At The Hunger Project, we believe that engaging community members with data is crucial to setting priorities and monitoring outcomes. In fact, community members actively participate in the entire process, from data collection to tracking the progress of local programs through our Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation system.
During the second half of 2016, The Hunger Project-Mexico used this community-led approach to explore the results of two studies conducted on nutrition and agriculture across the states of Oaxaca and Zacatecas. Cidecalli A.C., our technical partner organization for empowering communities to improve nutrition in Oaxaca, and MAE, our technical partner in Zacatecas, helped direct the studies and present the results.
In Oaxaca, a region in the southwestern region of Mexico, studies were conducted across four communities located in the Mazateca Mountains. Based on the data collected, community members learned valuable information about local agricultural habits for food consumption and commerce, native seeds and crops and the availability of medicinal plants.
In Zacatecas, located in central Mexico, a study was conducted in the community of Molina de Agua Zarca as part of a project to reforest the surrounding land. Community partners who attended the presentation learned about the agricultural potential of their soil, and were encouraged by the many possible ways to recover from drought and adapt to the effects of climate change. With this valuable information, community partners decided to expand the reforestation project and develop a more ambitious plan of soil reconstruction that would enhance agricultural productivity.
Manuel de Jesus Gutierrez Herrera, a community partner from Molina de Agua Zarca, said, “it was hard data but very revealing and it has made us aware of how urgently we must take action to save the land. Step by step, I understand more about this project and the results that can come out of it.”
By involving the local communities through data, The Hunger Project-Mexico was able to not just raise awareness, but provide our partners with the information needed to take charge of projects in their region and ensure they meet the needs of their community. In Zacatecas for example, the expanded reforestation project will encourage food sovereignty, protect the ecosystem and preserve cultural identity.