Garianah and Lebucaileti are two small villages high in the mountains of northwest Timor-Leste. Most families in these villages have two homes. One “house”, which is more of a shack, is near the family fields outside of the village. It is where they live during corn-growing season from December to May. The other house is the village and is used during the months when families are not cultivating their corn. Yet, when families are staying in the village, their access to fresh vegetables is difficult because there is no tradition of home gardening. CWS team members were interested to learn that many families do not plant vegetables near their village houses because they fear the water needed to grow vegetables will use up their scarce water for cooking, bathing and house cleaning. To address this issue CWS staff started, as all good community mobilizers with new ideas do with information-sharing and encouragement. “To start, people were reminded that, during dry season, they can use grey (used) water from other household activities to water their vegetables”, explains Victor Maria Lopes Granadero, a Timor Zero Hunger project field officer.
And, while Timor Zero Hunger activities are aimed to help the poorest of village families, Victor notes that many others are joining. Many neighbors have been paying attention to the home gardens and have started building their own. “They see the benefit of having a small garden closer to home. And, some project participants have even shared their seeds with neighbors so more people can diversify their crops. I am happy our information is reaching into the neighborhoods because malnutrition is a big issue that affects most families in this area. I am most happy every time I see young children eating vegetables from their home gardens. I know CWS work is making a difference in their lives, and I am happy to be a part of that”, Victor concludes.
CWS just welcomed 50 new families to the Timor Zero Hunger project. By offering these families more learning experiences and continuing to share information, CWS hopes to make living a healthier life more possible. During the coming months, staff will begin info-sharing and skill development sessions about diversified home gardening and best practice chicken raising.
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