‘Capacitación’ at SHI Nicaragua’s Training Center

Micro-Credit Officer Yolanda Fletes Rosales speaks to the group

Although it was a rainy day at Self Help’s office in Quinta Lidia, it did not stop local community members from attending a capacitación (training event). Some traveled by bus, while others traveled by motorcycle, spending their morning and early afternoon in the training center. There were approximately 25 participants in attendance, coming from 12 different communities (Pavon#2, La Culebra, Empalme Cruz Verde, Los Chiles, Las Azucenas, La Venada, El Chacalin, La Argentina, La Palmera, La Bodego #2, Nueva Jerusalem, and Acentimiento La Venada). There were 14 men and 2 women who participated in the Clean Water program, 4 women for the Micro-Credit Program, and 5 men who participated in the QPM program.

Program Director Jorge Campos Solis greets group

The meeting commenced at 8:30 in the morning, with fresh cups of coffee and a room full of participants gathering around a table eager to learn.  The national anthem and prayer followed the welcome, and Country Program Director Jorge introduced the mission and vision of the organization.  He also gave a quick lesson on the importance of receiving proper nutrients in family’s diets, while presenting the benefits of the QPM program and what it has to offer. A sample of the corn grown outside the office was passed around the table for farmers to observe.

After the Director’s introduction, Clean Water Program Officer Orlando, used a visual presentation to demonstrate the importance of having clean water in communities.  Photos of contaminated water and treated water of a local project were shown on the wall, accompanied by a video showing the process to treat the water systems. Officer Orlando then shared with the group his five-year plan, discussing the goals of the organization to have 115,000 individuals in 25 communities receive 150 chlorinator systems by the year 2020.

Peace Corps volunteer Michael explains the importance of micro-credit programs

New to the group for this capacitación was Peace Corps Volunteer Michael. After the officers gave him a warm welcome and brief introduction, he assisted Officer Yolanda Fletes and Communications Intern Jacqueline Steinkamp in a visual presentation for micro-credit loans.  Together, the three broke down the rules and opportunities that the program offers to women in rural communities.  It wasn’t long before hands shot up in the air, ready to launch questions.

To engage participants, Intern Jacqueline asked the group some true or false questions as a way to strip away the stigmas that can sometimes be associated with women in the workforce.  By teaching the women and men of the communities that the success rate for these loans are between 95-98% globally, they can gain more confidence that their business can be a success.

After the presentations were over, participants received a tasty lunch that consisted of chicken, rice, beans, salad, and a sweet beverage for participating. Having a strong background in engineering, the Peace Corps Volunteer was in high demand following the meeting. Men gathered to ask him questions about the water systems in communities, while women gathered to ask him questions about his design for a local pen that will be constructed for pigs.

Women received toothbrushes and paste for their families

Officer Yolanda and intern Jackie passed out a toothbrush and toothpaste to each woman, to thank them for traveling such a long distance to attend the event.  These items are given to improve hygiene of children and families, while providing incentives for their hard work.  Overall, the program was a success.  The staff in Self-Help International’s Nicaraguan office look forward to hosting another training event next month!