January 11th, 2017
Written by Yarisleidy Mayorquin, Coordinator of Nica Agua
Léalo en español!
The “Water Droplets” work on an educational poster. Las “Gotitas de Agua” completan un póster educativo.
The work of Nica Agua doesn’t stop at delivering filters and monitoring their use; the program is becoming more and more like the new model we are implementing in San Esteban. There we strengthen the capabilities of our community volunteers as well as the children, because children are the best demographic to learn and apply new information. A group of 21 kids between the ages of 7 and 13, representatives of their local primary school, receive a talk once a month focused on health and prevention where they learn about filters, water purification, hygiene, and cleanliness. These talks are dynamic and help the kids to strengthen their reading, speaking, and drawing abilities while instilling in them the spirit of volunteering. An environment where children always keep their community in mind, transmit their knowledge to their classmates, and motivate their parents, neighbors and friends to participate in community development is the goal that we hope to one day achieve!
Encouraging team work. Promoviendo el trabajo en equipo.
“Water Droplets” is now the nickname for these children that have participated in our educational talks. After chatting with Martaeliza Blandon, the technical coordinator of Nica Agua in San Esteban, about the activities we’ve done, we wanted to find a name for this group of kids to make them feel special. After many ideas and much laughter, while a rain storm came our way, the name “Water Droplets” was born. The nickname is the perfect fit for the group of kids chosen to learn about various subjects and in turn teach them in their classrooms. I hope that the kids like their new nickname and believe that from a drop can come a stream; that a constant drip can change the shape of the hardest stones.
Tagged: agua limpio, children, Clean Water, Community Development, desarrollo comunitario, educación, Education, jóvenes, Nica Agua, San Esteban
December 15th, 2016
The Nica Agua water filter project, supported by international donors and local volunteer efforts, has drastically reduced the incidence of diarrhea and other water borne illnesses in Los Robles. It has also contributed to a change in hygiene practices as residents are keeping their homes cleaner and washing their hands and food regularly.
With diarrhea less of a challenge, the next biggest health priority for Los Robles is respiratory illness. It’s the most common condition seen in our health clinic. A major source of this condition are wood burning stoves commonly used in rural kitchens. The basic stove or oven does not have a chimney and the smoke remains in the poorly ventilated kitchen, producing asthma, allergies, and lung irritation especially common for women and children who spend most of their day in the kitchen. Building an improved stove or oven, with a smoke venting chimney, is the solution, and one of the projects that Comunidad Connect and international volunteers help with.
Your donation can help make respiratory illness a non-issue in rural communities like Los Robles and San Esteban, just as past donations helped to drastically reduce water borne illness with the use of Nica Agua water filters.
Support our work today by contributing to the Holiday Campaign.
December 10th, 2016
Nicaragua is unique in its prevalence for volunteering and community organizations. One of the pillars of the free public healthcare system, in this country with the second lowest GDP per capital in the Western Hemisphere, are the brigadistas. These rural health volunteers are the first line of defense for anyone with an injury, pregnancy complication, or dangerous illness. They can triage and call an ambulance if necessary. The brigadistas coordinate their efforts with the Ministry of Health and also provide community outreach focusing on illness prevention.
Theresa and community health worker network of Los Robles. Theresa y la red de brigadistas de Los Robles.
The success of Comunidad Connect health programs in Los Robles is largely due to the support of the brigadistas. After this group of 10 women and 1 man identified diarrhea and water borne illness as a top concern in Los Robles, Comunidad Connect launched is Nica Agua water filter project. Local residents could earn a water filter, which eliminates the threat of bacteria in drinking water, by investing time in projects to improve public spaces or infrastructure, such as the construction of the rural health clinic in the center of Los Robles. Like the other projects, the health clinic construction was organized by Comunidad Connect with help from international donors and volunteers that joined forces with Los Robles residents in the construction. The opening of the health clinic in January 2015 gave more than 2,000 people access medical services in their community.
The health clinic also inspired the brigadistas to create their own project, independent of Comunidad Connect, to build a new cemetery closer to town, that would not require a 30 minute walk up a steep hill, through mud, and across a stream. (Imagine doing that with a casket.) The group started a community bank, purchased a plot of land, and with support of local and international volunteers created a model cemetery, the pride of the community.
Your donation today will help Comunidad Connect work with a new group of brigadistas in our new partner community of San Esteban, to successfully complete a Nica Agua water filter project, providing more than 100 families with clean water while improving community infrastructure. This is how the sustainable development chain reaction starts. We hope you will join us and follow the progress and impact of the brigadistas in both Los Robles and San Juan del Sur. They are the true champions of grassroots community development.
Support what you love and love what you support!
Tagged: community, Health, Jinotega, Nicaragua, Prevention, Salud
December 10th, 2016
About 10 years ago Jon Thompson who had traveled to Nicaragua as a tourist and Alejandro Noguera, who had recently retired from professional baseball in Nicaragua, came together around the vision of organized leagues in soccer, baseball, and basketball for young people in San Juan del Sur, who otherwise did not have much to do with their free time.
Girls soccer clinic at the Sports Park
Working with the municipal government and local sports and culture association, Jon and Alejandro secured a 10 year, $1 lease on a dilapidated basketball court that had once been the tennis court for Nicaragua’s dictator, Samoza. Working together with local athletes, with major support from international donors, the enthusiastic group remodeled the court, adding cement bleachers, an entrance gate, new lightings, new basketball and soccer goals, and a new cement playing surface. The Sports Park was born!
Over the last 10 years an entire generation of children in San Juan del Sur (population 10,000+) has grown up with the chance to play organized soccer, basketball and baseball, a chance that few of their peers have around the country.
Alejandro throws the first pitch of the season.
Your donation today will help replicate the success story of sports in San Juan del Sur in a rural community in the northern highlands called Los Robles (population 2,000+). Comunidad Connect has been working on supporting healthcare inthis community since 2012. Exercise is an imperative component for preventative healthcare. Organized sports programming would provide this opportunity for the young people of Los Robles.
December 10th, 2016
Our clean water program, Nica Agua, has been one of our anchor programs for nearly 5 years. At first glance, it may seem pretty different from our two newest programs, the community garden and our sexual and reproductive health education project. However, these three programs have one very important common thread: the All People Be Happy Foundation.
All People Be Happy (APBH) generously provides grants for education and capacity building, healthcare, and sustainable agriculture. Comunidad Connect has been honored to receive funding from APBH for the Nica Agua program’s latest filter project, allowing us to provide 120 filters to families in the rural community of San Esteban.
Community health worker meeting in San Esteban, Jinotega
Earlier this year, one of our Princeton in Latin America fellows, Grace Galloway, applied for a grant to begin a community garden project in our office’s backyard. She was thrilled to receive the grant and is currently harvesting the first fruits as the rainy season subsides. As the new year begins, Grace will continue to expand community and student involvement in the garden.
Reading about trees in the Garden.
Most recently, Theresa Bailey, also a Princeton in Latin America fellow, received a grant to expand the sexual and reproductive health services provided throughout rural communities in the north. She will spend the following months implementing the first steps of a project that will holistically address the expressed needs of men, women and adolescents.
Without generous donors such as All People Be Happy, we wouldn’t be able to provide healthcare for thousands of patients each year, or clean water for hundreds of families. We can’t wait to see how the community garden and sexual and reproductive health initiative develop and expand to empower and education our community members.
Thank you, All People Be Happy, for your ongoing support.
Tagged: All People Be Happy, Clean Water, community, Comunidad, Garden, Health, Huerto, Salud
October 31st, 2016
Written by: Grace Galloway, Princeton in Latin America Fellow, 2015-2017, Comunidad Connect
A year in community development can mean a lot of different things. It means patience and progress, it means shovels and sweat, but most of all it means determination from the amazing community members that we are honored to work with here in Nicaragua.
Learn more, check out the 2015 Annual Report!
Do you want to join us as we work towards better health, clean water, and youth development in Nicaragua? Join our Volunteer Adventure Trips this winter and see sustainable community development for yourself!
Tagged: community, Comunidad, Development, reports
October 10th, 2016
Written by Yarisleidy Mayorquin, Coordinator of Nica Agua
Léalo en Español
Yarisleidy Mayorquin – Comunidad Connect,
con los colaboradores Dr. Ortiz Ayala – FUNDOH, Ejecutiva Alba Gonzalez- UNAN Managua.
Ms. Yarisleidy Mayorquin from Comunidad Connect with representatives Dr. Ortiz Ayala from FUNDOH and executive Alba Gonzalez from UNAN Managua.
When the name of an organization shines through in the execution of its work, the results are a clear example of its mission. This is how we feel day to day while “we connect opportunities.” A beautiful example of “links and connections” was this past May when, thanks to the collaboration of our friends from Maderas Sostenibles, we were able to “think green” through the donation of trees dedicated to several reforestation projects: one being with our new friends from UNAN Managua and the other in the community of San Esteban 2 in Jinotega, Nicaragua. And how does this link opportunities? By giving resources we receive to people who could utilize them the best. We are confident that “hand in hand,” “ voices united” is the best way to form networks of friends and collaborators that help each other to strengthen the social work of many organizations and institutions. During this month of independence, we give thanks to the friends and colleagues who have, without a doubt, served as the bridge between resources and various social development opportunities in our beautiful country, Nicaragua.
Yarisleidy Mayorquin and Alba Gonzalez meet to receive the donation of saplings. Yarisleidy Mayorquin y Alba Gonzalez reunen para recibir la donación de árboles.
Tagged: agua limpio, Clean Water, Community Development, desarrollo comunitario, environment, Health, medio ambiente, reforestación, reforestation, Salud, San Esteban, UNAN Managua
October 4th, 2016
We are excited to announce our first ever open-registration group trips to Nicaragua!
See and participate in our work, meet like-minded travelers interested in sustainable tourism and sustainable development, and see the beauty of Nicaragua.
We will host numerous Volunteer Adventure and Donor Immersion trips this November and December. The flexible schedule is meant to accommodate small groups. Donor immersion trips are offered only to past supporters who have contributed $350 or more in the last 12 months.
Lear more about Donor Immersion Trips in November
Learn more about Volunteer Adventure Trips in December
See you in Nicaragua!
September 28th, 2016
Written by: Theresa Bailey, Princeton in Latin America Fellow, Comunidad Connect 2015-2017
Lea en español.
Theresa, at Lake Nicaragua, in front of the beautiful Concepcion Volcano on Ometepe Island.
¿A dónde vas, Esteli? ¡Hay nancite, hay naranja, hay limones! ¡Acércate a boutique 5 Estrellas hoy y aprovecha de la gran liquidación! These are just a few of the many phrases and sounds that fill the space around me here in Nicaragua.
After living in this beautiful country for over a year I’ve learned an important fact: Nicaragua is loud. However, the most relevant skill that accompanies this fact is the ability to be still, slow down and listen to the quiet sounds that flit beneath the overpowering din. When I am still I hear the laughter of my co-workers as we work together on our daily tasks. When I am slow my host sister soothes my stress and builds me up with words I need to hear. When I listen I hear the sincerity and vulnerability that accompanies the ideas we hope will transform our communities.
Working in the field of community development means accepting an inescapable vulnerability. My co-workers, our academic partners, the community members themselves, we are all architects, constructing new environments and structures that we hope will translate into better quality of life and increased opportunities throughout Nicaragua. And like architects, the results of our innovations will only be tangible years after the first thought dared to slip through our lips, uncertain of its reception.
September 19th, 2016
Written by: Doricel Aguirre, Cultural Connections Volunteer Guide, Comunidad Connect
¡Lea en español aqui!
Doricel (left) and co-worker Nerys in Los Robles
So far during 2016, I have guided 7 groups from Honduras Outreach International (HOI). That’s 99 volunteers who have come to share their experiences with the community of Los Robles, contribute to the social projects and promote religious values through bible studies with children, women and men. One of the most impactful experiences I have had was when we visited the home of Doña Guillermina to build a floor that was just 16 meters in area; her home was too small to build a larger floor.
Tagged: Health, HOI, Jinotega, Los Robles, Nicaragua, Salud, volunteers