Reforestation’s benefits to communities
The effects of El Niño and the recent drought threaten food security in Nicaragua, especially for the 2.5 million people who live on less than two dollars a day. Additionally, deforestation has reduced the country’s forest cover by 40 percent between 1990 and 2016, exacerbating soil erosion and degradation. In the Department of León, logging for firewood and large scale cattle ranching drive forest clearing; as a result, ground water sources deplete faster.
To combat these effects of climate change and environmental destruction, Lesbia Alvarado, our program officer for agro-forestry programs, has been teaching families how to plant Moringa trees, which serve as natural windbreaks and nutrient providers for the soil. Moringa reforestation particularly benefits residents in Goyena and Toilo who have family gardens, as these trees oxygenate the soil, eliminate lingering pesticides, and enrich the grass that is needed for livestock.
The Troilo preschool, primary school, and health center are now involved in the reforestation project. Students maintain their own nursery and plant Royal Cedar and Moringa saplings along the banks of the Telica River, which will shade its water source as well as reduce erosion. Participating students also bring home saplings of their own to plant, a reminder of their restorative impact on the community.
To leverage these efforts, VL has facilitated a partnership between elementary schools in Goyena and Troilo and SONATI, an environmental protection organization. They hold monthly student workshops on sustainability and environmental education. As a result, Goyena’s youth is growing environmentally conscious and applying skills learned in the workshops to their own community. In May, students and Goyena residents cleaned the Goyena bridge of the debris and litter that have obstructed the creek’s current and polluted the ecosystem in recent years.
The environmental workshops and SONATI partnership demonstrate how Goyena and Troilo’s youth take on environmental responsibility, in turn spreading awareness in the community. Moreover, the reforestation project is another example of how VL works to enable long term, sustainable solutions by facilitating efforts from within the communities.
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