Wednesday, June 06, 2018

From Managua, Nicaragua: El Porvenir is staying and working

A letter from Rob Bell, Executive Director

There are an increasing number of news articles about the crisis in Nicaragua. We want to let you know how El Porvenir staff and communities are being impacted. Because of safety concerns, the Peace Corps and other foreign volunteer groups have left Nicaragua, but El Porvenir is staying for many reasons:
  • We are committed to our mission: Partnering with Nicaraguan communities on life-changing and life-saving water and sanitation projects is what we do.
  • Our staff is primarily Nicaraguan who are known in the areas they work in; so far, they are less impeded by the road blocks than others. Our staff live in Nicaragua, and this work is their livelihood. They aren’t going anywhere, and El Porvenir isn’t either.
  • Our work is more important than ever as government funds once earmarked for water and sanitation are being diverted into dealing with the crisis.

Despite the continued effectiveness of El Porvenir and its staff to provide life changing improvements to rural Nicaraguan communities, there have been impacts and procedural modifications resulting from the crisis:
  • There are gas shortages in Camoapa and Waslala. Cement in San Lorenzo recently ran out. With the road blocks, we expect the shortages to continue. That might slow us down with project completions, but it won’t stop us.
  • Our Managua staff are required to leave early most days because buses don't run after 3 PM. Outside of Managua, there aren’t many buses anymore. If you’ve ever traveled to Nicaragua, you know that buses are a main form of transportation.
  • Once a month, one staff member from each of our field offices comes to Managua for a meeting. This month, one couldn’t come because he would have had to cross through 5 of the 38 road blocks set up across Nicaragua. Our staff usually pay C$20-30 (C$ Cordoba, Nicaraguan currency: Approximately C$20 = US$1) to take the bus; in one instance, a staff member had to pay C$200 to get through just one of the road blocks. So far, our staff have been able to get through local road blocks without issues.
  • To protect our staff during the crisis, we have implemented increased security procedures to include no travel at night, avoiding areas without cell phone coverage, keeping phones charged at all times, informing co-workers of where staff are going and their projected return time, as well as many other procedures. We are doing everything possible to keep our staff safe.
We are fortunate to continue our important work during this crisis and are truly appreciative of the support we have received from all of you. If you’d like to make a special gift to keep projects moving forward and give hope for a brighter future, please do so at El Porvenir.

3 comments:

Rain Trueax said...

Wow. Just wow, so a corrupt government as well as the gangs? Central America,many of its countries, is a world concern as it impacts the other communities but as sovereign nations what can be done that goes beyond band-aids-- essential as they are.

A writer friend lived in Venezuela-- a totally failed state as it stands. He is out now thanks to falling in love with another writer/teacher and they got married, Very sad for those who cannot get out :(

Rain Trueax said...

I looked at the donate site, but could not see how they accept donations. Can they do Paypal? I know Venezuela could not, but it's the safest way to give.

janinsanfran said...

Hi Rain: Actually, Nicaragua has been the one Central American state free of drug cartels and gangs. That's why we (I'm on the EP board) have been able to work pretty well. What they have now is civil conflict breaking out over government corruption and general deterioration of democracy.

As for donating: it appears the site takes credit cards but not Paypal. I'll inquire. :-)

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