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Latin America & Caribbean

After 20 years, Fundación Tzedaká is Still Changing Lives.

Ruth Heymann's picture

For 21 years, Fundación Tzedaká, who won an award at the 2010 Latin America Development Marketplace, has been developing social programs and actions to improve the living conditions of citizens who live in poverty in Argentina. Based on a model that works in partnerships, and with a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach, they develop programs in areas such as health, education, housing, job training, food, seniors and children, taking family as the focal point of intervention. Transparency, efficient management of resources and consistent accountability are the organization’s pillars.

Some of their programs have been recognized for their contribution to society, as is the case of "Refuot", the largest Community Medicine Bank in the country and “Accion Joven”; a training program that helps young adults improve their development and employment performance and the program which won the LAC DM award. Over 750 young adults have been trained for different positions with a high opportunity rate in the job scenarios.

Sierra Gorda, Mexico: Where the Fight against Climate Change Goes Local

Myra Valenzuela's picture

From April 23-25, 2012, a DM team comprised of Ricardo Hernandez (Sr. Environmental Specialist), Angelica Calderon (Information Specialist), Douglas Jimenez (Information Assistant), and Myra Valenzuela (Consultant) visited DM2008 Project “Reducing Impacts of Ranching on Biodiversity.”

Photo Credit: Roberto Pedraza Ruiz - Sierra Gorda SilvestreWith the Rio+20 meetings less than 5 weeks away, climate change has once again taken center stage on the global agenda. Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda IAP (GESG), based in the state of Querétaro, Mexico, is combating climate change through its efforts to establish a conservation-based local economy in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve (Reserve). At almost 384,000 hectares, the Reserve covers 32% of the state’s territory, and it is jointly managed as a public-private partnership by the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) and GESG. 
 

As a member of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in Mexico and serves as a critical refuge for both migratory and threatened species. However, the practice of extensive cattle grazing by landowners throughout the Reserve poses a threat to the delicate ecosystem. GESG’s GEF-funded project with the Development Marketplace, “Reducing Impacts of Ranching on Biodiversity” addressed just that: financing payments for environmental services to local ranchers in exchange for excluding their cattle from the land and performing conservation activities (e.g. tree planting, soil regeneration, no lumber extraction, no hunting). The DM project also supported 5 pilot farms to showcase best practices for animal husbandry and land management. In addition, GESG pursued certification and verification of sequestered carbon captured in reforestation efforts through the Rainforest Alliance, developing a “gourmet” product of integrated environmental services.

Transforming Plastic Bottles into Classrooms

Myra Valenzuela's picture

Nueva Reforma - almost finished - Photo credit: Hug It Forward on Flickr In the Philippines and Guatemala, local groups have taken the mantra “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle” to a whole new level. MyShelter Foundation and Hug It Forward use discarded plastic bottles as ‘eco-bricks’ to work with local communities to build “Bottle Schools” – providing an innovative response to the problems of plastic waste and the chronic lack of educational infrastructure.

Rejuvenating the Cacao Industry in Trinidad & Tobago

Jan Engels's picture

Photo Credit: www.trinitario-cacao.orgA relic cacao tree nestles deep in the valleys of the Northern Range of the island of Trinidad in a sleepy cacao village called Brasso Seco. Moss hangs from this tree creating an eerie effect; its ripe, rough, “lagarta” (alligator) shaped pods only hint at their fascinating contents of pale-coloured, prized Criollo-influenced, flavourful beans.  

This is the realisation of a cacao collector’s dream: ancient Trinitario cacao from the place where Trinitario originated.  Likewise, across the numerous valleys in villages of Aripo, Lopinot, Naranjho, Cumana in North Trinidad and the steep terrains of Moriah, Runnemede and Lanse Fourmi in Western Tobago, cacao trees of mainly relic Trinitario genotype still survive, carefully conserved in farmers’ fields over the decades spanning from when cocoa reigned as king, in the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, to the present day.  The chocolate world owes these dedicated farmers a debt of gratitude.

Cacao scientists from Bioversity International and the University of British Colombia at Vancouver, joined forces with some from the Cocoa Research Section of the Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs (MFPLMA) and the Cocoa Research Unit (CRU) of the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago and conceived and fine-tuned an ambitious project to promote and utilise the latent treasures contained in the vast acreages of relic cacao still remarkably preserved in Trinidad and Tobago.

Maya Nut Could Boost Resilience to Climate Change

DM2009 Winner, Masagni, adopted the Maya Nut Institute's "Healthy Kids, Health Forests Maya Nut School Lunch Program" in Nicaragua's Miskito indigenous communities. For more information on this DM project, click here.

This article was originally published on http://ourworld.unu.edu/, for the original blog post, click here. The Our World 2.0 web magazine shares the ideas and actions of citizens around the world who are transforming our lives for the better.


Photo by Our World 2.0

Global climate models indicate that Central America will experience temperature rise and increasingly dry conditions over the next decades. Precipitation will decrease, causing severe water stress and more frequent and intense drought periods. Pressure on natural resources will grow, as a result of both demographic pressures and climate change, while degradation of ecosystems will further exacerbate water and food scarcity, worsening the living conditions of vulnerable people and communities.

Azolla: A New Paradigm of the Future of Rice

Mariano Montano's picture

My research in Azolla-Anabaena (AA) began in 1980, when I joined the Institute of Chemical and Environmental Sciences at Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. After many years of research and testing with various partners, the World Bank’s Development Marketplace funded “Converting Rice Fields into Green Fertilizer Factories” in 2008. I would like to share with you the successes of this project, which has the potential to change the paradigm of rice production in Ecuador.

Rationale

Rice in Ecuador is an essential and primary food for most of the population. The country harvests more than 300,000 hectares involving more than 140,000 families. Therefore it is important that rice is produced cost-effectively and in an environmentally sustainable manner. The production costs of rice depend on the type of seed, fertilizer and phyto-sanitary package used to control weed and insects, costs of labor, land preparation, rental equipment for seeding and harvest, and irrigation. The majority of fertilizers are chemical-based, involving heavy imports and causing environmental problems. More than 40% of the fertilizer applied is released into the environment, as plants cannot utilize 100%. In addition, purchases of imported chemical fertilizers for agriculture account for about 30% of current production costs.

DM 2009 Winner Cusichaca Trust Featured in Smithsonian Magazine

Myra Valenzuela's picture

Source of Photo: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/Climate change has exacerbated the dryness of the eight-month dry season in Peru’s highlands. As a means of adaptation, the Cusichaca Trust and the Asociación Andina Cusichaca are using a DM grant to restore proven Inca-era agricultural practices to conserve water and increase crop yields.

A couple of months ago, journalist Cynthia Graber visited the project and featured it in Smithsonian Magazine:


The Andes are some of the tallest, starkest mountains in the world. Yet the Incas, and the civilizations before them, coaxed harvests from the Andes’ sharp slopes and intermittent waterways. They developed resilient breeds of crops such as potatoes, quinoa and corn. They built cisterns and irrigation canals that snaked and angled down and around the mountains. And they cut terraces into the hillsides, progressively steeper, from the valleys up the slopes. At the Incan civilization’s height in the 1400s, the system of terraces covered about a million hectares throughout Peru and fed the vast empire.

A $450 house for only $5 a month – no interest paid.

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

Photo credit: International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)What’s the catch? It seems too good to be true but a 2009 DM winner, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), has successfully developed a bamboo prototype and payment scheme that is affordable and appealing to the poor.

The project entitled "Elevated Bamboo Houses designed to Lift Communities above Flood Zones" is being implemented in Ecuador and it is already being considered a victory. Even before the project has completed its funding cycle with the DM, the European Commission and Common Fund for Commodities have contributed €1,647,959 and $2,007,300 respectively so the project can scale up.

Only the sky is the limit!

Beatriz Carranza's picture

Photo: Beatriz Quispe Carranza in IndiaHello everybody!

My name is Beatriz, I am a social change-maker from Peru. In 2003, thanks to the Development Marketplace, a group of enthusiastic, passionate young people in Lima received funds to start the first Cybercafé for the blind in Peru. During the first year, more than 250 visually impaired were trained in word processing and E-Mail.

 In 2004, the World Bank invited us to Washington, to exchange lessons and experiences among other Latin American projects. Certainly, this opportunity was extremely beneficial to our project. Now, thanks to private sponsorship, our Cybercafé has become ATECNODIS, an NGO that promotes access to information and technology for the visually impaired.

What’s the Secret Sauce for Scaling Up?

Myra Valenzuela's picture

How can one go to scale? This is the continuous challenge that confronts all successful social entrepreneurs. For Grupo EOZ in Mexico, there were a few key elements behind their answer: a combination of funding, partnerships and publicity, much of it due to its participation in a national TV competition called Iniciativa México.

From August to November 2010, 50 finalists from a pool of 47,000 initial applicants were featured weekly on the national TV competition.

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