Five years of punishing drought and excessive rain have left millions across Central America’s “dry corridor” food insecure. They’re hungry and scared and COVID-19 is making their suffering acute.
Vilma Lezama feels these burdens keenly. A preventative health volunteer for our local partner, Diaconía Nacional, and a mother herself, Vilma provides nutrition and health training and support to mothers and monitors the health of children in her village from birth to age 5. “We also promote gardens, so that mothers can produce part of their food at home,” says Vilma, “but the scarcity of water and sometimes the floods prevent us from working on it.”
Since April of 2019, World Renew and Diaconía have contributed to the food security of 100 families in the dry corridor with aquaponics. These highly efficient systems grow fish and vegetables in a closed, symbiotic manner, and are meeting COVID-19’s added challenges in a timely, God-given way.
As the project winds up this fall, we celebrate the installation of 100 systems by which families have grown average yields of 28 pounds of fish and 13 pounds of vegetables — cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, basil, oregano, peppers, squash, and cilantro — within their first production cycle!
Nineteen families in Vilma’s community now practice aquaponics, including Vilma herself. “I feel proud and grateful to God for my harvests,” she says. “I am hopeful and relieved.”