What does the FIDA-Sur project mean to rural communities?

Sofía Tenorio Fenton
In 2010, an IFAD project that aimed to improve the living conditions of poor people in forested areas of the southern and southeastern parts of Mexico was created - the Community-Based Forestry Development Project, also known as FIDA-Sur.
Working with the Mexican Government and managed by the National Forestry Commission, the IFAD project focuses on forestry development. Currently, thanks to additional support given by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), FIDA-Sur  is also working to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The project concentrates efforts on 25 communities in the Campeche, Chiapas and Oaxaca regions. Here the most immediate threats to smallholder livelihoods are forest fires, pests, changes in land use leading to forest resource depletion and GHG emissions.
FIDA-Sur is working to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers within the region.  
Farmers are no strangers to long hours of hard work. They grow the food that will sustain them and their families, with the hope of producing enough excess to trade in markets.
For them, the problem is finding out the best methods to survive with the resources they have at their disposal.  Human pressure on forest resources are exacerbating deforestation in the area, which in turn creates devastating conditions especially for those least able to adapt.
FIDA-Sur tries to reach communities that for various reasons haven’t been able to access government assistance. Such is the case for those with no property rights or appropriate land documentation. The project prioritizes those who are more vulnerable, such as women, youth, and the landless. 
FIDA-Sur’s support includes the supply of firewood-saving stoves, rainwater harvesting apparatus, greenhouses, agroforestry modules, community nurseries, and other activities. This is helping forest areas recover. 
Through FIDA-Sur, people in the region are improving their access to basic needs without damaging the surrounding environment. This means better, more sustainable forest management and better climate change mitigation.

Woodlands play a crucial role in weather regulation. FIDA-Sur is a bright hope and a viable strategy to reduce the effects of climate change by promoting better use  and conservation of natural resources.