08 Dec AFSE Department Successfully Launched!
The Happy Villages Agriculture, Food Security and Environment (AFSE) Department was successfully established in May 2011. Over the course of seven months Happy Villages met with the local people in Lieta to learn more about the area before then implementing a number of exciting projects with the goal of achieving better food security levels and conservation of the environment in Lieta.
The process of meeting with farmers and community members, to find out their thoughts on agriculture, food security and environment conservation, began in May. In total, over 3,000 farmers and community members were reached across the Lieta community.
In June, there was an election amongst the villages to elect representatives who would represent the interests of farmers in Lieta sub locations at Happy Villages meetings. The result was 8 village representatives elected.
July also saw the election of executive committee and subcommittee members of the AFSE committee and a program of training established for these elected committee members.
August was a very busy month with the constitution / by-laws being drafted to guide the committee activities and enable the committee to become more strategic. Task forces were formed to work on different sections of the constitution. In addition, more extensive training was carried out with committee members and local stakeholders and further research / fact finding initiatives carried out with the Ministry of Health and local social services on the issues in the community.
From September to December the Lieta community strategic plan was drafted with the involvement of AFSE committee members and was distributed to the wider community for further comments. Seminars on behaviour change to agriculture were held and the AFSE committee members and Lieta Community met together to discuss the proposed strategic plan. Over the final months of the year, further training and capacity building was carried out and the committee continued to raise awareness of behaviour change amongst the wider community.
Throughout this process a number of challenges were met, including resistance to change. However, there have been many opportunities identified for Happy Villages to partner with local organisations to widen the horizon and grow the program. The community are keen to work together with Happy Villages to build a sustainable future.