Casa Alianza (CAN), $301,400 over three years; counterpart committed, $190,009.CAN will conduct outreach to young people in three neighborhoods of Managua and to their parents. It will provide adults and older children training in job skills and in micro-enterprise development, offer young people opportunities to participate in internships and sports leagues, and will make seed capital available to launch new businesses. Its resources include a residential drug treatment center accommodating 90 young people and a shelter for 25 teen mothers and their babies. (NC-298)
Asociación para el Desarrollo de la Costa Atlántica Pana Pana (Pana Pana), $395,789, over three years; counterpart committed, $473,519.Pana Pana will enable 14 rural and peri-urban community committees on the isolated Atlantic Coast to mobilize resources from the government, nongovernmental organizations and other entities for infrastructure that provides clean water and sanitation, thereby reducing the incidence of water-borne diseases. It will also promote hygienic practices in the area. (NC-299)
Cooperativa Multisectorial Verde Esperanza, R.L. (COMULVERL), $118,200; counterpart committed, $46,438.
COMULVERL will continue to provide credit, materials, training and technical assistance to farmers in El Jicaral and Santa Rosa del Peñon, department of León; to make credit and training available to owners of small retail and manufacturing enterprises; and to work toward self-sufficiency as an organization. (NC-279-A2)
Fundación Caja Rural San Lorenzo (CARUSALO) $132,524; counterpart committed, $308,547.
CARUSALO will continue to provide four associations of farmers in Boaco training, technical assistance and credit toward improving their production of beans, rice, vegetables and dragon fruit. It will support the farmers as they apply new irrigation strategies, construct collection centers and a greenhouse, pool their crops to market in volume to wholesalers in Managua and work toward the self-sufficiency of their grassroots organizations. (NC-280-A3)
Unión de Cooperativas Agropecuarias Productoras de Café Orgánico (UCPCO), $110,000; counterpart committed, $373,339.UCPCO will improve the ability of farmers in northern Nicaragua to produce and export coffee certified as fair-trade and organic by providing equipment and financial and technical assistance and constructing branch offices, a store and a plant to process organic fertilizer. (NC-278-A4)
Unión de Cooperativas Agropecuarios Héroes y Mártires de Miraflor, R.L. (MIRA- FLOR), $110,000; counterpart committed, $153,738.
MIRAFLOR will continue to work in the rural communities inside the Miraflor Nature Reserve to increase production of organic fertilizer and pesticide, advance water conservation and reforestation, promote the use of fuel-efficient stoves and provide credit to support ecotourism infrastructure and the production of organic coffee. (NC-282-A4)
Hope for the Inner City
In 1972, an earthquake devastated Managua and, four decades later, the damage is still apparent. Squatters continue to occupy the abandoned ramshackle buildings standing unsteadily in the parish of Santo Domingo, where a bustling downtown once thrived. As a neighborhood, Santo Domingo is rough and its young residents often drop out of school to sell water, sodas and snacks at traffic lights. Barely surviving and desperate for acceptance, many turn to gangs, drugs or prostitution-and a life of violence, addiction, crime and disease.
Casa Alianza of Nicaragua (CAN) is using its IAF award to work with the young residents of Santo Domingo and two similarly-marginalized neighborhoods, and with their parents, on an intensive program of community organizing. The goal is to impact families through attention, prevention and social inclusion. In addition to enlisting churches, community police, businesses and officials from local government, CAN has trained the young people in journalism and they produce a newsletter and other materials designed to help mobilize the residents of the three neighborhoods. As a result, thousands have attended CAN’s community meetings and are joining in the effort to improve housing and create green spaces offering safe opportunities for recreation. Other training qualifies young residents to organize sports and cultural activities for their peers as well as workshops on leadership, life skills, the dangers of drug abuse and the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
An important principle underlying CAN’s work is that long-term stability for families and youths depends on jobs. CAN offers 200 youths and adults classes in mechanics, tailoring, baking, computer literacy, English and other skills geared at qualifying them for the job market. Some trainees are learning to draft business plans; those who develop the most promising plans receive materials or funds toward start-up as well as ongoing mentoring and technical assistance. CAN offers young people opportunities to learn on the job via placement as interns with potential employers.
Participants have access to medical, legal and psychological resources, including CAN’s home for pregnant girls and its drug treatment center. As an example of what its support can accomplish, CAN points to Ricardo Bonilla, once the leader of a gang called Los Pica and now a community activist, thanks to CAN’s rehabilitation center. Bonilla uses soccer to provide structure for at-risk youths. Scoring Goals against Drugs and Violence is the catchphrase; to join, players must commit to staying in school and avoiding drugs. Bonilla recently coached his team to the league championship. “The biggest prize was the opportunity to help these troubled kids,” Ricardo said as he showed off the team’s trophy.
—Patrick Ahern, IAF representative