February 7, 2024
By Jacqueline Tucci
In Cuba, a program to create disaster management preparedness and resilience, including improved diets, reduced food scarcity, and increased economic independence for families living in low-income and rural communities across the country, has been renewed for a new phase. PWRDF has partnered with the Episcopal Church of Cuba (ECC) for over 10 years, working within the country on the Integral Development Program (PDM). The PDM – which was renewed in August 2023 – also focuses on empowering women, mothers and their children. PWRDF is supporting this year-long program phase with $39,440.
PDM activities include the design and implementation of climate-resilience projects focused on disaster risk mitigation, as well as community development projects to promote and support education, proper nutrition and good water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices. The program also aims to support 8,200 people – including 5,430 women – across 50 Cuban communities, through action in the areas of food security, economic empowerment, water and sanitation and disaster risk management.
Long-standing and massive sanctions placed on Cuba by the United States decades ago, as well as more recent restrictions, have left Cuba with limited financial resources and access to trade, with devastating consequences on the country’s supply of food, medicines and medical supplies and other essential resources. Further, natural disasters like Hurricane Irma and COVID-19 further decimated the already-limited resources within communities.
Through the PDM, community members are trained in money saving and other best practices for financial security, good agriculture practices, animal husbandry and food conservation, while some individuals will also be trained to become leaders in these initiatives to promote sustainability for years to come. Programs and projects are led primarily by project participants of previous years. The ECC and the PDM operate on the belief that transformative social change and self-sufficiency are possible when communities lead, and the effectiveness of this approach has been proven time and time again.
As the COVID-19 pandemic reached Cuba – like much of the rest of the world – in 2020, PDM project participants, trained in disaster mitigation and resilience, were ready to respond. Local Community Promoters carried out activities to support communities, with special care given to the most vulnerable community members. Within days, thousands of COVID-19 related information materials were produced and distributed in schools, churches and other community spaces. Community members also donated fabric and came together to create cloth masks, with an aim to reduce the spread of the virus.
This new program phase will build upon best practices and lessons learned during previous phases, seeking to further engage local communities, responding to their needs as they identify them. This phase is the latest in a strong and long-standing partnership between the ECC and PWRDF.
To learn more, watch a recording of Dr. José Bringas addressing PWRDF’s AGM in 2023
Skip to 1:18:00 for Dr. Bringas’ presentation