For more than 25 years, Fintrac has specialized in agricultural development, leading farmers out of poverty and into more food secure livelihoods. Agriculture, the engine of economic growth that can transform lives, cannot sustain itself or progress without healthy households. In the countries where we work, health issues can create additional barriers for farmers and their families to reach their full potential. Poor health decreases work productivity, creates financial constraints, and raises the poverty threshold. We integrate health activities into our programs to ensure our clients are as successful as they can be.
Linking Health to Agriculture
We place health specialists alongside our expert agronomists to deliver behavior change health messages in combination with technical assistance on good agricultural practices. Our health and nutrition managers collaborate with field technicians on a daily basis, working together so client farmers learn about the importance of drip irrigation and raised beds, as well as water quality and hygiene. Diversified and increased production not only provides a higher quality diet for our client farmers, but also boosts income that is often spent on health services. In addition to linking health messages with technical assistance, Fintrac partners with community-based health organizations that have long-standing relationships with the vulnerable communities we serve.
In Tanzania, under USAID-TAPP, our health experts and agronomists worked hand-in-hand to guide farmers on both the health benefits and good agricultural practices associated with crops such as orange-flesh sweet potato. We collaborated with local partners to grow and distribute clean vines of this vitamin A-rich crop to client farmers along with providing training on proper planting and harvesting. This helped thousands of families develop thriving home gardens that boost health and income.
Improving Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (WASH)
Many smallholders in communities where Fintrac works have limited access to clean water and basic sanitation, making them vulnerable to illness and disease. As part of our integrated methodology, we incorporate WASH activities into our agricultural programs to prevent water-borne disease and improve overall health. We help local partners and communities construct hand washing stations and latrines, strengthen the capacity of community water boards, and implement solid waste management practices. Fintrac also incorporates on-farm natural resource management activities to maintain healthy soils, prevent contamination, and conserve water.
In Honduras, Fintrac works at the community level to improve the water supply. After introducing simple and inexpensive chlorine tablets, communities are reporting zero traces of harmful bacteria within two to three months. Local health centers are now seeing significant decreases in cases of diarrhea and other water-related illnesses.
In Nepal, Fintrac promoted the construction of low-cost latrines and improved drains for wastewater management. The trainings were so successful that thousands of non-clients voluntarily constructed their own latrines. Household access to toilets increased by 40 percent.
Our agricultural projects integrate prevention and treatment education for diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. We link local health organizations to farmers, building their capacity and client base. We also work with commercial farms – from producers to processors – to advocate for the adoption of policies that help minimize the possibility of infection and ensure a healthy and supportive work environment. As part of our focus on engaging youth and improving nutrition, Fintrac helps build and maintain school gardens for orphans and vulnerable children. In Ethiopia and Tanzania alone, we have reached more than 125,000 people through HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.