Save the Date! Join us November 8th for our annual Brunch & Auction

Looking Back & Moving Forward...

Last month we announced the recent launch of our brand new website, the last step in our amalgamation process. Now that our amalgamation is completed, we are excited about what is to come, like this year's 20th Annual Brunch & Auction. Our theme this year is "Looking Back and Moving Forward," and we would love to see you all there!

Thank you always,
Katie Daly

20th Annual Brunch & Auction

Save the Date! Our annual Brunch & Auction fundraising event is quickly approaching! Join us on November 8th for an afternoon of music, food, drinks, and our always exciting silent and live auctions. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Please visit the Event page of our website to find out more and purchase your tickets.

From the Field: Drought Update!

Each time our Casa-Pueblito staff visits our partners in rural communities in Nicaragua, we are left disturbed and worried at the situation of food insecurity and the lack of rain and drinking water that is becoming more and more serious as the months go by. “How’s it going Doña Eloisa?” I ask a community leader who forms part of the Gloria Quintanilla Women’s Cooperative as I make a visit with an investigative researcher. “Well, here without food and without rain, as usual”, she said. The sharpness of her words shocked me. What was once instance of a drought has now become a constant, seemingly chronic situation of food shortages.
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At the Gloria Quintanilla Women’s Cooperative in the community of Santa Julia, a little hamlet outside the town in El Crucero in the highlands of Managua, a location that is usually rainy and moist, the community has faced a severe drought that has affected the yearly crop growth of the local peasant farmers for two years straight. Last year, we were shocked by the testimonies of community members as they told us about food insecurity brought on by the drought. Santa Julia residents have been losing their crops and are unable to harvest their produce. This has resulted in no food to sell on the market or for self consumption. While startled by this news, food insecurity due to climate change has become a norm and reality across Central America, as the once tropical wet corridor is at risk of facing regular drought-like weather patterns. 

In the past three years, Central America has been experiencing a severe drought that has affected the livelihoods and food security of millions of rural peasant farmers in the region. In 2014, the UN warned that the current drought crisis in Central America has pushed over 2.5 million people in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua into severe food insecurity; a full 80% of farmers in the worst hit areas of El Salvador have report losing all their crops in December 2014, while 75% of maize and bean crops in Honduras and Guatemala have failed. This year, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network are warning the poorest areas of Central America are at risk of food insecurity due to the loss of basic grains and crops with the lack of rain water. El Salvador alone has reported 100 million dollars worth of crop losses in 2015 alone.
Agricultural specialists in the region identified the drought as resulting from the El Niño phenomenon, which brought warm air from the ocean to the main land during the rainy seasons, essentially creating dry weather in a tropic environment. While El Niño is normal during the dry season, this phenomenon has prolonged into the wet seasons due to climate change, with the warming of the Pacific Ocean temperatures affecting the amount of moist cloud cover that usually brings rain to the region.
The current drought crisis that has hit the region has occurred due to climate change and the warming temperatures being caused by fossil fuel emissions, and air and water pollution that originated from developed countries during industrialization and the current neoliberal era. The impacts of fossil fuel emissions are disproportionally felt by populations in the Global South, who have not been responsible for economic activity that has brought on climate change, and who have had to bear the brunt of exploitation and resource extraction in the global market economy. 

In October 2014 and March 2015, Casa-Pueblito delivered emergency seeds for agricultural production and food aid relief to the community of Santa Julia due to the severity of the food crisis, thanks to the generous and well needed collaboration of various long term allies and donors. Many families went hungry, and in some testimonials, community members reported boiling flowers in order to make soup for their families. Female community leaders spent days without eating in order to allow other family members to eat, all while being involved in political meetings and organizing the community to seek solutions to the food crisis.
This year, the situation continues to be dire. It has barely rained in Nicaragua, and Santa Julia has gone almost a month without rain. The community has lost their first round of harvest, and are about to lose their second round of harvest because of a lack of rain water. Rains are set to come only until October, which means that they will probably lose their second round. Up to 80% of the community is unemployed, and unable to grow food, and without access to employment in El Crucero. Some community members have opted to go work in construction in Managua and Cuidad Sandino.
While this news is drastic, it laments Casa - Pueblito to inform our readers that the situation is being repeated in various communities. In Chinandega, one of the hottest places in Nicaragua, our community partners in Jiñcuao reported that rains have been scarcer than the years before, with rivers drying up and agricultural production at historic lows. Don Julio, a community leader in the village, noted that residents are extremely worried, as some livestock have been dying because of the shortage of available food. It is expected that residents in Jiñcuao are going through the same type of situation as community members in Santa Julia.

In Granada, the communities who work under the UCA Tierra Y Agua union of cooperatives have also reported low agricultural production. Passing by the La Granadilla cooperative, our staff noted the weak state of the beans, which have not grown to the extent that they should have grown by this time of the year. Community members La Granadilla are worried and reported that they will not produce the usual amount of food required for the year. In Esteli and Nueva Segovia, Northern departments of Nicaragua, basic grain growth has been weak, and the communities of Ocotal and Mozonte have reported that they are also in emergency situations.
While the Salvadorian, Guatemalan, and Honduran governments have provided statistical data on the amount of agricultural produce lost, and have provided information on the types of food aid and emergency seeds that have been delivered to affected areas, the Nicaraguan government has not released data or an emergency plan for the drought. Data on the current drought crisis has been largely collected and released by civil society organizations, such as the National Union of Agricultural and Livestock Producers (UNAG), which have reported that ten departments in the country had practically no production of basic grains during the first harvest season.
In the face of emergencies being brought on by climate change, our communities have been seeking methods to become resilient to the drought. Community leaders that Casa - Pueblito work with have mentioned that they would like to focus their future projects with Casa - Pueblito on transitioning their communities to alternative farming methods, and do not rely on artificial fertilizers or pesticides. Traditional farming methods, which use artificial fertilizers and pesticides, are weak during the drought. Community members are planning to transfer from traditional farming to alternative farming methods, such as agro-ecological farming, which combines indigenous knowledge of the land with ancient techniques of farming that use little water and organically made compost to plant resilient crops. These techniques use the natural benefits of certain plants, trees, and seeds to create natural pesticides and fertilizers. 

Climate change is a form of structural violence, as it originates from the economic activities of developed countries and has no direct violent intention on a certain population. However, they have material implications on the populations and communities that have had nothing to do with the types of global fossil fuel emissions and pollution that brought on current climate crisis in the first place. In fact, it is on the backs and at the expense of these populations that industrialized countries developed their wealth in the first place. Cheap labour, raw materials, and lands in Central America were made available for exploitation and consumption by European and North America elites through centuries of colonization and neo-colonization from 1492 to the current neoliberal era. Climate change is a “slow violence”, as noted by Rob Nixon, where populations in the global south suffer the implications of a global market economy through violent environmental processes that include droughts and natural catastrophes that are rendered unimportant and are under reported, with no one being held accountable for these disasters.
In the face of these climate impacts, local communities continue to work to become resilient and survive despite the odds and many forms of violence they face. They continue to self organize and propose alternative ways of structuring our societies based on social justice and solidarity. As residents in North America, we have a responsibility and obligation to communities who have been impacted by climate change that originated in the economic actions of the Global North. It is our historic responsibility to be accountable to communities impacted by climate change, and that includes radically changing the societies that we live in today.  


Fall 2015 Internship Positions

Visit our website to learn more about our new volunteer internship positions for this fall! We are currently hiring for the following positions:
  • Grant Writing Intern
  • Fundraising Research Intern
  • Event Sponsorship Intern
  • Youth Outreach Intern
If you are interested in applying, please check out the Volunteer page of our website for more details on how to apply. We're looking for passionate and dedicated individuals to join our team!
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