Current Events and News

New Public Health Clinic in Los Robles!

April 17th, 2017

Written by: Jon Thompson, Comunidad Connect Co-Founder

At the NCHC Academic Partners meeting in December 2016, I shared the incredible news that for the first time ever, the Ministry of Health (MINSA) has established a public health clinic in the community of Los Robles!  Located in the humble home of long time brigadista Petrona Diaz, the MINSA clinic is managed by nurses Sonia Rosales, Francis Rizo and Rosa Aguilar.  They see over 250 patients a month and reflect a much improved commitment by the government to Los Robles.  Given this progress and to avoid duplicating efforts in providing primary care, we have closed our clinic and broadened our preventive health strategy in Los Robles and neighboring communities.  We will support the MINSA clinic with donations of medicine, materials, and equipment, and we will continue to partner with local brigadistas who promote and facilitate preventive health education and outreach initiatives. Together, we look forward to collaborating with volunteer groups, medical brigades, and MINSA in Los Robles and beyond.  

Doña Petrona Diaz (left) and nurse Sonia Rosales at the new MINSA health clinic in Los Robles.

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Campaign of the Month: Preventative Health

March 14th, 2017

This March, as the Nicaraguan school year gets into full swing and volunteers join us by the dozens, we as Comunidad Connect staff is focusing especially on two preventative health education topics: oral hygiene and sexual and reproductive health.

Help us meet of our goal of $200 towards preventative health education materials!

Dr. Reeder, our resident dentist, will be providing capacity building workshops with the community health workers of San Esteban on a variety of oral health subjects, ranging from the damaging effects of sugar and tobacco to the warning signs of gum disease. Theresa Bailey, Princeton in Latin America Fellow, will be working closely with adolescents, women and men providing information and safe space for discussions in order to reduce rates of teenage pregnancy, increase family planning and communication amongst partners, and engage men and women to work together to reduce violence and promote human rights.

Donations to this month’s health education campaign will support our workshops, providing the necessary dental equipment as well as purchasing the supplies necessary to teach the community health workers about these topics and empowering them to spread their knowledge to others in their community. Donations will also help us to invite experts in the field to work with the men and women in rural communities.

Community health workers are all smiles, ready for their oral hygiene workshop.

 

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Volunteer Adventure: April 2017

February 1st, 2017

Come to Nicaragua this April!

Join fellow donors, supporters, and volunteers on a week-long Volunteer Adventure April 22-30, 2017.

Volunteers will stay at an organic coffee farm in the hills of Jinotega, complete public health projects with local families, and participate in cultural exchange activities such as baking local treats! Come to Nicaragua to give back, exchange experiences, learn about our work first-hand, and get a taste of the unbelievable beauty this Central American country has to offer.

Learn more and register today!

 

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Your donation can aid in reducing respiratory infections!

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.

Nicaraguan family in Los Robles.

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.

Progress and Growth for the Brigadista Team

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.

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.

Los Robles Health Clinic operated by Comunidad Connect

Support what you love and love what you support!

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All People Be Happy – Supporting 3 different CC programs

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

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.

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.

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A Year in Nicaragua – Annual Report from Comunidad Connect

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!

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Come to Nicaragua this Fall or Winter!

October 4th, 2016

Volunteer Adventure

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!

Leading Volunteers – Doricel’s Perspective

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

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.

 

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A partnership forged of steel!

August 20th, 2016

by Roman Yavich, Co-founder

Last weekend was awesome! Some of my best friends from college  (University of Colorado) helped Comunidad Connect raise over $5,000 through an annual fundraiser called Pro-Am Craft Beer Fundraiser held in Boulder, CO by his company Coalesce Design and Fabrication. Both co-owners of Coalesce BJ Titchenal and Greg Vanderbeek  have been to Nicaragua to volunteer, making their support even more special.

Attendees eating tacos.

Attendees and supporters Christine Schulz Hood and Stephanie Drennen enjoy veggie tacos from McDevitt Taco Supply.

The fundraiser drew more than 100 craft beer enthusiasts eager to try the new and classic flavors from some of Colorado’s best breweries: Avery, Boulder Beer, and Sanitas. The breweries graciously donated their delicious beers. McDevitt Taco Supply came through with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of donated vegetarian tacos to compliment a trailer-load (literally) of meat smoked to perfection in a smoker designed and built by Coalesce, which also donated the meat. (A smoker is not the only thing these guys can build. Check out their website for floating staircases.)

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Parque Central / San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Tel: 011-(505) 2568-2731

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Comunidad Connect / PO Box 1687 Madison, Alabama 35758

Tel: (720) 363-6453

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