05 April 2009

Center for Development in Central America

Center for Development in Central America (CDCA) is a nonprofit organization seeking to address human needs created by poverty in the Western Hemisphere's second poorest nation: Nicaragua. This mission is accomplished by helping communities become self-sufficient, sustainable, democratic entities. CDCA works with the Nicaraguan community to help them realize their own goals, rather than bringing in "ready made solutions."

CDCA's involvement includes community organization, a flexible approach to needs and priorities as they shift over time, identifying areas where the CDCA can be of service, and following through in those areas, while empowering Nicaraguans and gradually phasing out the need for CDCA's assistance.

The organization's projects are focused in the municipality of Ciudad Sandino, which has been a dumping ground for victims of natural disasters, and is located just outside the capital city of Managua. Ciudad Sandino is the most densely populated area of Nicaragua and the poorest urban area in Nicaragua, with an estimated 80% of the population lacking formal employment, and many living on less than $1.00 U.S per day. 

CDCA works in the following areas:
  • Sustainable economic development- developing long-term jobs so families can feed their own children
  • Sustainable agriculture- so that poor farmers don't lose their land
  • Primary health care- in the face of privatization of health care
  • Education- both technical training for Nicaraguans as well as education of first world volunteers both in the U.S. and Nicaragua
  • Appropriate technology- seeking to care for the earth as natural resources are consumed, and introducing work techniques that are maintainable
Since its founding in 1994, the organization has:
  • Organized 1,600 small farmers into a cooperative business to market their organic crops
  • Built three health centers and one school in rural communities
  • Built a preschool/feeding center in a community where they also got water and latrines to every house
  • Organized five cooperatives of workers from the poverty-stricken resettlement community of Nueva Vida (created in response to Hurricane Mitch in 1998)
  • Started a full-time health clinic to meet the health care needs of poor people in Ciudad Sandino
  • Hosted nearly 100 delegations and 400 individual volunteers in Nicaragua, all of whom go back to their homes and teach people about Nicaragua
  • Developed solar composting latrines, stoves that use less wood, and a bio-diesel project
For more information on CDCA's projects and how you can get involved, please visit their website.

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