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GiveLove began working in Nicaragua in October 2014 with a tour of Managua, Tipitapa, and the Atlantic coast region where we learned first-hand about sanitation and water issues. Program Director, Alisa Keesey, presented EcoSan case studies to community leaders, sanitation workers, teachers, WaterAid, BlueEnergy, the U.S. Embassy, the National University of Agriculture (UNA), and local government from three municipalities. In May 2015, our first Go-team travelled to Nicaragua to launch a six-week EcoSan Skills Training program, and two pilot projects with our partners, Sweet Progress and BlueEnergy.

In Tipitapa, we worked with women cooperatives from Sweet Progress to set up compost toilets at a primary school and several homes as part of our new rural household pilot. Our team spent two weeks working with women’s cooperatives to train-up five trainers in the principles of safe sanitation, toilet construction, and management of small-scale compost sites.

In Bluefields, we collaborated with the BlueEnergy team to map out the parameters of a regional EcoSan initiative, and began field trials for secondary composting of vault latrine material. BlueEnergy hosted a highly successful four-day EcoSan Training and Permaculture workshop that was attended by 35 participants. Our teams also made presentations at the research station at Wawasang, and visits to communities in Pearl Lagoon to assess local sanitation and water conditions, and to plan future trainings
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Sweet Progress

In 2015, Sweet Progress successfully launched its first Green School in Tipitapa — providing clean compost toilets for 350 kids. Together with GiveLove we’re expanding our skills training program to 50 families in the area, to teach people how to manage their own sanitation needs. Sweet Progress works with women, disadvantaged teenagers, and young adults in Tipitapa to support agricultural-based livelihoods and create employment opportunities through bio-intensive farming methods and beekeeping. In 2016, we’ll work with Sweet Progress to adapt an Agricultural Leadership program based on the Future Farmers of America (FFA) model in collaboration with Penn State University. GiveLove’s EcoSan Training program compliments their courses in bio-intensive farming and sustainable land-use by teaching people how to manage their own low-cost sanitation systems, and improving land fertility with organic fertilizers. Humanure composting can also protect water resources from contamination resulting from poorly constructed latrines and open defecation. Our partnership with Sweet Progress provides technical skills and professional training for families and teens in Tipitapa caught in a cycle of extreme poverty. We’re excited to find ways to develop local economies around safe sanitation and sustainable agriculture, and to expand our training of trainers program to other parts of the country.

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Blue Energy

Based in Bluefields, BlueEnergy brings energy, water, and sanitation solutions to some of the world’s most isolated and marginalized communities on the Caribbean coast within the context of climate change. The organization has a stellar track record mobilizing communities by fostering local action and resiliency, environmental sustainability and participatory development. Their local and international teams manage a wide range of projects, including: well drilling and community water management, urine-diversion toilets, bio-digesters, bio-intensive farming, and international development internships. In May 2015, GiveLove spent four weeks at the BlueEnergy headquarters working with their team to improve the management of vault latrines, and explore secondary composting and humanure systems. GiveLove is committed to working with BlueEnergy on a regional plan to develop appropriate sanitation solutions as they confront the unique climatic challenges, and water scarcity issues on the tropical Atlantic coast. By linking sanitation and water issues to broader discussions of climate change, GiveLove and BlueEnergy will help shape local dialogue and action on water scarcity and pollution issues.