“In what seems like a whole lifetime away now, a group of nineteen of us travelled to Nicaragua to catch up with some of the communities that Amos has been supporting these past 5 years through the work of our partner CEPAD. Some of us had been before and had seen what life was like at the start of their 5-year programme and then 3 years in — and others were new to the country.” Caroline Bone writes.
Where there’s a well, there’s a way — one of the women from the village of Pochotal in Teustepe, Nicaragua practices water divining or ‘dowsing’.
In what seems like a whole lifetime away now, a group of nineteen of us travelled to Nicaragua to catch up with some of the communities that Amos has been supporting these past 5 years through the work of our partner CEPAD.
Some of us had been before and had seen what life was like at the start of their 5-year programme and then 3 years in — and others were new to the country. In 2018, after the last Amos trip, the country suffered huge political unrest which impacted on all the communities in one way or another.
CEPAD staff have had difficulty making visits and government funding for initiatives has been harder to get. The weather has also been less predictable as a consequence of climate change — no rain and then a whole year’s worth falling in just a few days — which further affected crops both large and small.
It is fair to say that those of us who had visited before were disappointed that some of the progress we had expected has been limited by these factors. We noted that communities were talking about climate change with great concern — something they had not referenced on our previous visits.
In 2018, after the last Amos trip, the country suffered huge political unrest which impacted on all the communities in one way or another.”
But just when, to our eyes, things seemed harder than ever... we were surprised; by the confidence of the women leaders, by young women who work hard to support other young people through health promotion and sports programmes, by a community who are in the process of receiving a grant from the government that will see their road completed allowing for the provision of electricity and then a water pump and by tales of school children being fed by a woman who has learned new cooking skills to make the most of the vegetables she harvests from the school garden.
Film: Nicaragua: The Place Where We Learn
Some of us travelled to the Cepana Farm School where farmers receive training on crucial techniques to combat the effects of climate change on their land. We saw the impact of re-forestation — where the planting of trees has helped increase the bio-diversity of the area and in this instance, attracted sloths and monkeys to the area!
We met Juan Carlos who developed the water filters now supplied to many families within the communities. It has a very simple design, using easily available hardware and natural materials to act as the filter. Provision of these low-cost filters has dramatically improved the health of families and we felt very pleased that Amos has particularly been able to support this.
Juan Carlos from CEPAD’s Cepana Training Farm who developed the water filters now supplied to many families within the communities.
We visited two communities who had worked with CEPAD on previous 5-year programmes and we could see what a difference their participation had made. There were flourishing crops, community-led committees that have been developing micro-hydroelectricity schemes, and a great sense of hopefulness that there are other opportunities and possibilities just around the corner.
Being part of the CEPAD training and development programme had just been the start of all of this for them. We look forward to hearing more positive stories from the communities who are accepted onto the next 5-year programme. Do please join us in supporting them.
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