In the 2015 issue of the Grassroots Development journal, we explore perspectives on the notion of sustainable development when circumstances change and how Latin American communities come together to confront new challenges.
“Módulos Lecheros: An Idea that Survived the Shining Path”
Prior to a national economic crisis and violent political insurgency that destroyed milk production in Peru’s Mantaro Valley, IAF grantee partner Instituto Veterinario de Investigaciones Tropicales y de Altura (IVITA) worked in rural Andean communities to develop a simpler, experimental approach to the production process. This article details how the younger generation in five campesino communities revived this way of life once the political and economic context improved due in part to the skills their parents had passed on from IVITA’s professionals.
“All in a Day’s Work”
IAF staff, contractors and grantees have had to negotiate precarious situations perpetrated by regimes, insurgencies and, recently, criminals. Here we feature Carlos Lingan, a certified public accountant and dean of the IAF’s corps of auditors, who has been on the job for more than 30 years and conducted audits during the days of the Shining Path.
“The Weavers of San Isidro”
This article traces the origins of a set of shimmering weavings that former IAF president Deborah Szekely purchased more than three decades before from Colombia’s Museum of Folk Arts and Traditions, an IAF grantee that advised artisans and helped them get better prices by improving their crafts and marketing. The weavings show the community of San Isidro’s identity and a desire to leave behind a history of adversity to work toward a more peaceful future.
“Challenging the King of the Reef”
Invasive lionfish threaten the diversity of ecosystems in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Mexico, and IAF grantee partners featured in this article have been working to reduce their numbers by generating demand for this seafood and creating incentives for fishers to catch more of them.
“Poets, Clowns and Paperwork: Negotiating a Culture of Bureaucracy in Brazil”
Unpredictable and precarious events in daily life — including gun fights, floods and a lack of electricity — create challenges for poor communities throughout Brazil. This article describes how the Brazilian government-funded Pontos de Cultura cultural initiative has flourished despite these hurdles due to the close relationships between the artists and bureaucrats that generates learning in both the state and society.
“Seeds of Struggle in Colombia”
Here we examine seed sovereignty and the right to use and reproduce seeds, a concept that has pitted Colombian farmers in Cañamomo and Lomaprieta against the biotechnology industry in a struggle that has intensified since 2012.
“Rede Ecovida and Beyond”
In an effort to reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, farmers in IAF-funded organizations are turning to agroecology, a system of practices directed at benefiting production, the environment and the consumer. In this article, we look at IAF grantee partner Rede Ecovida has led the movement in Brazil toward a more responsible way of farming focused on family-based production and works to ensure there is a sufficient quantity of diverse and consistently high-quality produce throughout the year.
“Bill Dyal: Gracious Goodness and a Life Well Lived”
In this article, we celebrate the lasting legacy of founding IAF president Bill Dyal whose leadership insisted that the organization be committed to social justice, responsive to the ideas of the organized poor and cornered on the conviction that they, in fact, “know how.”