Nicaragua: Food security and women’s rights

Alma Nidia Martinez believes in the power of women – and of change. Photo: LWF Central America
Alma Nidia Martinez believes in the power of women – and of change. Photo: LWF Central America

“Taking measures to adapt and survive”

VILLANUEVA, Nicaragua/ GENEVA, 28 July 2015 (LWI) – Alma Nidia Martinez starts her day at five o’clock in the morning. That’s when she starts housework, cares for her three children, and tends to her small store and animals, such as hens and ducks. Amongst all her activities she makes time to visit friends and family members, and to give speeches about women’s rights in the community.

The 53-year-old farmer, trader, and single mother is a leader of the San Ramon community in the municipality of Villanueva, Chinandega province of Nicaragua. Together with a group of people she was trained in the food sovereignty and food security promotion project in the municipalities of Somotillo and Villanueva.  The Association for Eco-Sustainable Development (ADEES) has implemented this project with the support of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

“The Earth is a blessing”

Like everyone in the community, Martinez struggles to get by. She works the land to grow healthy food for her family and generate income by selling extra crops in the local market or from home. She is, however, very aware of the delicate balance her food supply hangs in.

“To me the Earth is a blessing,” she says. “By planting seeds and watching them grow, by caring for the plants, giving them the right nutrients, and above all love, we can produce our food and be in harmony with the environment.

“It is more difficult now than it used to be because with climate change, pests turn up unexpectedly. This means we have to be very watchful of the crops and take necessary measures to adapt and survive,” she adds.

Thanks to ADEES' coordination with the Miriam Association, also a local partner and one that focuses on women’s rights, empowerment and education, Martinez has been trained on gender issues. "I have participated in many workshops and I feel that they have changed my life,” she says. “It is clear to me that when we know our rights and duties, we can make a difference and define a place where we can live with dignity.”

Share the knowledge

She feels that it is now her responsibility to share this knowledge with others. “I have recognition certificates, which motivates me. My children say they are proud of me because I go to workshops to learn more. People are changing their minds little by little,” she observes.

The greatest encouragement recently came from her son. “He said: 'Mama, look at how the times have changed. Before, when my friends saw me washing clothes, cooking, and cleaning the house as you would have me do, they would say that I was not a man. I now tell them that helping women with household chores doesn't make you less of a man’,” she relates.

 

Contribution by LWF Central America, edited by LWF Communications.

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