Video by Freddy Germosen Jr., featuring Vicky Adelson, Cindy Chan, Dyesha Durm, Dominic Kalathivila, Renny Pacheco, Marisela Nunez, Shabia Rehmat, Derek Tao, and Jiayi (Claire) Zhong and the community of Independencia.
Project Background Information
The purpose of this trip is to provide students from NYIT exposure to social and cultural issues through community involvement and experiential learning at YMCA's Ecological Camp in Azpitia, Perú. The trip will focus on social and leadership development of the students through a practical service learning project that will benefit a local community and its residents.
The 8th goal of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) seeks to, ¨ensure environmental sustainability (WHO, 2010).¨ The MDG`s are all interrelated and will expectantly lead to better health. The goal coincides with one of the objectives of the YMCA Challenge 21 which states, "Defending God's creation against all that would destroy it and preserving and protecting the earth's resources for coming generations."
Effective use of water used for agricultural purposes, is one way that local communities, cities and countries can efficiently conserve water and ensure environmental sustainability. Driving forces to increase and promote water conservation include: the increasing global water scarcity and stress, the degradation of freshwater resources, population increases, and the related demand for food and fiber, along with the growing recognition of the resource value of wastewater and the nutrients it contains (WHO, 2006).
The efficient use of water in Azpitia is essential for cultivation of crops, the local economy and residents who reside in this town. An effective and sustainable water conservation project in Azpitia will promote environmental sustainability and can exist as a model community to other communities and regions throughout Perú.
Contributing factors that must be considered when planning a water conservation project at a local level include: health, economic feasibility, social impact and public perception, financial feasibility, environmental impact, market feasibility, institutional feasibility and technical feasibility (WHO, 2006). Water conservation can be effectively addressed in two ways: 1) engineering practices and 2) behavioral practices (EPA, 2010). Engineering practices at the industrial/commercial level include: water reuse and recycling, cooling water recirculation and landscape irrigation. Behavioral practices at the industrial/commercial level entail changing habits to attain more efficient use of water.
The need to implement a national water quality surveillance system to address the issue of water quality in Perú has been recognized (Perú, 1998). At a national level, Law 26410 established the National Environmental Board as the national regulatory and policy-making body in this area. The role of this board is to plan, coordinate and monitor activities that protect the environment along with the country's national resources (PAHO, 2001). Additionally, The National Water and Sanitation Authority, under the Ministry of the Presidency, exist to ensure the supply of drinking water services, sewerage, storm drainage and excreta disposal (PAHO, 2001).
Currently in Azpitia, there is a need for the effective use and conservation of water. However, due to the lack of resources, the current water system in this region has remained unchanged. The NYIT group will focus on engineering and/or behavioral practices by evaluating the plot of land in Azpitia and providing recommendations to improve water usage and conversation. The evaluation process may include quantitative and qualitative observations that will provide more effective strategies to monitor the use of water so that a sustainable approach can be implemented in this community.
Potential Benefit to Community
Purpose & Background
Today, countries throughout the world must face the changing agriculture food production and global economy. Perú is located in the central-western part of South America. The country is divided into three large natural regions: the coast, mountains and jungle. Each region of Perú cultivates distinctive crops. In the 1500's, the Incan empire cultivated crops such as tomatoes, potatoes, oca and pepper on the mountainside. Along the low-lands, corn and cotton were cultivated (Pisaasa Peru, 2010).
In 1997, the Congress of Perú approved a law (law 26839) to conserve the sustainable use of biological diversity and defined sustainability as, ¨preservation of the diversity of ecosystems, species and genes as well as maintaining essential ecological processes that depend on the species survival (E-law, 2004)¨ La Platforma de Intercambio, Dialogo y Asesoria en Agricultura Sostenible y Seguridad Alimentaria (PIDASSA PERU) is one organization in Perú that is working towards sustainable agriculture. PIDASSA seeks to create a general concept that takes into consideration: the basic principles of the economy, environment and the wellness of the community (Pisaasa Perú, 2010). The primary objective of agricultural sustainability is to obtain cost-effective agricultural products without the destruction of the environment or nature.
A prevalent problem in many parts of Perú is soil quality. Down the coast, the increase in salinization of soil has occurred as a result of improper use of water and deterioration of forests. Salinization is the process by which water-soluble salts accumulate in the soil and negatively impacts the growth of crops by interrupting the ability to take up water (USDA, 1998). In the mountains, deterioration of land is attributed to inappropriate farming practices and the destruction of productive soil on the mountain slopes (PAHO, 2001). The deterioration of soil in the jungle is due to clearing for new agriculture land (PAHO, 2001).
Revitalization of the native crops of Perú preserves the natural harvest and allows for the opportunity of native crops to be offered as exotic and nutritious products to the rest of the world. A project that focuses on ways to re-cultivate native crops in a small agricultural community like Azpitia would be agriculturally and economically beneficial to the local region and country. Possible projects by students from NYIT may include: process evaluation, diversification, integrated pest management, raised beds, crop rotation or community awareness and education.
An example of a process utilized by PIDASSA PERU involves the participation of men and women of the communities who work the land and farm. The participants assume responsibility for nature and create an environment, are economically efficient and work within reasonable long-term goals of retaining natural resources (Pisaasa Peru, 2010). One tool utilized by PIDASSA is an environmental health fair that markets the products from the farmers directly to the end consumer. The benefits of the environmental fair are to provide economic income, promote the awareness of healthy food and environmental care, offer native products in quality and quantity and offer a local and regional tourist attraction (Pisaasa Peru, 2010).
Potential Benefit to Community