In the protagonists’ own words. The case of Ecuador (systemization of project experiences)
Some six years ago, the New Zealand Aid Programme approached the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean with a view to developing its co-operation programme in the region. Common topics and interests immediately arose, and these were harnessed to formulate and implement the FORSANDINO project. The project was designed to work with a relatively small budget, and in fact easily succeeded in doing so.
The evaluation of the project’s impact, in which the participant population is compared with a control group, shows that 80% of the families involved consider that their food is good or very good, compared to 55% in the control group. This is confirmed, among other things, by the fact that the value of food consumption by participant families is 39% higher than the control group. Moreover, by the end of the project, the per capita family income of participating families was 48% higher than that of the control group. These quantitative indicators are supported by greater participation by community members in various public mechanisms, and the establishment of a council of agricultural traditional experts “Chacareros Council”, legally recognized by the Council for the Development of the Nations and Peoples of Ecuador (Consejo de Desarrollo de las Naciones y Pueblos del Ecuador), as an organization with full legal rights.
This document provides a detailed description of the project’s approach in terms of articulation with other government initiatives and programmes, its participatory processes and holistic development vision, competitive events, emphasis on strategic planning and capacity building, and total respect for local dynamics and worldviews. It is complemented by publications on three successful practices for successful policies in Ecuador, similar documents on the experience in Peru, a book on traditional high-Andean gastronomy, and a CD containing all of the tools generated by the project.
The current situation on food markets, which nowadays are closely linked to the energy and financial markets, calls for a review of existing models of agricultural production, manufacturing, trade and consumption. The systemization of the FORSANDINO project aims to share lessons learned during four years of work, to be used in programmes and policies to improve the well-being of high-Andean communities. It is also hoped to contribute to the design of new rural development models, which are more sustainable through time and more inclusive, while recognizing that there is still much to learn from indigenous systems.
Senior Policy Officer/Lead Technical Officer of the Project
FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean