“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much...”
Christ Centered Community
A growing country like Nicaragua has physical as well as spiritual needs. Harvest Initiative impulses many projects in coordination with local churches and civic groups to combat poverty and help communities use their resources more wisely. Our starting point is always the communities existing assets, be they many or few. A community cannot benefit from additional resources until they learn to be good stewards of what they already have. Unemployment in Nicaragua is around 35% while 48% of its population lives on less than two dollars a day and almost ten percent on less than one dollar a day. Regrettably a great deal of the progress the country has made in recent years has not resulted in stable employment for many. Chronic poverty is a complex situation, but we see that when communities are willing to work together, often we can co invest with them to bring about needed changes. Our latest big community development focus is on the Prinzapolka District, which is in the heart of the Miskitu tribe’s territory. The district begins near the main town accessible by road, Alamikamba and continues by river access alone all the way out to the Caribbean Sea. Since the river is such an important means of transportation, the Dawn Treader Project maintains two boats to facilitate all its activities.
The idea is simple: equip people to help themselves. This philosophy of helping asserts that encouraging local individuals to manage their own resources to improve local conditions leads to lasting change that actually makes a difference. Imposed ideas are just that—impositions. With a community-centered focus that builds from what exists in a community, a joint effort is born. That joint effort, between community resources (materials, labor, etc.) and HI resources (knowledge, equipment, contacts, etc.) leads to sustainable, progressing change.
A community must become good stewards of what they have before they and can wisely use help from outside. We see this as a biblical principle found in Luke 16:10. Over the years we have completed 12 water projects benefitting over 3000 people in 10 communities. Small business seed money is another development activity. This can be a loan of seeds and fertilizer to farmers or like Valeria Lopez’s work in Managua with a sewing cooperative. The cooperative pays decent wages to women, many of whom can no longer sew fast enough to meet the quotas demanded in the sweatshop factories that ring the capitol. Drawing on the strengths of our people, over the years we have worked in biogas and wind energy, boat building, welding, and machinery importation. Recently, we have added computer resource center in remote Alambikamba. These diverse activities always seek to give God’s people the means necessary to stabilize their lives in order to be contributing members of local churches. It has been so thrilling to see young men go from street gang members to solid heads of households, active in their local churches. This process takes years and has been made possible by the steadfast long term commitment of our supporters such as Harvester Christian Church. Few local churches can look at a country and point to so many life changing outreaches. Its much more than sending money, its investing in an entire generation of people.
Water Projects: Clean water is essential for life and health. At least half of the population of Nicaragua lacks reliable access to clean water. Harvest Initiative has a LS-100 drilling rig and has trained local water technicians to use and maintain it. With this rig 15 wells have been drilled in communities around the Atlantic Coast as well as around Managua. Besides drilling, water projects can be spring fed systems, or installing sanitary seals on existing wells. When appropriate hand pumps are fabricated in the shop at the base site. Regardless of the technical challenges, the communities are required to contribute significantly to the project, according to their resources. Harvest Initiative believes that people must learn to steward the resources they have before they can be entrusted with more resources.
Child Protection Outreach: This ministry interfaces with local churches and Nicaraguan volunteers to reach out to children most at risk from neglect, domestic violence, abuse and malnutrition. Currently there are 67 children enrolled in the program divided among three community based nuclei in Ciudad Sandino, Alamikamba and Sol de Libertad, Managua. Local church volunteers are organized to provide the feeding, psychological and medical attention, tutoring, and Bible Study activities that are developed according to the capacity of the volunteers and the needs of the children. The program targets the children most at risk for neglect and abuse. With almost half of Nicaragua’s population living on less than $2/day, mobilizing and equipping the local churches is the best way to meet the needs of critically at risk children long term.
Feed Nicaragua: In addition to the core nuclei, Harvest Initiative partners with the Nice Foundation’s Feed Nicaragua program to organize and distribute supplemental food to about 40 feeding centers throughout Nicaragua. These centers focus on nutrition and are run by volunteers from local churches and community groups. All together these centers prepare and serve several hundred thousand meals a year.
Current Community Outreach Programs
- Water Projects
- Small Business Seeds
- Vocational Training Programs
- Agricultural Assistance & Training
- Community Computer Labs
- Child Protection Outreach
- Nice Foundation's Feed Nicaragua