Talolinga is a rural community of about 80 families located in the mountains of the Santa Rosa del Peñon municipality of León. This remote community is accessible only by foot, horse, or a rugged 4×4 vehicle. PGL has partnered with Talolinga for more than 25 years on development projects in the areas of infrastructure, water, education, and health. Collaborative projects have included a community health post, grain silos, latrines, and a water and wash station.
CURRENT PROJECTS IN TALOLINGA
In 2011 a delegation from the Young Grower Alliance of Adams County (YGA is an initiative of Penn State Extension) visited the community of Talolinga and recognized the potential in the humble, hardworking people. YGA partnered with PGL to offer an opportunity for a young farmer to obtain a university degree in agriculture and serve as an Agriculture Extensionist in the community. Today, through the partnership with the YGA, three young farmers in the community are earning college degrees and serving as Extensionists. The goal is that the Extensionists incorporate the new agricultural techniques they are learning into the traditional knowledge and techniques of the community to so that it can produce more healthy and diverse sources of food.
PGL sponsors the community-led seed bank project which provides loans of high quality bean seeds to community farmers. Along with the loan farmers receive technical assistance from the PGL Agriculture Extensionists on making fertilizer and pesticides from local resources, identifying and combatting pests, improving the soil, and implementing water-saving irrigation techniques. In the first two years of the project, participants have seen a nearly 400% increase in their production of beans! Farmers pay back their loan in seeds and the bank continues to grow every year. Members look to expand to more farmers and to corn seeds this year.
Nearly 25 years ago, PGL’s first collaboration with Talolinga was to build a health post where personnel from the Ministry of Health could attend patients. Three years ago the Ministry of Health built a modern health post in the community and the original health post was left vacant. Meanwhile two of the Extensionists had the opportunity to take a course in basic veterinary medicine and surgical procedures. After a community survey on the use of the original health post the community decided work with the Extensionists to convert the structure into a veterinary clinic. As a result, with PGL is providing technical assistance and funding the community launched the clinic where the Extensionists can offer accessible and inexpensive veterinary services.
Over the last four years the community of Talolinga has experienced significant drought that has dried out many family wells. As more families are forced to use the public wash and water station, water levels have reached critically low levels. PGL is working with the community on a partnership with the local Mayor’s office for a large-scale water project that is projected to address the community’s water needs for at least the next 20 years. Initial plans include the mechanical drilling of a well, a gravity pump system, and piping to 90% of the houses in the community. Additionally, plans include the organization of a Community Water Committee to oversee the project and carry out its long-term management, training for the committee, reforestation around the well, and water sanitation training for the entire community. Construction is estimated to be completed by the end of 2018. The estimated cost for the project is currently $140,000 of which the Mayor’s office is budgeting $20,000 plus technical assistance. PGL is looking to attract additional funding.