Poverty and hunger

Healthy forest, double harvest

For the Embera people on the Colombian Pacific coast, the forest is both a place to live and a food security back-up. Deforestation has put the indigenous people in a precarious position. Now they are reforesting, switching to agroecology and looking for other ways to ensure their survival in the long term.


Country, region:
Colombia, Rio Valle and Boroboro
February 2018 - December 2021 (project over)
141 families of the four Embera communities
Total project budget:
CHF 240,131


The aim of the project is to protect and support indigenous women and men in their natural habitat. Their food they rely on should improve in quality thanks to agroecological farming. With the introduction of chicken, their diet will become more varied and also richer in protein. The project is focusing in the first instance on women, helping them become actively involved in decision-making processes.

This project is co-financed by the SDC program contribution.

Project overview

Four Embera communities call the indigenous reserve on Colombia’s Pacific coast their home. They live from hunting and fishing, gathering wood and picking forest fruits. But the animals they hunt are retreating deeper and deeper into the forest, and in the rivers, fish are increasingly rare. To feed themselves, the Embera are forced to clear more and more forest areas and to plant fields. With traditional cultivation methods abandoned over time and much knowledge now lost, the yields they achieve are still small. And more and more forest is disappearing. It is a vicious circle.

Through agroforestry and organic farming, the indigenous women and men are improving their food situation for the long term and taking a stand against the destruction of natural resources in their area.

Reforestation and other options

The project in Bahía Solano will give indigenous women, men and children greater long-term food security and improve their chances of making a sustainable living. The following specific measures will be implemented:

  • 137 nutrient-rich agroforestry plots will be created, on which crops such as manioc, sugar cane, cocoa and avocado can grow alongside.
  • The smallholders will attend workshopes to learn about agroecological farming.
  • Four tree nurseries will be created for reforestation.
  • A sustainable chicken farm will provide indigenous families with a source of protein other than that of wild animals.
  • A press will be installed for the extraction of nutrient-rich sugar cane juice.
  • Efficient cookers will help to save wood.

Your donation changes lives

The farmer in Ecuador. The mother in Niger. The boy in Myanmar. The woman in Colombia. The family in Tanzania. The man in Chad. The girl in India. The father in Guinea-Bissau. The peasant woman in Nicaragua. Your donation will benefit them.

Break the vicious circle

With these measures, the Embera communities will make a stand against the destruction of natural resources. By adopting agroforestry and organic farming principles, they will create sustainable farming systems and thus improve their food situation in the long term. Their harvest yields can be doubled, so as to meet the families’ own needs – with the chickens, their diet will become richer in protein. What is more, by selling part of their harvest and some chickens and eggs, the families will finally be able to earn extra income. The riverbanks will be reforested and more fish will spawn among the mangroves. The vicious circle will be broken and will be replaced by a cycle that protects the forest sustainably as a place for indigenous people to live.