A Community Empowered BIG TIME: Water, Workshops, and Wisdom in Nicaragua

A community’s persistence, a member’s listening ear, and a partnership for success tell the story.

La Reina, Boaco Viejo and Peñas de Cáfe in Camoapa, Boaco, Nicaragua

Elba was born in Boaco Viejo and has lived there her entire life. As the owner of a small restaurant, she knows her community and its needs. Before 2006, she and the other 4,500 citizens had tried unsuccessfully to get help from government institutions to address their water situation. Something needed to change.

"Life was almost impossible”

Elba and the rest of her community had to walk far to get water. Schoolteacher Leneyda Lira said, “Life was almost impossible,” with sickness rampant and travel times for water unsustainable to working and thriving. And sanitation was an issue, too. As Julia Hernandez pointed out, “Everyone would just relieve themselves in the fields."

But Elba and her community sought solutions, and that’s when they found El Porvenir, a Blue Planet Network member who has been working in Nicaragua since 1990.

Listening to the Community

El Porvenir, led by Rob Bell and on-the-ground staff in Nicaragua, partnered with Elba and her community to start planning the project. Rob listened to the community when they said that water and latrines were what they needed most. El Porvenir helped develop the plans for the execution of the project, and built the latrines. Once the latrines were built, they moved on to wells and sustained success through educational workshops.

The Result

Elba stands in front of just one of the solutions she and her community built with the support of Blue Planet Network Member El Porvenir

322 people now have access to safe, clean drinking water thanks to five functioning wells. 540 people have adequate sanitation resources thanks to the latrines that 90 families helped to build themselves.

Now, Elba and her community have ten wells and no one has to walk a long way to get water. El Porvenir has helped her community with wells, latrines, educational workshops, reforestation, and even eco-friendly stoves. The community has benefited greatly from all these contributions and improvements.

And, thanks to El Porvenir’s approach and Blue Planet Network’s support, all of this was made possible for just $30 per person.

Sustaining Impact

The best part of this story is what El Porvenir did after the water started running and the toilets started flushing. Here are just a few ways they ensure long-term success for Elba and the rest of the community:

Julia and her family are red bean farmers who count on clean water and sanitary conditions every day.

Even with all these measures, El Porvenir knows the value of data. They collect it several times a year from clinics serving rural districts to measure things like the number of hospital visits due to diarrhea. As the number decreases, the power of hygiene education is clear. All that information can be tracked and shared on Blue Planet Network and used to make future programs even better.

Together, We Can: The Value of Blue Planet Network

BPN helped gather funding and track progress. El Porvenir brought their expertise. Elba and her community spoke up about their needs and showed their determination to address an important need.

Together, lives have been changed for years to come. That’s what Blue Planet Network is all about.