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How Local Leaders Help Us Find Solutions to Local Problems

I imagine that the majority of you reading this are sheltering at home, as many of us are here in Nicaragua. Unfortunately, most Nicaraguans do not have the luxury of working from home, so many of the people that we work with in San Ramón have to continue to expose themselves daily as Covid-19 slowly encroaches.  To protect our employees, we have temporarily closed our San Ramón office, but we continue to monitor the situation in hopes that we will be able to resume our work soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some news from March, before the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed here in Nicaragua. On March 16th, (what seems like eons ago), we held our bi-annual Comité meeting. The Comité de San Ramón, conformed of local leaders from different parts of the municipality of San Ramón, is a local advisory committee that pools their knowledge, experience, and expertise to aid us in evaluating and adjusting our Strategic Plan 2019-2022 to ensure that we remain aligned with our founding principles: to avoid paternalism and to support local initiatives that meet community-identified needs.

Nine local leaders, seven women and two men, joined us to review our Strategic Plan, to evaluate how we’re doing so far, and to make suggestions for the future. The general consensus was that we are on the right track, specifically in our decision to put more emphasis on water and sanitation.  The Comité unanimously agreed that the most urgent need for all communities of San Ramón is clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities. The leaders from UMOYS discussed how important the sanitation projects have been to their communities, and Lilian Selva, founder of Los Pipitos San Ramón, gave us some important insight on how best to support people with disabilities in the area of sanitation. It was generally agreed that SCSRN’s current approaches to education, health, and environmental preservation (our Rural School Partnership program, support to Los Pipitos, and our wood stove project, respectively) are meeting the most urgent needs in those areas.

When it came to areas of improvement and looking forward to the future, the Comité had a lot to offer us in recommendations for water projects. While we are not supporting any water projects at the moment, we have a few proposals on the docket, and we recognize the sense of urgency around these projects more than any others. Every member of the Comité had something to offer in terms of knowledge and experience in this area, because access to clean drinking water is a pressing concern everywhere in Nicaragua, not just San Ramón.  The SCSRN team went away from the meeting much more prepared to complete a successful water project in the future.

We are indebted to these volunteers who spent a morning with us to review our Strategic Plan and give us guidance as we try to reach our goals. We decided to meet again in September of this year, and we dearly hope that by then it will be safe to do so. In these uncertain times it is hard to know what the future holds, and all we can do is make the best decisions possible with the information we have at hand. We are grateful to our Comité for being a part of that decision-making process.

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About Anjie Price

Anjie is Executive Director of Sister Communities, first and foremost an educator. She is originally from Mississippi, but now is a permanent resident of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Her favorite part about working with SCSRN is being involved in education in new and creative ways.


  1. Susan Fetzer says

    I hope you are all continuing to stay well! Thanks for the update on the good work of the Comité and SCSRN.

  2. Debbie Durham says

    Thank you for sharing the excellent work of the Comite, their ideas and proposals for clean drinking water, and sanitation. Bravo to all during these difficult times.
    Take care.

  3. Jeannette Debs says

    Hoping that things are still going well and that all the people you serve are staying healthy.

  4. Lonna Harkrader says

    It is fascinating how over the years with a changing make up of the Comité, the dynamics of how this Comité now in existence for 27 years has changed the way Sister Communities approaches our involvement. I love the photo of so many people sitting around the table and sharing their ideas. While in the first years of our partnership with San Ramon the Comité that came into existence had a lot of questions about the potential of our partnership to improve the quality of life for people in San Ramon now with so many projects accomplished they are confident about the strategic role they play and what kind of projects we can readily raise money to support. For instance, at first there were many requests for help to pay for medical expenses for individuals and for help to build and improve places of worship, two areas we steered away from. Now people in San Ramon are stronger and more helpful partners.

  5. Ligia Pineda says

    Anjie, your enthusiasm for this project is noticeable. Congratulations for your hard work!
    I wish everything is fine with your family. Hope to see you soon!

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