Greetings from Jinotega! Since our touchdown in Managua we have visited El Porvenir, Asofenix, GRID Alternatives, Jubilee House, FUNICA, Seed of Learning, and CAPS. These groups have shared information about Nicaragua’s culture, healthcare, education, and current projects. Many of these ongoing and anticipated projects involve microirrigation, biogas, building infrastructure, health services, renewable sources of energy, sanitation, and accessibility to potable water. Success of the organizations is measured by sustainability of the project. The project is sustainable if the community can continue to use the technology effectively after the organization leaves. To accomplish this, the organization trains community members in the use and maintenance of the technology. Additionally, they ensure the community feels a sense of ownership towards the project.
We are working with Bridges to Community to understand what is required for a successful project here in Nicaragua. The Bridges to Community model centers around using the money that comes from various projects to fund future projects. When BTC builds homes for families, each family will pay into a community fund. A committee made of community leaders then decides how this money is spent, funding communal infrastructure such as clinics and schools. With all of this in mind, DHE should pursue a project that will empower the community.
Meetings with these various organizations have also provided insight as to how DHE may select a community. Every organization we have spoken to will only work with communities that have expressed a certain level of commitment and interest in the project: communities usually demonstrate this by requesting help from the organization on their own. In the future, DHE may want to work alongside groups in the country that know of motivated communities. However, this does not mean that communities that do not seem initially committed to a project are turned away. In one example, a community in the Dominican Republic first approached BTC for help. BTC declined when the organization realized that the community was not motivated enough. Once the community realized that they had missed an invaluable opportunity, they returned to BTC ready to fully commit to the project.
We were able to speak with the committee members of two communities that BTC has worked with in the past, El Sasle and El Mojon communities. The economy of these communities centers around growing crops including coffee and vegetables. There is a high need for health clinics, houses, potable water, and sanitation systems. By speaking with these committee members, we were able to learn about the lifestyles within the community and the issues they hope to address in the future. We hope to continue our work with these inspiring individuals who strive to make positive changes in their communities.
Outside of work, we also celebrated the birthday of one of our team members. ¡Feliz cumpleaños Aniksha!
From this point forward, we will continue meeting with various organizations to learn as much as we can with our remaining time. We are very excited to bring all of our knowledge back to Dartmouth in the winter term. Please continue to stay tuned for updates!