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NEWS FROM NICARAGUA

Juan Bello tenderly cares for a new crop of peppers.

After a year of record-breaking drought, CEPAD and our partners ACT Alliance and Episcopal Relief and Development have taken further steps to help Nicaraguan farmers who lost crops and are struggling to feed their families.

“We haven’t had a good harvest in two years, and we couldn’t have survived without CEPAD,” said Hermelinda Urbina of the community Nacascolo. “We need water more than anything, and now thanks to CEPAD we have food to eat until it starts to rain in May.”

Hermelinda’s family received a large water tank that they can store water in and then connect to a motor to irrigate their new corn field in the coming growing season.

CEPAD has provided farmers in the dryest areas with micro dams, water collection and storage systems, and emergency food plants so they can survive until the rainy season begins in May. ACT Alliance and Episcopal Relief and Development collaborated with CEPAD to provide funds for the supplies and trainings, which will serve more than 600 families in Jinotepe, San Francisco Libre and San Jose de Los Remates.

Griselda Espinoza Jarquin in La Cañada said her new barrel irrigation system and micro dam — a small ditch designed to hold and distribute water — will greatly improve her capacity to grow year round.

“With these systems, we can manage our water better and sustain our plants when it’s dry,” she explained. “It’s a huge help. It will also mean I have produce that I can sell in my small store.”

The next phase of the emergency project will be helping farmers rehabilitate lands damaged by the fierce drought so they can start growing again.

“For now, CEPAD is helping provide food, and we are so thankful” said Juan Manuel Alvarez Bello of La Laguna. “CEPAD has consistently been the most helpful and compassionate NGO for our community.”

If you want to help CEPAD implement more projects like these, please donate now.

Over a hot, humid, rainy week in Nicaragua recently, I spent some time with our partner there, the Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD). This was my third visit to see their work, and I’ve written in previous years about the amazing mega-gardens that small farmers have created around their homes.

leongraduation2014

“We feel proud to be presenting 36 new graduates to the community of Leon,” said María Cristina Espinoza, the institute’s principal, during the graduation ceremony. “We hope you will join us in the honor of helping them continue in their development and education.”

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