20 Years of FAI–The work in the magical forests of the Sierra Gorda
By Alexa Fullerton and Sylvia van Dijk
FAI (Fundación de Apoyo Infantil, Guanajuato, AC) is celebrating 20 years working with children of our state in accordance with the International Convention of the Rights of the Child. FAI is a Children’s Rights (Human Rights) organization.
The areas of Xichú, Victoria, Atarjea, Santa Catarina, San Luis de la Paz and Tierra Blanca are the poorest municipalities of the State known as the Sierra Gorda Guanajuatense, featuring a magical forest and the caves where a variety of birds, endemic and migrant, find favorable and safe conditions to nest. At the request of the population of Xichú we moved from Tierra Blanca up to the mountains. Once again we began with a participatory community diagnosis, and uniquely the children took part actively by collecting stories of their grandparents and the elderly in the communities. The outcome of this process was discovering serious malnutrition in 60 percent of the children and that there had been a history of food stability, where now there was scarcity because of the climate change and the erosion of traditions.
Food security (starvation) was the problem and we tackled it with a six-points plan that was organized with all the 58 communities:
1) Nutrition surveillance of children and nutrition education for mothers and children. The whole program is reinforced with child’s rights and environmental education in the schools
2) Reintroducing backyard gardens for vegetables, this time using German biodynamic intense production techniques, for which Mr. and Mrs. Heck trained us.
3) A network of food warehouses managed by local youngsters
4) Soil and water conservation to save precious resources, including the care of the magical forests
5) Introducing no-till agriculture for basic grains on small plots
6) Micro-loans to start small cash enterprise
During this process we had the support of the European Union and of the State government. Now 15 years later, we turned the food warehouses over to Federal government’s rural food storage program. The communities voluntarily have worked on cleaning and preserving their forests. Child malnutrition has been halved and we continue to work with the micro-loans where the proceeds of the October anniversary will be applied. We proudly see that these communities have organized themselves together with MOMO AC, a young non-governmental organization working on sustainable rural production for a business plan to optimize their local resources of oregano and chilcuague. We see a bright future.
For more information go to our webpage: www.faiguanajuato.org or facebook: FAI.GTO, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 415.152-3686, Hidalgo 13, San Miguel de Allende, 37700, Guanajuato, Mexico, bank account number 7992805, branch office 483, Banamex.
Vigésimo aniversario de Fundación de Apoyo Infantil Guanajuato A. C. Plan regional de desarrollo para la Sierra Gorda guanajuatense.