Young women promote agro-ecological initiative
This social project is part of the Dream LAB, an initiative promoted by UNICEF and UNDP that puts youth at the center of solutions in their communities.
The labor exclusion of the elderly in Puembo, a community close to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and the environmental pollution caused by the excessive generation of waste were the two principal motivations of Karol, Cristina, and Melanie, three young girls, who decided to create "Llacta garden" a social project that aims to generate an extra income for elderly people and reduce the community's domestic organic waste, through the reuse of it as organic fertilizers in the agro-ecological garden.
Llacta Huerto is one of the winning projects of the Dream LAB, an initiative of UNICEF and UNDP in Ecuador, aimed at adolescents and young people who seek to build safe, inclusive, and resilient neighborhoods and communities.
During the first stage of Dream Lab, 91 adolescents and young people between the ages of 15 and 24 received more than 60 hours of training in life skills, problem identification and project ideation, prototyping sessions, storytelling and mentoring by a group of volunteers from Global Shapers Quito and Codeis.
In these training sessions, Karol, Cristina and Melanie have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out their initiative. So far, Llacta Huerto has called 30 elderly people who receive training in agriculture and environmental awareness to establish gardens in their homes and later be able to sell their organic products in local stores and in the markets of various parishes in Quito.
"With Llacta Huerto we are generating a comprehensive solution that not only includes the labor inclusion of older people in Puembo but also promotes an environmental commitment to take advantage of organic household waste and convert it into compost and organic fertilizer for the garden," Karol said.
The products are then sold in the Tumbaco market, which allows them to generate income. “With the sale of organic products, we are generating work and in turn we are learning from the knowledge and experience of the elderly population that participates in the project. This learning is reflected in the 100% organic products that are produced in the garden”, Cristina explained.
“I am a builder, but when I was little I worked in the fields and learned a lot about agriculture. At 69 years old, I have returned to cultivating the land because there is no more work in construction. I know the land and the grains that grow here, so I have been able to contribute my knowledge to this project,” Alberto Simbaña said from his garden in Puembo.
This social project has also brought together young people and older adults to work together towards the same result. "We have loved working with the elderly in our community, they are full of wisdom and we share the same entrepreneurial spirit regardless of age," Karol concluded.
LABoratorio de Sueños is an initiative promoted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with the collaboration of the Quito Economic Promotion Agency (ConQuito) and the Youth Assembly for Sustainability (Tandari).