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Ending world hunger won’t be achieved through only one solution. The causes of food insecurity are multi-faceted, and the solutions must be as well. Through our Pathways to End Hunger, Rise Against Hunger is working to tackle these issues by not only providing immediate nourishment for those in need today, but also implementing sustainable solutions that will lift entire communities for years to come. 

In partnership with Growing Hope Globally, two sustainable Empowering Communities projects have taken root in Cambodia and Nicaragua. The projects, both of which wrapped in 2019, worked to provide long-term solutions to targeted, specific issues in both regions. 

Across Cambodia, there is not enough rice production for a family to eat and support themselves financially throughout the year, and many families do not have enough income to send children to school. Family members, usually male, have to leave their community and search for work elsewhere. To address some of these issues, in-country partner World Hope International piloted Introducing Climate Smart Agriculture in Cambodia, a program funded by Rise Against Hunger. This project helped farmers develop their agricultural and business skills through the growth of climate-smart crops, including mushrooms. Mushroom grow houses use less water consumption and use existing farming by-products, which in turn makes them resilient to climate change. Project participants also received training in organic horticulture and basic business management, which they could utilize to further the production of and income from their crops. 

Kimsroan was one of the project’s participants. He says, “I used to earn very little from growing rice, cassava and cashews on my small plot of land. Sometimes we ran out of food before the year ended. But now, thanks to mushroom farming, I have enough money to provide for my family.”

As Kimsroan’s financial situation strengthened, he was then able to address other needs to improve his family’s well-being. He purchased a motorbike, which he can use to make mushroom deliveries, and built a toilet, which improves hygiene and sanitation and helps to combat illness. For mushroom farmers, including Kimsroan, good sanitation can help them also have a safer product. 

In Nicaragua, climate change and limited access to water provide significant challenges to communities in the central region (otherwise known as the “dry corridor”). Together with Growing Hope Globally, Rise Against Hunger supported the people in this region through Building Resilience to Climate Change in Nicaragua. This program provided tools and training that enabled local communities to provide nutritious foods for their families, guard their crops against climate-related shocks and gain access to potable water. Farmers learned sustainable agriculture methods, which helped reverse environmental degradation and maximize water resources, and practiced crop rotation, which helped restore soil health and minimize the chances of crop failure.

For Bertha and Luís, this training and a 1,000-gallon rain-collection tank have helped them provide for their family of six! Before they had a water tank, irrigating their farm was difficult and time-consuming. The closest water source was previously over half a mile away, so Bertha and her children had to take an ox cart back and forth to fill barrels. Now, the water tank has significantly reduced the amount of time irrigation takes and increased the family’s access to water. No longer needing to assist with the half-mile journey to and from the previous water source, Bertha’s children are able to go to school regularly. 

In addition to easier access to water, the family is growing and eating a wide variety of nutritious foods and are able to use the water for sanitation and cooking purposes, as well as agriculture and farming. The family’s health has improved as a result of the program, and Bertha says there have also been financial improvements as the family has fewer health-related costs and is able to sell the extra produce they harvest. 

To learn more about past and current Empowering Communities initiatives, you can read more here as well as learn how you can help support projects like these