María Pucha | Development and Peace

María Pucha

María Pucha

“Thanks to CEDIS, I received all kinds of plants for my allotment garden such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, onions, carrots and beets. Because the harvest coincided with the start of the pandemic, we could continue feeding ourselves without having to go to town to buy supplies.”

María Pucha hails from the community of La Pradera in Ecuador.

How our partner, CEDIS, is helping

Organic allotment gardens help feed communities in Ecuador

The Center for Development, Dissemination and Social Research (CEDIS, Centro de Desarrollo, Difusión e Investigación Social) trained 505 families and provided them seedlings to cultivate allotment gardens. Seeing the project’s success, neighbouring communities have requested that it be expanded. CEDIS now plans to train and equip another 500 families. 

Trade fairs for fair trade

The pandemic had helped Ecuadorians understand just how important peasant agriculture is for keeping the large cities well fed. Yet, instances have come to light of large-scale traders exploiting small-scale farmers by imposing low purchase prices in the countryside to sell the produce at huge markups in the cities.

To get a fairer deal, peasant communities have begun organizing themselves around local trade fairs, where they can exchange produce and negotiate better prices among themselves. CEDIS is working with these communities and local authorities to consolidate these sales spaces and to create robust fair-trade mechanisms.

The impact of COVID-19 and the role of CEDIS

Despite conditions of extreme vulnerability that include a lack of drinking water, inadequate sewage services, malnutrition and poverty, many rural communities have demonstrated the capacity organize themselves to control the spread of COVID-19. CEDIS has been helping by organizing pandemic awareness and prevention workshops in the communities, ensuring that all participants wear masks, have their temperatures taken and remain safely distant from one another.

At the request of the communities, CEDIS also plans to purchase 25 contactless infrared thermometers, one for each community, to help it monitor for fevers and implement preventive measures.

Indoor water supply

Most rural houses are precarious and lack an indoor water supply. A multipurpose washing platform outside the house is usually used for showering, laundry, dishwashing and cooking.

With Development and Peace’s support, CEDIS will be installing sinks inside select houses. In addition to making cooking more convenient, these sinks will facilitate handwashing, one of the most important preventive measures against COVID-19.