Today, Agros is innovating in two countries—Nicaragua and Guatemala—to break the cycle of poverty and create paths to prosperity. Our missional work in each country is rooted in at least one and often several of our four opportunity areas. Outside the four opportunity areas—which remain constant from year to year—these new initiatives represent our latest and most innovative strategies for helping families move permanently out of poverty and into prosperity.
Village within a Village
Currently Agros is advancing land ownership by inviting new families onto unutilized land in already existing Agros villages. Because we are welcoming new families into existing villages, the per family costs are reduced as vital infrastructure is already in place (e.g. water, roads, schools, clinics, irrigation systems). This approach is sometimes referred to as a “village within a village” strategy. The Agros village of Nueva San José, Nicaragua is a prime example of a “village within a village,” as it shares physical proximity, as well as key infrastructure, with the Agros village of San José.
Climate Smart Agriculture
In our work in Central America, we have seen that climate change, agriculture, and poverty are deeply intertwined. Current farming methods do not meet the world’s growing demand for food, do not generate enough income for those growing the food, and contribute a third of all greenhouse emissions worldwide. Our market-led agriculture projects address all three facets of this issue. We are investing in modern production systems that significantly increase the number of harvests and increase the yield of each harvest—meaning more income and more food is generated on less land with fewer emissions. We are also investing in the formation of farming associations which empower families to work together for increased influence with buyers. We are especially excited that a special partnership with Rick Steves will facilitate the growth of our Climate Smart Agribusiness Center in San José, Nicaragua.
In the Ixil Region of Guatemala, 82% of the population lives in poverty, and three of every four children suffer severe and chronic malnutrition. It is in this region that Agros has begun developing a plan to implement proven methodologies for stemming chronic malnutrition in children. In 32 communities, Agros will ensure that pregnant women, babies, and young children receive the health care and food they need to thrive. Additionally, we’ll be training mothers to supplement their household income as entrepreneurs. They will learn how to start and run businesses that ensure adequate income for health and food needs. When mothers thrive, the whole family thrives.