Wisconsin Nicaragua Partnership
The Monthly Learning Center meeting was held this year on May 31st. Mother’s Day in Nicaragua is May 30 so the celebration continued through to the monthly meeting with the theme of music and culture.
Music classes have been taking place for several years at the Los Cedros/Madison Learning Center which has planted the interest for other Learning Centers to have music program opportunities for their participants. The challenge is, and has always been, musical instruments are expensive, and not easily parted with. In the local school system in Wisconsin, most grade school students are required to have “recorder” classes as in introduction to music. In thinking how to facilitate more music programs for the W/NP Learning Centers, it seemed flutes were the most feasible instrument to begin with. The first step was to acquire the flutes, sales representative Mark Johnson, West Music Co., was able to negotiate a good price of $1.76 each for 100 recorders.
This initiative to help Learning Centers develop music programs began to take shape last year when Christine Sanderson, UWSP Student expressed interest to volunteer. With her music background, she was the ideal way to introduce the flute or recorder classes. As of May 2014, there are now 14 participants in the flute classes at the Managua office, and as in Wisconsin, we’ve found it to be a motivating method to introduce children and youth to music.
The flute class initiative has spread to 6 more Learning Centers; Brazos de Amor, Carolina, Benito Pitito, Esther and Mate and Los Cedros/Madison (which had other music classes before). Each Learning Center received 10 flutes to establish this program. The flute classes started at the W/NP Managua office through the Lending Library and just 3 children started but every Wednesday and Thursday more children were adding to the current class of now 14 children. The program will continue spreading out into the Learning Center network so more flutes are needed to keep this initiative going and growing. Please contact the WI office if you are able to help. 715-346-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org
......and who doesn't love a great piece of cheese at the end of the day!
The Nicaraguan participants in the Learning Center Project are immensely grateful to all the women across Wisconsin that share in various ways to help this project continue. Some provide finances so supplies can be purchased in Nicaragua, others donate, transport, or pack sewing machines, craft supplies, fabric & notions, and still others travel and share time teaching. Each and every expression of support, so generously given, is vital, appreciated and important.
Learning Center classes are designed to include skill-building, personal dignity, and self-sufficiency, with a focus on employment for (rural) women and men. The program is focused on the care of families and communities, the encouragement of members to assume leadership responsibilities and strives for international understanding and friendship.
Nicaragua may not be the "Land of Milk and Honey" but it's on the way. Here's a picture of beekeeper Francisco with his first frames of honey. Chad C. from Madison, Wisconsin has been working with Francisco getting him started in bees.
Estos son los panale yeno de miel. "These are the frames full of honey." Thanks to Chad for the photo and translation.
A special thanks to George and Joanie from Stevens Point, Wisconsin for donating a honey extractor to the Nicaragua Bee Project. Muchas Gracias.
There's still opportunity for you to donate funds or bee equipment to the project. All donations are tax deductible and go directly to the Nicaragua Bee Project, supported by the Wisconsin-Nicaragua Partners of the Americas, Inc. Marty Havlovic
The most successful projects are the result of people in WI and Nicaragua working in harmony - and the “Firefighters United” project, coordinated by Dr. Brad Martin, is a classic example. The project has really brought together Wisconsin and Nicaraguan firefighters. W/NP began to ship fire trucks and ambulances to Nicaragua in 2000, and soon firefighters in both countries began to join in the activities. An average of three or more emergency vehicles are shipped each year, as well as firefighter coats, boots, helmets, air packs, hoses and other necessary equipment. 29 fire trucks (not including these) and 14 ambulances have been shipped to Nicaragua in coordination with the Denton Program. In Nicaragua, Comandante Jaime Delgado, Asociación Civil Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios de Nicaragua, coordinates the incoming shipments of EMS vehicles.
W/NP is immensely grateful for the Denton Program staff and coordinators, the ground and air crews who meticulously plan every detail, and the many Firefighters and Fire Departments that are always on the lookout for resources to share with their Nicaraguan counterparts.
Working together we make a difference.
A host of volunteers devoted Monday to loading four containers of approximately 50,000 lbs. of donations destined for Nicaragua from Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners (W/NP). The objective in all the programs, including shipping, is to strengthen the human capacity of all people involved – both in Wisconsin and in Nicaragua. Project materials and resources can be scarce in Nicaragua, and it is with the cooperation of people in Wisconsin that we are able to help supply the Nicaraguan coordinators and teachers with useful items to compliment the programs offered. 75% of the cargo will support the Learning Center Project activities throughout Nicaragua where women and men can gain technical and business skills that provide them with employment, income, self-sufficiency, dignity, and empowerment. W/NP strives for fairness and helping people along the way with the idea that they will be helping themselves. W/NP facilitates projects in 6 main categories of humanitarian assistance that promote self-determination, skill development and direct assistance that enable individuals to change the course of their lives toward a higher quality of existence.
Great attendance at the conference, which included birders, lake lovers, international travelers, researchers, water educators and managers, conservation organizations, and other Wisconsinites interested in the long-term health and vitality of a significant global resource: the people and communities of Lake Nicaragua!
Special thanks to.... Patrick Goggin and Eric Olsen for their efforts in organizing a well run and high quality event, Dr. Ronald Blandon, Elisa Estrada, Victor Cedeno, and Dinora Sandino for traveling all the way from Nicaragua to be part of the conference, and to Ellen Pies for spending 2 days at the W/NP booth introducing new people to W/NP and presenting beautiful items for sale from Nicaragua.
Purpose of the Lake Nicaragua session:
1. Introduce participants to issues affecting lakes around the world through the lens of Lake Nicaragua, Central America, and the 19th largest freshwater lake in the world. Dr. Ronald Blandon presented information about the new canal project being proposed for Lake Nicaragua by a Chinese company.
2. Learn from biologists, birders, and ecologists about the unique plants and animals of the Lake Nicaragua region and the efforts underway to conserve them such as cichlids, tarpon, water birds, and freshwater sharks.
3. Get glimpses into citizen-led water quality monitoring programs and science approaches to lake conservation; gain a better understanding of how lessons learned from these programs and research efforts can inform and provide a model to developing water quality monitoring stations on Lake Nicaragua.
4. Glean an understanding of the collaborations and community exchange programs and activities currently supported by assorted partners through the Partners of the Americas, Incorporated, the Wisconsin / Nicaragua Partnership, and the Earth Partnership for Schools.
5. Identify potential partnership opportunities and natural synergies that can be nurtured between programs and community members of Wisconsin and Nicaragua based partners [like the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, the College of Natural Resources, UWSP; the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership: University of Wisconsin-Extension Lakes; the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; and Wisconsin Lakes, as well as citizen volunteers, lake managers, lake-related businesses, artists and educators, lake leaders, etc.; the Wisconsin / Nicaragua Partners of the Americas, Incorporated; the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum Earth Partnership for Schools Program; the Farmer-to-Farmer, Partners of the Americas, Incorporated Nicaragua; Cooperative Extension; among others].
6. Network and share stories about capacity building, citizen action support, leadership, and natural resource conservation at a global to community/local scale.