Our community development model focuses on long-term, sustainable growth in rural Nicaraguan communities.
Developing community leaders to change their own community is at the very core of what we do. We bring leaders together to share ideas, learn strategies, and to inspire hope in the future of their community.
Infrastructure requires technical knowledge. We teach leaders how to own and manage their water systems and other infrastructure so that they are equipped and prepared for regular maintenance and repairs. We don’t want them to need us, but we are always there for advice.
We have learned that wells are not enough. We bring water to each family’s home to ensure access to clean, abundant water. Each family connection is complete with a water meter.
Stop the cycle of parasites and diarrhea, the leading cause of death for kids under 5 in Nicaragua.
Lack of clean water is a leading cause of kidney disease in Nicaragua. Women and children spend hours a day walking to collect dirty water for their families. Clean water means improved health, education, and income.
The water system in Valle los Morenos was turned on two years ago. After months of hard work, families living in this community have clean water in every house.
Juana suffered without potable water and sanitation for a long time. She had to carry water from a well that was 500 meters from her home every day. She says, "Before [getting fresh water] life was very difficult, you never knew if the water was contaminated, because all the garbage was dumped into a pit near the water.”
“I was always worried about my children, but now it’s very different. The water is clean. I can water plants or wash my clothes – at my house."
Having water in a home contributes to the development and improved quality of life for people, especially for women and girls who are usually responsible for transporting water to homes.
Local families model healthy behavior to neighbors. We are committed to building lasting community relationships and working alongside local Nicaraguans to teach families proper hygiene and sanitation habits.
Affordable kitchens that feature a smokeless stove and a tiled food preparation area can prevent sickness and disease caused by unhealthy food preparation conditions.
Existing infrastructure gains strength benefiting underserved patients. We enter into communities helping those in need of minor care. Providing some vitamins, medications or referrals is another we are committed to improving rural communities health.
Services for those who are suffering with no alternatives. Several times a year medical brigades from the United States come to Nicaragua to assist with surgeries for Nicaraguans that are in need.
For 60 years, Silvia Campos has cooked with a wood burning pit inside her home. “My whole life the house was always filled with smoke. We would suffer from pneumonia and other diseases, but I couldn’t do anything because I didn’t have enough money for a stove with an exhaust.”
When Amigos for Christ offered to help Silvia install a new stove, she jumped on the opportunity.
Silvia told her children, "This stove is going to change our lives. We can have healthier habits, and the little ones won’t get sick anymore.”
After working overtime for several months to save up the $50 Amigos asked her to contribute, Silvia finally had a new stove installed in her home. Since then, her five year-old grandson stopped suffering from pneumonia.
In rural Nicaragua, 67% of primary school-aged kids do not complete the 6th grade. Children are often too busy working to provide for their families or gathering water to attend school. Health issues, long commutes or unattractive schools all contribute to low attendance. We are committed to making it possible for 100% of school-age children in Nicaragua to attend class.
We are committed to ensuring all children have access to an education. After evaluating communities, building a school may be the best option to ensure children are receiving an education. We build model schools where attendance and knowledge are top priorities.
We remove the barriers to secondary education by covering tuition, supplies, and transportation. We have formal partnerships with local high schools and universities to ensure that our students have every opportunity for a better future.
Our student meal program provides an incentive for families to send their children to school and improves their overall nutrition.
We make school fun. We want kids to want to be there. We, working with the parents and teenagers of the communities, facilitate after school programs where kids can play sports, use their creative minds in art, dance, or theatre or get extra help through tutoring.
28-year-old Erika Verela never had the opportunity to finish her education. She is determined to provide a different future for her three sons. She and her boys, along with her sister and mother, live in La Chuscada, a rural community with which Amigos is partnered. Erika explains, “We have advanced so much in the construction of the new school, as everyone's hands came together to reach the goal.” Erika’s children will have the unique opportunity to attend this school, a dream in the making for several years now.
As she pours guidance, affection, hugs, and kisses on to her sons from the kitchen of her humble home, she tells us just how pleased she is with the fact that her sons are given the opportunity to study. “Greatness” is the word Erika uses to describe her three sons’ futures. “God willing, my children will have a better education, and have the chance to reach their dreams.”
Almost 30 percent of Nicaraguan families in the country live in poverty. Our programs are designed to increase income to $15 a day. Micro credit loans and animal ownership are the way forward.
Families receive capital in the form of chickens or pigs. Extra eggs or animal offspring can be sold to provide income, and eating eggs or meat improves nutrition.
Low-interest capital and technical assistance to rural farmers and entrepreneurs maximize profit, increase savings, and halts the cycle of debt in rural Nicaragua.
Paula lives in the community of La Chuscada. At a Community Leadership meeting, she learned about a project that would give her the opportunity to transform life for her and her family. “Before [the meeting], I didn’t believe it would be possible for me to repair my house and provide educational opportunities for my 5 kids,” says Paula.
Her whole life she has worked in the market selling chickens. With this, she was able to send her kids to school so they could become professionals, but there came a time when Paula didn’t have the resources to help them achieve their goals anymore.
Amigos for Christ then came with some chickens and that turned Paula's life into something better, including fulfilling her desires for improvement, home repair, and plenty of food on the table. Within the first three months of being part of the project, she has managed to get eggs and 16 chicks.
Her greatest goal is to be able to help her youngest son build a house that would be appropriate for him, his wife, and her granddaughter.
A family invests in either three pigs (2 females and one male), or twenty hens and a rooster. Our veterinarian determines which will be the best match for each family. The family then enters into a contract with Amigos for Christ to care for the animals and return the same amount of animals given to them after two years The family is able to eat, keep, or sell anything their animal produces (eggs or offspring). An Amigos veterinarian regularly visits the family to provide training, check-ups, and to ensure that animals are reaching their reproductive potential.
At the end of the two year contract, the family gives back the equivalent number of animals they were provided initially. Animals returned to the Amigos Farm are examined by a veterinarian before being loaned to another family in need.
Low-interest loans, access to superior materials, and training gives farmers and small business owners an advantage in their business.
Throughout the five years, the farmers and business owners are required to open a savings account and deposit at least 20 percent of their net income from the harvest. In addition, the interest they pay on each loan is returned to them at the end of the five years as a “match” to their savings account.
Ultimately, our goal is for each farmer or small business owner to become financially stable enough to manage their business independent of Amigos or any other organization. With that kind of stability, families can move from merely surviving to thriving.
Are you a medical professional? Water expert? Economic development guru? Let us know, because we may need you.