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During the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID and its partner Agrofrontera has helped secure food for Dominican communities in the Northern Region.
Juan Valerio and Nilda Bueno, two community members from Dominican Republic, have a couple of things in common: they live in Judea Nueva, an isolated town 40 minutes away from the city of Montecristi, in the northwest side of the island; they are both community leaders; and their lives were changed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Juan is a community leader and member of the social assistance committee of the community of Judea Nueva. Although necessary for health and safety, the inconveniences of the curfew imposed by the Dominican government did affect him and his community. “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us because we have a lot of restrictions. We cannot go out and don’t have access to anything. That also affects our economy because we cannot work (for longer hours).” For Nilda, “the curfew was very limiting, and it’s hard because where I live there are people that don’t have enough money or jobs to have (a certain) food security. There was fear. Food was getting scarce.”
Here is where USAID and its partner Agrofrontera enter the story. Both have been working in seven communities in the Montecristi area, providing food aid relief packages to 700 vulnerable groups and families over the last three (3) months.
Juan, got involved with the program through getting in contact with Agrofrontera. “They requested a list of the people who were in great need of assistance. We thought that the Lord sent it to us when we needed it the most, and when we didn’t have anything left to do. This was the first friendly hand that arrived in the region”, he says.