Diakonia - People change the world
Woman milking a cow Margarita Huamaní and her family have been hit hard by climate change. They have to find new ways of coping with everyday life.

"We have to adapt"

"It's warmer now and the sun is burning stronger. Rainy periods are unreliable, it's becoming more difficult to grow things and there's hardly any water. But we're adapting as best we can by using new methods," says Margarita Huamaní, who lives in the village of Chaquicoccha, Peru.

It's morning and milking time. Margarita takes her bucket and puts the stool down beside the cow, with her little calf beside her. She pats it and talks to it soothingly. After a while the bucket is full, and Margarita walks up to the house. A few hours later she offers us freshly made cheese.
Margarita's husband, Eugenio Callahua, was born in Chaquicoccha.
"Living in town is not for me. I was born to live in the countryside, to farm the land," says Eugenio, showing his hands covered with soil from the morning's work.

New ways of working

The situation for farmers has been made more difficult. Climate change has forced them to adapt and look for new, intelligent solutions.
"Everything is more uncertain now, but we're finding new ways of working," Eugenio says.

Together with Margarita, he started planting trees to protect their crops from the frost, which is now becoming more erratic. After a while, they got in touch with Diakonia's partner organization Huñuq Mayu, who came up with ideas on how to save water and then channel it.

The organization also helped install water sprinklers to prevent the crops from dying when drought suddenly strikes.
"People in the village already had plenty of knowledge, but we've supported them by providing materials and equipment for more sustainable farming," says Alberto Chacchi Meneses, agricultural engineer at Huñuq Mayu.

More reliable crops

Everyone in the village now is working collectively to improve the possibilities for growing crops and to adapt to new systems.
"We've made great strides in how we save our water and use it to grow organic vegetables," Eugenio says. "This makes our crops more reliable. Before, we never knew how much we would get. We were dependent on the whims of the weather."

Eugenio, a farmer in the Andean mountains

Selling at market

Previously, the inhabitants of the village only grew crops to feed themselves. With the help of the water systems, their crops are now more reliable and they can therefore sell their products on the market.
"We now have 150 sorts of potatoes," Eugenio says proudly, cutting up a potato that is completely purple inside.

Protection against wind and rain

They have also received help in building greenhouses that protect the crops from the wind and rain.
"Everything we grow is organic. Many people use a lot of chemicals now that climate change is making crop growth less stable. They get bigger harvests like that, but I only use natural compost – it's much better and more sustainable for everyone," Eugenio concludes.

The glaciers are melting

The Andes in Peru are home to the world's largest tropical glaciers. The glaciers are important freshwater reservoirs that provide water to the entire region during dry periods.

Over the past 10 years, about 90 percent of the glaciers have melted due to the increase in temperature. The water shortage is critical.
The weather has changed to become more extreme. Dry periods are longer and rainy periods are unreliable. Sometimes, it suddenly turns cold, and hail storms destroy the harvests.

In the small village of Chaquicoccha where Eugenio and Margarita live, Diakonia's partner organization Huñuq Mayu is working to find new, intelligent ways to grow crops. These include taking advantage of rainwater, using artificial irrigation and protecting the crops in different ways, for example with bushes and greenhouses.