Political unrest, isolation and natural disasters have hindered development in rural Nicaragua, resulting in chronic poverty, hunger and a lack of public infrastructure. Approximately one-third of the country’s rural population lacks access to clean water, and two-thirds lack adequate sanitation facilities.
In partnership with two local organizations, Episcopal Relief & Development is empowering communities to build climate resilience while improving food supply and preventing waterborne disease and to equip women to provide for their families.
Together with the Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD), we work with local farmers to increase the diversity of their crops and produce natural fertilizers and pesticides that protect the land and water from pollution. The agro-ecological techniques applied through the program increase food production and reduce the impact on the soil. Planting trees and constructing land ridges and ditches also improves soil quality and reduces erosion, and constructing micro-dams to harvest rainwater enables production during dry seasons. Participants share their knowledge with others and promote sustainable practices by using their land to demonstrate the success of the new techniques. The program empowers women to nourish their families by planting small kitchen gardens with a variety of vegetables and produce, and a group of plantain farmers are expanding their operation through business training and micro-finance loans. The main goals for this project expansion are: soil and water conservation techniques, integrated pest management, crop diversification and promotion of the plantain value chain project in the New Guinea area. Thanks to this extensive experience of working in the rural communities of Nicaragua, CEPAD has learned and modified certain interventions in the communities to achieve long-term sustainable improvement.
We also work through our partner El Porvenir to increase access to clean water and reduce waterborne disease. Communities organize water committees and engage residents in constructing and maintaining water systems, with materials and training as needed from El Porvenir. Wells, latrines and handwashing stations are installed at schools and residential areas, with health and hygiene education to promote their use. Digging wells near clusters of homes prevents disease and saves time, effort and risk for women and girls, who are most often responsible for fetching water. El Porvenir also works with communities to plant trees to protect natural watersheds and improve the environment.
With the implementation of Water and Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and watershed protection programs, women and children who live in Boaco (Camoapa and San Lorenzo) will be the main beneficiaries. The communities often have some construction experience amongst them, or can learn, so all projects are built in the communities by the beneficiaries. Episcopal Relief & Development hopes to conserve the micro-watersheds on which the water projects depend, ensure the sustainability of infrastructure built by the 12 communities through education and improve community health through access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities in Boaco by end of 2019.
Our work with Women focuses on helping communities promote the rights of women and children and move toward the vision that everyone deserves a life free from violence in a society where they are treated with dignity and respect. Only then can communities truly heal and thrive.
Our work with Children supports and protects kids under six so they reach appropriate health
and developmental milestones. This focus on early development is foundational and critical to
helping children achieve their full potential as future contributing members of their communities.
Our Climate-related work focuses on how families and communities can work
together to adapt to the effects of rapidly changing weather patterns. This work includes
preparing for and recovering from climate-influenced events such as floods, hurricanes and other disasters.
Water is essential for life. But the quality of the world’s fresh water resources is threatened by improper sanitation, agricultural runoff and lack of treatment facilities, as well as disasters and environmental changes. Every 15 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease. Read more about Clean Water.Read more about Clean Water
Almost one billion people are affected by chronic hunger and poverty worldwide. Malnutrition or lack of access to food can jeopardize overall productivity, health and well-being. Read more about Agriculture.Read more about Agriculture
Worldwide, an estimated 2.6 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation. Proper sanitation and hygiene education can prevent the spread of disease ― saving lives and protecting communities. Read more about Sanitation & Hygiene.Read more about Sanitation & Hygiene
Our micro-finance programs emphasize involving both women and men, which can be very effective in promoting gender awareness and empowering women. When women become breadwinners, they increase their role in household decision-making, which often enhances the whole family’s well-being. Read more about Micro-finance.Read more about Micro-finance
Gender equality, women’s empowerment and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response are cross-cutting themes that shape and inform all of Episcopal Relief & Development’s integrated programs worldwide. In order to sustainably and equitably address hunger, poverty, disease and post-disaster relief and recovery, local attitudes and customs around gender, power and gender-based violence must also be taken into account.Read more about Gender Equality & GBV