Monthly Archives: August 2018

Crisis Response: Income Generation

In April of 2018, protests broke out in Nicaragua that resulted in over 3 months of unrest, widespread destruction of public property, and more than 300 deaths. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to respond to the crisis and provide families with support in the areas of food security, medical attention, water distribution, and income generation.

Fabio López with one of the first batches of “Sol Frijol” (Rayo de Sol Beans)

One of our greatest concerns during the crisis was the loss of income for many people. In Matagalpa, many small businesses were forced to close and others had to reduce staff to stay afloat. Many of the people that we work with were affected by the economic downturn. Also, the small farmers that we work with had beans planted, but the local markets have been unpredictable. Pricing and transportation became more complex and many farmers were in jeopardy of losing money on their crops.

We decided to work with small farmers to ensure that they earned a fair price for their red bean crops. We set up a small business, purchasing beans from small farmers at a fair price (20% above other buyers), packaging the beans and selling them in local markets. In the process, we also generated some temporary employment for two women who helped to weigh, package and label the beans.

One of the farmers who was most anxious to work with us on this pilot project was Fabio López. Fabio has been one of the most enthusiastic biointensive farmers in his community and he had a small plot of red beans planted as well. Like most small farmers, he desperately needed cash to cover his family’s expenses, but was concerned that the buyers who were flocking to the community were paying an extremely low price for beans. We offered him the opportunity to work with us and he happily sold us 600 pounds of high quality red beans. We paid him 20% more than what he would have made, which allowed him to better provide for his family. We hope that this pilot project can grow into a more substantial micro-business in the future.

Crisis Response: Water Distribution

In April of 2018, protests broke out in Nicaragua that resulted in over 3 months of unrest, widespread destruction of public property, and more than 300 deaths. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to respond to the crisis and provide families with support in the areas of food security, medical attention, water distribution, and income generation.

María Aguilar and her grandchildren with their new rain harvesting tank

Access to clean water is a serious problem in many communities. The public water supply system is insufficient to provide water to many rural communities. Most rural families rely on hand dug wells or mountain springs for their water sources. Providing water for their families often means traveling significant distances to haul water in buckets and pitchers. Some communities also depend on water that is delivered by the municipal government in a large truck. Unfortunately, that truck was destroyed during protesting.

We wanted to make sure that the most vulnerable families had access to water, so we decided to expand the rain harvesting project we started last year. In 2017, we installed systems for 45 families that would allow them to capture rain water and filter it for consumption. This year, we replicated the same system, with some minor improvements, for another 31 families in the Cerro de Piedra and Las Lomas communities.

María Aguilar lives with her children and grandchildren in a very remote area of the Cerro de Piedra community. The nearest water source is about a mile from their home, in the middle of the mountains. The family has to go the spring, which is not particularly clean, to wash their clothes and haul water back to the house for their drinking, cooking and bathing. They are very excited to have the new rain harvesting system, which will provide them with 660 gallons of water right at their home. This will help to dramatically improve their health and hygienic conditions, especially for the children.

Crisis Response: Medical Attention

In April of 2018, protests broke out in Nicaragua that resulted in over 3 months of unrest, widespread destruction of public property, and more than 300 deaths. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to respond to the crisis and provide families with support in the areas of food security, medical attention, water distribution, and income generation.

Families who live in the rural communities we serve have to travel considerable distances to receive medical attention. Going to the public health clinic means catching the first bus at 5 a.m., riding an hour and a half into the city, waiting in line for at least two hours and hoping that they are treated by a physician. Usually, there are very limited medicines at the public health clinics, and patients are handed several prescriptions that they often can’t afford to fill. During the period of unrest, many people simply did not go to the clinic because of the risks.

Our concern was that there many patients were probably not receiving medical attention in the rural communities because of this situation. We decided to respond with medical clinics in the most remote communities, to ensure that both children and adults were receiving proper care. We began clinics in late July and the response has been overwhelming. There are many people who are in desperate need of quality medical attention.

One of the patients that most impacted us is Fátima Montenegro, a four year old girl in the El Carrizo community. Fátima has suffered from a chronic skin problem for more than a year. She was treated at the health center, though her illness was not cured. During the protests, her parents were unable to get her to the public clinic. Fátima was immediately detected by our doctor and has been in treatment for a month. She has already shown great improvement, which has brought great joy to her parents. We will continue to follow up on her condition to ensure that she receives the highest quality care possible.

Crisis Response: Food Security

In April of 2018, protests broke out in Nicaragua that resulted in over 3 months of unrest, widespread destruction of public property, and more than 300 deaths. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to respond to the crisis and provide families with support in the areas of food security, medical attention, water distribution, and income generation.

Darling and her son Marlón

One of our greatest concerns was making sure that families who had been affected by the crisis would have enough to eat. With loss of employment and lack of mobility due to the violence, many of the families we serve were at risk. We established a “food for work” initiative so that parents could help out with tasks in their communities, at school or at our office. In exchange, they were provided with a food package that included beans, rice, flour, corn and cooking oil. During a two month period, we provided food assistance to 120 families.

One of the families that benefitted from this initiative was that of Darling Martinez. Darling and her husband have two children, Guadalupe (6) and Marlon (3). Marlon has special needs and we have been assisting with his medical needs for the past couple of years. Darling’s husband works in construction, but during the civil unrest, he lost his job. With virtually no possibilities of finding employment during the crisis, they were in jeopardy of not having enough food for their family. They were enthusiastic participants in our work for food initiative, helping us to clean around the office and package food for other families. They were grateful to have the support during such a difficult time.