AVSF has been active in Honduras since 1990, working on projects in animal health, natural-resource management, local economic development, food and nutritional security and agroecology for smallholders.
Roughly 60% of the Lenca in the Intibuca region live in poverty because of the deterioration of rural life, discrimination against indigenous groups and unsustainable farming systems (dependence on chemical inputs, low profitability, etc.). Women and young people are the most vulnerable.
Young people make up more than half the population, but there are few professional opportunities for them. They are rarely taken into account in decisions, and their only alternative is to leave their community and move to the city. Women do the household chores, but don't get a salary. It's the men who make the decisions and manage the household finances.
In these difficult circumstances, AVSF and its partners have put in place agroecology projects offering a healthy and innovative alternative for women and young people. Because they're less involved in conventional production systems, women and young people are more open to trying out new farming practices that are eco-friendly and that create viable economic opportunities.
The goal of agroecology is to ensure food security, reduced production costs, soil conservation, greater resilience to climate change, more safety in the use of inputs and the integration of women and young people into the production system.
To do so, AVSF is pursuing three different methods:
So far, this project for developing agroecology and promoting the role of women and young people has had convincing results. There are currently 13 OECs up and running with 92 participants (32% women), and 160 families are transitioning to agroecology with highly diversified crops. Some 280 families have reduced their use of chemical inputs by 60% to 100%, 17 producers now sell their products directly at a local market, more than 3,000 families are now aware of the importance of healthy food and agroecology is now an objective in the municipal development plan.
This project is supported by the European Union.