The program was established in response to the 2002 drought, when almost 95% of the crops in the area were lost. World Vision Honduras and the World Food Program teamed up to help families who would have otherwise suffered from famine and migrated to the city of Tegucigalpa, or the neighbouring country of El Salvador.
The program focused on drought mitigation projects such as water harvests, natural retention walls, construction of a concrete dyke, and planting of family gardens.
Lucio Gonzales, 99, from La Picota, Trapiche said: "I wanted to go help build the retention wall, but I am too old. I was afraid for my family, but the project said that my wife Isidra Alvarez Rivera (65) could work and receive food for the family."
"The food from the ADP will allow my husband to turn 100 years old this year," said Isidra Alvarez." It also brought back my son from the city, because when he found out about the project, he decided to come back and help us work."
"The project was like a blessing sent from God, because people had run out of food. Everywhere we went we found that the stoves had not been lit and people only had water. I know many animals died due to lack of food," said Pedro Jacinto Cárcamo, Liaison farmer for Project Trapiche. "These walls that we built, not only kept the water in place, but also kept us in place, avoiding the need to risk our lives in the city."
Unlike other food-for-work projects executed in the past, the focus of this project was drought mitigation. "The problem with food-for-work programs has been that there were no organised prevention strategies accomplished. People usually concentrated on rebuilding roads, or clearing fields, but these efforts were lost once the rain started," said Carlos Ponce, Emergency Relief Coordinator for World Vision Honduras. "The focus of this project was mitigation, which ties in very well with the other food security strategies that the projects are putting in to practice. We want to focus on food security in this area, and have all the project interventions pointing in the same direction, that way we can have impact," he added.
The project completed 18 water retention walls in a natural reservoir covering 15,199 cubic meters, one man-made water retention project with capacity for 90,000 gallons of water, 71 family gardens and 17 home storage water tanks with a capacity to hold 10,000 gallons. The World Food Program donated 603 tons of food valued at almost USD$ 200,000, and World Vision US provided USD$75,000 to complement the effort. The project began September 2, 2002 and ended February 3rd, 2003. The program was such a success that World Vision Honduras is working on a document that will collect the methodology, lessons learned, and best practices to share with the Partnership and other NGOs.