HOTLINE - week of July 26, 2010

CWS Indonesia staff learn new farming and conservation techniques, Community in arid western Kenya gains new water sources, CWS School Kits and Emergency Clean-up Buckets needed

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People learning new techniques for rice cultivation
Indonesia—Workshop participants learn new techniques for rice cultivation.
Photo:  CWS


Sodotonafo Waruwu, a CWS Indonesia staffperson from Nias, North Sumatra, was impressed with recent training in permaculture and sustainable agriculture. “I gained so much knowledge and experience,” he explains.  

Permaculture is an approach that enables people and communities to grow their own food while working with nature and local culture to achieve environmental and nature conservation.

"I believe that when permaculture is applied in the community, there will be many positive outcomes--especially increased knowledge on sustainable agriculture and an increase in the community's income.  The community will be able to maximize the use of vacant land on farming. This will increase the nutritional status especially of children, not to mention the benefit for land and nature conservation," says Waruwu.  

The CWS Indonesia-sponsored Permaculture and Sustainable Agriculture training was facilitated by IDEP Foundation, an Indonesian non-government organization addressing the urgent need for sustainable food production, resource management, and environmental education for sustainable living.

Participants in the training learned about nature patterns and permaculture design, organic farming, soil contours, water filtering, wash water treatment and wash water gardening, household waste management, soil management and rehabilitation, rice planting, types of and ingredients for compost making, technology in integrated pest eradication, and forest conservation.

Blasius Halek, CWS Indonesia staffer from the So'e, Timor Tengah Selatan office, points out: "Conventional farming uses chemical pesticides and fertilizer, which are very damaging to the environment and people's health. But the permaculture approach recovers the damage that has been done. CWS has implemented organic farming techniques such as using organic fertilizer and pesticides, and soil and water conservation. This training will strengthen our efforts and increase our knowledge, as well as provide a strong motivation for the program activities in the field."


Some 3,800 people--about 475 households--in Kapchemogen community, in the arid West Pokot district, are taking part in a project of CWS partner Yang’at to access reliable sources of water for household and livestock use.  

To this point, the people of Kapchemogen have gotten water from a seasonal river some 6.5 miles away--a six-hour roundtrip for the women and girls whose job it is to fetch water.  During the dry season, men have had to move their animals in search of water and pasture.

Conflicts have often arisen between the women and children struggling to get water for household use and men trying to get water for their animals.  The overuse of water sources has led to environmental degradation.  In addition, the community has had no sanitation facilities, so waterborne illness like diarrhea have been very common--especially among children, women and older people.

In response, CWS is constructing a sand dam, rain water harvesting tanks and sanitation facilities that are sustainable, environmentally friendly, and culturally appropriate to the communities.  CWS is also promoting a peaceful coexistence between pastoral communities that share common water sources, organizing peace building meetings, and training the communities on environmental conservation. Water management committees are being trained and caretakers are learning how to operate and maintain the water systems for sustainable ownership.

Through the project, community members are becoming aware of water issues and gaining leadership skills and good hygiene and sanitation practices.  Women are becoming more empowered, and are engaging in economic activities like basket and ointment making, which are increasing their incomes.  Girls’ education is being given priority, and, with readier access to water sources, they are attending school in greater numbers.

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Kits needed

CWS School Kits and Emergency Clean-up Buckets are urgently needed. You can help.  Here's a special bulletin insert to use in getting your congregation involved.

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