Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2019. 1:43 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) has concluded a GEF Small Grants Program aimed at Combatting Climate Change in the Vaca Forest Reserve by building the capability and instituting demonstration models among members of the Friends of the Vaca Forest Reserve.
An end-of-project internal evaluation has revealed that ten (10) adaptation strategies were learned and are now being implemented by farmers in the Vaca Plateau, including drip irrigation, cover structures, reforestation, and farm planning. Based on these results, the attainment of the goal was rated as satisfactory.
The study also shows that farmers are expanding their efforts such as Carlos Serrano who have increased the number of beehives and the Arenal women’s group who have taught other family members how to produce soap and detergents.
From the farmers’ perspective, the project provided necessary skills and resources at a scale which now allows them to generate some revenues that can be used to sustain the investments. For example, the production of high- quality honey allows for increased revenue for families, especially as there is market availability.
The project evaluator, Ansel Dubon further notes that Vaca farmers are now better positioned to adapt to climate change and recognize the interconnection of healthy natural resources and secured livelihoods in the face of climate change.
However, Dubon cautions that whilst the adaptation capacity of the farmers has improved, the long-term integrity of the resources in the Vaca Forest Reserve is not guaranteed due to the changing dynamics, especially governance.
The project has demonstrated that with limited funds, it is possible to build the resilience of communities and serves as a good example of what small, but strategic, investments by the GEF SGP can do in assisting communities in adapting to climate change, with specific attention being given to the positive impacts on women, children and elderly.
Overall, the consultant affirms that the project can serve as a model project for other landscapes across Belize.
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