Guatemala is an extremely biodiverse country, with one of the most extensive forest systems in Central America. Unfortunately, these forests are rapidly disappearing due in large part to population growth, firewood collection, and land-clearing for agriculture. During a recent planning workshop, the women of the Association identified deforestation as a problem that is directly affecting their communities. They are having trouble finding wood for cooking and building, and are reporting an increase in erosion, causing flooding and landslides that destroy homes, roads and bridges.
Armed with a small grant from a U.S. donor, the Association began their reforestation project in 2017. Several women have started tree nurseries in their communities and have invited volunteers to help plant them. So far, the women have planted 15,000 trees in five communities. There is plenty of room for this project to grow. The Association hopes to plant 5,000 trees each year at a cost of $1,300. If you or you church would like to support this project, please let us know!
Rural, indigenous Guatemalans are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Many in the Mam community depend on seasonable agricultural work to survive. In recent years, inconsistent rains and hail storms have made growing common crops of beans, corn, and potatoes less predictable and less profitable, resulting in increased poverty and hunger. This change in weather is also affecting the Association’s family vegetable garden project, with women reporting that either too much rain has washed their seeds away or too little rain has caused a poor yield. The Association recognizes that their reforestation project is a way they can do their part to combat climate change.
(banner photo by Kim Jackson)