“My name is Aurelia Zacarias. I am an agriculture promoter from a women’s group called ‘Las florecitas’ in Guatemala. Our group was formed by the Maya-Mam Association of Research and Development (AMMID) and for the past four years we have been working to establish family gardens, plant tree nurseries and raise livestock to improve our livelihoods.
Before joining this group, I didn’t know much about agriculture or livestock. If I needed something to eat I would buy it from the market. If I didn’t have money, I just wouldn’t buy certain things. If my animals became sick or were not growing properly, I would sell them for a cheap price because I didn’t have the necessary knowledge to take care of them.
Through this program, our group has learned different agriculture techniques, such as soil preparation, composting and vegetable planting. In the month of June, I planted 110 trees on my land in order to protect the earth. I also harvest vegetables from my garden on a weekly basis and enjoy having healthy organic produce to feed my family. Growing our own food also saves money so I can take care of our other needs.
My animals are much healthier as well. I now know how to feed them properly and administer the appropriate medicines so they eat well, grow quickly and stay healthy. In addition, I help administer medicines to my neighbours’ animals using the training I received.
I am very grateful to be earning an income and helping the development of my community. I thank AMMID and the other people who have supported us! I hope to continue working with women in need so that we can improve our living conditions – especially for our sons and daughters, who are our future.”
Presbyterian World Service & Development is working with local partner AMMID to help improve the livelihoods of Maya-Mam people. With training in agro-ecological production, farmers are using traditional knowledge and locally available resources to grow more food, diversify their diets and protect the environment. To ensure families are successful, they receive animals such as pigs, as well as training on proper feeding and care in order to profit from livestock.
Agriculture promoters like Aurelia are empowered to share their knowledge with others.
In 2013, a total of 19 women promoters received training and went on to share this knowledge with 100 other families in the community.