Rosa Edith Novoa does not wait for sunrise to wake. At 4 am she begins her daily tasks like all rural women in her town. While tending to her home, Rosa preheats her oven in preparation to make typical Segovian doughnuts. She is a mother, wife, producer, and has recently undertaken a new job: selling homemade doughnuts. As a member of the multi-service cooperative “Nuevo Horizonte” (New Horizons), of El Jícaro, Rosa produces maize and beans. With the knowledge acquired in Purchase for Progress (P4P) field schools Rosa was able to construct her environmentally friendly oven. She is proud of the additional income that she contributes to her family through the sale of her homemade baked goods.
"Women are the key to spark the interest in other women to be part of cooperatives and achieve our dreams" says Martha Jesus Matute, member of the Cooperative “Nuevo Horizonte”. This cooperative was established in 1995 with 25 men and 1 woman. Today the cooperative has 26 women actively involved and a dozen more waiting to be initiated due to the recruitment by Matute, the Secretary of the Supervisory Credit Board and member of the Gender Committee of the cooperative “Nuevo Horizonte”.
A team from the Canadian Agency for International Development visited "Purchase for Progress" (P4P) programmes to get a better understanding of the cooperatives and issues facing them in terms of gender inequality and the environment. President of “Nuevo Horizonte”, Luis Enrique Quezada (right, White shirt) explained to (right to left) Environmental Specialist Moreno Padilla for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada (DFATD), Development Officer Félix Balladares, and Gender Specialist Aracely Trejos the advancements that have been achieved with the implementation of new production methods in maize cultivation. The maize seeds that producers are using are more resilient to pests and other environmental hazards and are cheaper than other seeds available on the market. Yields have also been higher: 70 to 80 bushels of maize per acre, twice the area average.
P4P with the government of Nicaragua and agriculture organizations, assist 15 cooperatives in Nueva Segovia, Estelí, Matagalpa and Jinotega in strengthening their production, organizational and marketing capacities. Thus far 5 cooperatives have implemented policies with the aim of promoting gender equality. In the photo Martha Matute presents the Gender Policy of her cooperative “Nuevo Horizonte” to Gender Specialist, Aracely Trejos.
Rosa Edith Novoa, standing next to her husband Hugo Matute said that she has accomplished her dream. “I lived to dream, it costs nothing”. Now Novoa has learned techniques through WFP field schools to plant staple grains, vegetables, and has constructed an oven that has proven more economical by consuming less firewood and is more user-friendly than her previous oven that smoked up her home. The trainings in household economics are conveyed through various tools that rural families are actively utilizing.
For Eda del Rosario Perez, 42, one of the first activities as a cooperative member was participating in a Field School of Household Economics, taught by experts from the Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology (Instituto Nicaraguense de Tecnología Agropecuaria INTA). During the training, she acquired the know-how in maize and bean cultivation. “I am putting into practice what I have learned”, says Perez showing maize grown on her half acre of land that she maintains with her son Janier, 21. “In addition to what we will sell on the market, we have 23 bushels of maize to keep for ourselves”, proudly affirms Perez. She contributes the increase in quality and quantity to the knowledge she acquired during local field schools.
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