Santa Marta Farm Project – Faca, Colombia
We believe the Diocesan program in Faca is not only a social service for the poor, but a model for self-sustainability for our church, blending social needs with effective business models. To this end, the Diocese is supporting the mission of Saint Marta, the local church in Faca, in further developing their farming program.
Those living in poverty in Colombia represent approximately 46% of the overall population. Many living in poverty on the outskirts of Bogota are displaced. Colombia has one of the highest displacement rates in the world, second only to the Sudan. Displacement is typically attributed to natural disasters, armed conflicts, government policies, or human rights violations. While the government has made great strides in victim legislation and the reduction of armed conflict with paramilitary (guerrilla) groups, September to November 2011 was the wettest rainy season in 40 years with double the usual rainfall. Once displaced, victims are exposed to violence, rights abuses, and limited access to shelter, food, education, and health care.
The Diocesan farm in Faca provides needed jobs and opportunity, while providing income for the church and Diocese for the development of additional social programming for the poor. To support and enable expansion and further development of the farm, the Diocese is seeking financial assistance.
The Faca farm program will involve training in farming techniques, facilitated and led by
by the Rev. Javier Aldena. The training will be done by the municipal administration and the board of Actativa Accion Comunal to prepare poor parishioners to participate in this program. to support this site please parish located.
To further develop the farm, there is an urgent need to build three holding tanks for water, dig wells, and develop an irrigation system. This will enable us to use the fields and begin to grow vegetables for sale. The ground will require about fifty hours of tractor rental to remove dirt and cultivate the soil. It is projected this process will take approximately four months.
Eligibility for participation in the program involves having a little knowledge of farming, an interest in cultivation techniques, and demonstrated need. As already stipulated, the community is predominantly rural and uneducated, so knowing some techniques is necessary for successful land cultivation.
The farm has been in operation for a number or years and is ready for additional cultivation. To further develop the land, we will need to hire two workers, rent a tractor, and hire two additional farmers to prepare the land. The Vicar, the Rev. Javier Aldana, will be directly responsible for the project. He will work in collaboration with the Diocesan Treasurer for fund management. The Rev. Aldana will purchase materials and equipment as outlined in this proposal, rent the tractor, and hire the necessary labor. Funds will be reimbursed upon presentation and approval of contracts, invoices, and receipts by the Bishop.
In some ways, evaluation is measured by financial success. Quantitatively, we can and will track the number of people our program serves and the net financial results from the program for the community and the church. In addition, program staff will interview participants throughout the program to determine effectiveness of training techniques, how we might improve and continue to develop the program, and in what ways the farm has impacted the lives of the farmers and their families. This important aspect of evaluation will be conducted in a second phase of the project, once the farm is in full operation and agricultural production had begun.
While the program requires ownership of land, the training techniques and ideas for serving the poor can be effectively implemented elsewhere. Any number of businesses can provide education and opportunity that enable the poor to rise above their situation and live with dignity.
The Diocese has a Director of Communication, the Rev. Edgar Giraldo, who develops communication material for the Diocese and maintains the Diocesan website. Rev. Giraldo will be responsible for communicating information about the farm and its effectiveness. In addition the Diocese has a missionary, The Rev. Dr. Ted Gaiser, who is responsible for supporting mission program development. He will be kept informed about program development so that he can support overall program management, and will also be involved in the evaluation of the project. He will also develop documentation to support transferability and assist in communicating information about project effectiveness.
It is also important to note that the Diocese has placed an emphasis on social ministry and sustainability. At our last Diocesan Convention in May, 2012, we commissioned a new committee on development and sustainability that will take leadership in social ministry development, providing guidance and support to clergy and lay leaders in developing programs like the farm in Faca. The Diocesan missionary is currently working under the direction of the Bishop to develop training for clergy and lay leaders for program development, financial analysis, and program management.
|Vicar/Director (4 months)||1,600|
|Materials for Water Tanks||4,000|
|Materials for Land Irrigation||2,000|
|Tractor Rental (50 hrs)||4,400|
|Purchase of seed||500|
|Diocesan Contribution||$ 2,000|
|Net Total Project Request||$ 15,000|