honey. EcoLogic’s beekeeping project has grown to include seven communities Ixcán, who have received beehives, training and assistance to enable them to adopt a livelihood alternative to slash-and-burn subsistence agriculture. This year we are expanding to two new communities that were identified and selected to benefit from beekeeping expansion, given their strong interest and commitment.

We started by approaching community authorities to make ourselves known. We then conducted community consultations, carried out in a participatory manner under the concept of family participation--to further encourage the active participation and leadership of women. The 50 beneficiaries were selected through community assemblies, where each family nucleus will become a participating family. An important part of the process was a learning exchange we facilitated between these new communities that were considering these activities and a community already engaged in agroforestry and beekeeping. The communities have also selected volunteer promoters (community leaders) to be further trained and provide ongoing support to all project participants.

We then held several workshops to train the participating families in the process, care, and maintenance of beehives, use of the equipment, safety tips, etc. so that they would be ready when the bees arrived.

Finally, last week, we were very excited to deliver the first 50 beehives, safety equipment, smokers, and other tools. It was quite the process, as these communities are very remote and the bees were delivered at night so that they would be calmer. We were all up until the wee hours of the morning making sure everything was delivered correctly and distributed as planned. The new beekeepers are incredibly grateful, committed, and ready to go.

I look forward to keeping you updated on the experiences of these communities as we move forward with the process. Thanks again for your kindness and moral 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

Late-night beehive delivery
Late-night beehive delivery
Getting set up the next day
Getting set up the next day
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Organization Information

EcoLogic Development Fund

Location: Cambridge, MA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ecologicdevfund
Project Leader:
Barbara Vallarino
Cambridge, MA United States
$3,107 raised of $10,866 goal
 
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$7,759 to go
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