FUEGOS - ECUADOR
FUEGOS (Food for Change) works in one of the most deprived parts of Ecuador to improve health outcomes, strengthen communities and sustain ecosystems by drawing on the wisdom of local culinary traditions.
Like many countries in Latin America, Ecuador has suffered a deterioration in dietary standards in recent decades, passing "from the consumption of diets high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, to consuming diets rich in fats, saturated fats and simple sugars", according to Ecuador's Ministry of Health. The results are increasing incidences of diseases like diabetes, cancers and heart problems. In addition, 61.4% of the population is overweight and obese.
In 2016, the Northern Manabí province suffered a devastating earthquake, and it has also been hit by the country's highest COVID fatality rates. 70% of the population live below the poverty line. However Manabi is an area with a traditional culture of family food gardens, called “eras”.
FUEGOS is the Fundación para los Emprendimientos Gastronómicos y las Oportunidades Sostenibles, or in English, Foundation for Culinary Enterprises and Sustainable Opportunities, and their slogan is 'Food for Change'.
FUEGOS draws on local culinary and agricultural practices, and builds community capability to grow and prepare food according to traditional methods. FUEGOS aims to promote healthy eating habits and responsible consumption, as well as encourage sustainable production practices, conserve biodiversity, and promote culinary entrepreneurship. They strive to stimulate local economies and contribute to social inclusion, and to strengthen the local population’s cultural identity by recovering the value of regional cuisine.
Susila Dharma Britain is delighted to support a project that places food in such a holistic context, embracing health, environment, culture and education. We supported FUEGOS in 2020 in establishing and strengthening family gardens embedded in the community, and in 2021 in providing the funding for a COVID-secure homestay project to enable students of the newly built culinary school to access training safely. The long term aims of the Homestay programme are to involve local families to house students while they train in the cooking school. The families gain an income, and the students share the fruits of the training with those local families, spreading the benefits of healthy cooking and eating within the wider community.