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NICARAGUA CATTLEMAN'S ASSOCIATION RECEIVES NUTRITION AND FORAGE MANAGEMENT TRAINING

The Cattleman's Association of Nicaragua (Comisión Nacional de Ganaderos - CONAGAN) held their third Congress from July 23-25, 2012. The Congress brings together over 400 participants including leading dairy experts from both the public and private sectors from across Central America and hosts forums on milk and meat production, food processing, markets and a variety of other topics. To help provide training on the beef and dairy industry and nutrition, Dr. Lawton Stewart, Assistant Professor and Extension Animal Scientist at the University of Georgia traveled to Managua, Nicaragua July 22 - August 5, 2012. Dr. Stewart provided several lectures. One lecture was entitled "The Price and Market for Beef and the Challenges for Competing in the Global Meat Market," another lecture covered the trends in the US beef industry and projections for the next decade and a third discussed the impact of forage management on nutrition. At the conclusion of the Congress, Stewart traveled to San Miguelito in the south to visit the National Agrarian University (Universidad Nacional Agraria) and met with dairy producers to discuss nutrition, forage management, and the basics of cross breeding. Stewart also taught participants in San Carlos and Nandaime about nutrition and forages, genetic selection, and building the racks to dry hay during the rainy season. Stewart also traveled to the north and provided training in Camoapa and Boaco. Stewart supplied participants with many techniques to improve their pasture management including removing weed species and rotating grazing to maximize grass growth and nutrition. Stewart suggested farmers harvest grasses at a lower height and cut grass at a higher residual height to increase the digestibility of the harvested forage and the rate of regrowth.

 

FAVACA VOLUNTEERS HELP TO IMPROVE DAIRY HEALTH IN NICARAGUA

The Cooperative of San Fracisco de Asis (Cooperativa San Francisco de Asís), the Cooperative of Masiguito (Cooperativa Masigüito) and the Cattlemen's Association of Camoapa (La Asociación de Ganaderos de Camoapa - ASOGACAM) are several dairy associations in Nicaragua that have been noticing a reduction in milk production and quality. Dairy producers believe this reduction is due to inadequate nutrition levels and general bovine health. To help combat these problems, the dairy associations requested assistance from Partners of the Americas and FAVACA to train dairy farmers and animal science students on improving nutrition and bovine health to increase milk production and quality. Dairy specialists and veterinarian Dr. Christopher Barton and Emily Barton of Lancaster, Pennsylvania traveled to Nicaragua June 30-July 14, 2012 to work with dairy farmers in Managua, Camoapa and Boaca. The Bartons provided comprehensive training on dairy nutrition and bovine health at the CONAGAN facility in Managua and held similar trainings with dairy associations in  Camoapa and Boaca. They offered instruction to university students, farm owners, and farm workers covering the transition period, dystocia, uterine torsion, uterine prolapse, epidural anesthesia, the importance of colostrum, mastitis, brucellosis and tuberculosis, nutrition and supplementation, and profitability introduction. After talking with dairy farmers and viewing their fields, the volunteers suggested improving pasture management and quality. Similarly, the volunteers recommended focusing attention on the storage of forage for use during the dry season.  Lastly, the FAVACA volunteers presented a hands-on demonstration of a Caesarian section allowing participants to take part in the procedure. 

 

FORAGE MANAGEMENT IN NICARAGUA

The dairy industry is a major driving force in the Nicaraguan economy, yet the industry encounters production challenges in milk quality and quantity during the dry season.  To achieve higher nutritional rates throughout the year, dairy farmers need to better manage the production and conservation of forages. The Foundation for Development (Fundacion Para el Desarrollo - FUPADE), and the Lacteos Nicarao and San Felipe Cooperatives requested training in tropical forage management.  FAVACA in collaboration with Partners of the Americas recruited Bisoondat Macoon, Assistant Research Professor at Mississippi State University's Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center, to travel to Nicaragua to work with local dairy farmers on tropical forage management from June 15-29, 2012.  Macoon visited farm operations in Santa Gertrudis, La Puebla, Los Gomes, Santa Teresa, El Jabeo, Las Pampas, Boaco and Camoapa districts of Nicaragua to view forage techniques and offer suggestions to improve management issues.  Macoon felt producers had a good understanding of the need for pasture management and some form of rotational stocking management was being utilitized.  However management techniques for quality and persistence were less well understood.  Therefore, the volunteer's training underscored guidelines to achieve optimum pasture quality while also ensuring persistence of the desirable forage species.  Macoon recommended the producers utilize improved forage species such as a pasture legume and plan to rotate grazing in order to allow for a 21-28-day rest period.  Rest periods of greater than 28 days decrease the quality of the pastures.  As a result of the training, dairy producers now have a better understanding of getting the most nutrition from their forages and rotating their fields to increase cow nutrition.


BEEKEEPING EXPANDED IN NICARAGUA

Currently, beekeeping is a very lucrative alternative for many small farmers in Nicaragua and the amount of investment required for apiculture is much less than in other agricultural activities. The environment is favorable for producing organic honey, which is in high demand in the international market; yet, there is a lack of knowledge regarding apiary management, extraction costs and honey packaging, and a high level of Africanized bees limiting beekeeping development in Nicaragua.  Likewise, there is a lack of implementation of seasonal rotation to increase yields.  Partners of the Americas field staff on behalf of beekeepers in Nicaragua requested assistance from an apiary management expert to improve honey production, hive maintenance and pest management especially varroa mites - a principal cause of production loss and if left untreated could destroy the hive.  FAVACA enlisted the help of John Gamache, an advanced beekeeper from Ocala, Florida to provide training to Nicaraguan beekeepers.

Gamache traveled to Boaco, Nicaragua and met with the Cooperative of Women Beekeepers(Cooperativa Mujeres de Apicultura).  He provided a lecture on sanitation during extraction, pest management issues, queen marking, and winter feeding options. Similar presentations were provided to the Cooperative of Happy Bees (Cooperativa Abejitas Feliz) in Boaco Viejo, Nicaragua.  Many beekeepers were interested in learning alternative methods for getting rid of the varroa mite such as the use of powdered sugar.

Gamache spent the second week in Matagalpa and Cua meeting with more than four cooperatives to discuss hive management issues and pest management issues.  These cooperatives had recently received free Thymol packs to help treat for varroa mites. Gamache then traveled to Matiguas to meet with Cooperative Kirrawa and the Cooperative Obreritas in San Ramon to provide training on hive production and pest management.

While providing the training, Gamache noted that the majority of hives were healthy and making honey.  He observed the terrain has more impact on honey production than management practices.  In more arid areas the bees didn't have the reserves seen in more lush areas.  Gamache also noticed that most of the cooperatives have a least one experienced beekeeper and they oversee the others.  He recommended that regional representatives of the cooperatives get together quarterly to discuss what is going on with their hives and report any maladies.

DAIRY INDUSTRY INCREASES KNOWLEDGE IN REPRODUCTION
The dairy industry in Nicaragua is an important and growing sector of the economy.  Improvements in the quality and quantity of milk have led to a steady rise in profits for dairy farmers; however not all dairy farmers have had access to training and many are concerned with the poor health of cows during pregnancy resulting in the loss of calf and cow.  To help provide training to veterinarians and cattle farmers in dealing with birthing problems (dystocia), Dr. Harry Momont, Clinical Associate Professor of Theriogenology at the Department of Medical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine, traveled to Nicaragua February 17-March 3, 2012.

Broadly, Dr. Momont focused his attention on providing dairy farmers with techniques for preventing and controlling diseases and physiological disorders in cows that might endanger pregnancies, births, or milk production with a focus on practical training for dairy farmers and livestock technicians.  Momont worked at a local dairy where he evaluated the non-lactating adult cows on the farm, administering prophylactic medication and training farm personnel in pregnancy diagnosis.  Discussions included mineral supplementation, body condition scoring of cattle, general aspects of dairy management and structure of the dairy industry in Nicaragua.

Momont trained technicians to perform artificial insemination while also focusing on breeding management, pregnancy diagnosis and obstetrics.  Hands-on practical training in artificial insemination and pregnancy diagnosis techniques were done on farm allowing for continued reinforcement of the theory presented in lecture and the opportunity to expand the discussion to include general aspects of animal husbandry and dairy management.  During the last few days, Momont and the participants performed a full term c-section operation to teach technicians how to perform this emergency procedure during a pregnancy complication.  Participants helped to prep the cow for surgery by clipping and scrubbing the incision site.  Momont demonstrated techniques for both paravertebral and line-block anesthesia.  The delivery and closure were routine and the calf and cow recovered uneventfully.

FIREFIGHTING SKILLS ENHANCED IN NICARAGUA

Established in 1936, the Volunteer Firefighters of Managua (Benemerito Cuerpo de Bomberos) of Managua is comprised of a coalition of firefighters who volunteer their time to provide emergency services throughout the capital. The organization is not supported by government funding, equipment is severely limited, and most of the equipment is provided from sources outside of Nicaragua.  Access to formal training, such as how to properly enter a building or how to tactically set up when arriving at a fire, is needed.  To help improve the quality of firefighting and to ensure that all firefighters fight fires safely, the Benemerito Cuerpo de Bomberos requested the support of FAVACA to provide training to increase the capacity of the volunteer firefighters. Richard Gonzalez, a paramedic with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Eloy Ricardo an engineer with North Naples Fire and Rescue along with Norman "Eddy" Contreras of Coral Gables Fire Rescue traveled to Managua April 10-20, 2011. While in Nicaragua, the FAVACA volunteers provided training on fire-hose deployment and tactics with a special emphasis on properly packing the hose on a fire truck and deploying the hose strategically due to the lack of length the firefighters have to work with in Nicaragua.  Driver training was provided to teach the appropriate way for drivers to pull up to the pumps including basic pumping and hydraulics which in turn provides the necessary hose pressure to fight a fire.  The FAVACA team also provided training on search and rescue tactics in smoke filled rooms whereby the firefighters were taught to feel their way through a structure by touching a hose to locate a trapped or lost firefighter. For structures with multiple stories, the Florida firefighters provided lessons on the placement and mechanics of ground ladders to allow teams to enter or extract people from a second story or higher.  Lastly, the team provided training on car extraction by cutting into the car and set up a live burn simulation to help provide participants with techniques to extinguish a car fire.

STRATEGIC TOURISM PLAN IN NICARAGUA DEVELOPED

The Association of Hotels and Restaurants for the Development of Tourism in Bilwi (Asociación de Hoteles y Restaurantes para el Desarrollo Turístico de Bilwi) {ASHORDES} is an association of tourism service providers that cares for the common interests of tourism by providing training programs to their members to better serve domestic and foreign visitors and who strives to increase the economic development of the local community.  The town of Puerto Cabezas is currently constructing an international airport allowing direct access to the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua.  With the increase of tourists to the area, ASHORDES needs to develop a municipal tourism strategic plan which encompasses each sector of the tourism industry in Puerto Cabezas.  ASHORDES requested the assistance of FAVACA to help provide an expert to work with select restaurants, hotels, and entertainment operations to help develop a strategic tourism development plan for the region to meet the demands of an increase in tourism. 

From March 17-20, 2011, Yvette Batalla, the founder of YB Consulting, a Miami based communications consulting firm that caters to clients in the travel, hospitality, consumer and business-to-business industries, agreed to work with members of ASHORDES to develop a strategic development and marketing plan. While in Nicaragua, Batalla toured various facilities in Puerto Cabezas and interviewed the owners and employees about the services they offer, their marketing strategy, and technological capacity to reach tourist. Through these interviews and site visits, Batalla provided each business with guidance on how to further market their business to domestic and international markets. Upon her return to Miami, Batalla developed a strategic development and marketing plan for each individual enterprise as well as a comprehensive strategic tourism plan for the entire city of Puerto Cabezas.

DAIRY MANAGEMENT IN NICARAGUA IMPROVE PROFITS FOR DAIRY FARMERS

The profitability of dairy farms is not always clear because there is a lack of adequate control and accounting systems (incomes and expenditures) leading to uncertainty among producers  of knowing which dairy activities yield profits and which activities do not. Proper dairy farm administration requires skills in accounting but also an understanding of the whole production system and how to make best use of the natural resources. Farmers also have to make decisions regarding their farms potential in relation to opportunities in the market. ASOGACAM Association (Cattleman's Association Camoapa), Lacteos Nicarao Rivas Cooperative, Cattleman's Association San Jose de los Remates, San Francisco Cooperative, and Masigüito Cooperative requested the assistance of a dairy manager.  Stephanie Ward, Assistant Professor of Diary Nutrition and Management, at Mississippi State University agreed to provide the dairy associations with the requested dairy management training December 5-19, 2010.

Ward worked with agriculture extension agents from the cooperatives on the importance of farm planning and administration. Ward provided a variety of techniques that the extension agents could replicate for their personal use and teach other co-op members.  Training extension agents on working with farmers in managing basic accounting systems/book keeping (incomes and expenditures) also helped the extension agents work with the farmers on simple business plans that will yield greater profitability. Proper administration practices were identified by the volunteer as a key to improving production, controlling finances, conserving natural resources and increasing personal income. After this assignment, the extension agents now have the capacity to identify and assess the different administrative components to a dairy farm and are able to make the more appropriate decisions in regards to economic profitability of dairy farm activities.

GRAIN STORAGE IN NICARAGUA HELP DAIRY FARMERS

The dairy value chain in Nicaragua depends on milk production based on tropical fodder of grains and legumes.  The peak growing season for these crops coincides with the rainy season (May - November) during which time they are available for dairy production. However, reduced rainfalls during the dry season (December - April) negatively impact dairy production and cattle health due to the lack of high quality feed.  Increasing the availability of fodder resources during the entire year would help maintain levels of production and productivity on dairy farms by allowing for planting, cultivation and storage of grains during the rainy season.  Current problems with grain storage reduce the quantity and quality of grains for feed and greatly impact cattle nutrition. Jason Ward, Extension Associate, at Mississippi State University's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering traveled to Nicaragua December 5-19, 2010 to work with extension agents to analyze the availability of cattle feed during the dry season. Ward trained technicians and producers on a variety of feed storage systems with an emphasis in grain storage post-harvest.  Lastly, Ward trained the technicians and producers on how to construct harvest systems and grain storage for cattle feed.

ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF VALUE CHAIN IN NICARAGUA

The dairy sector in Nicaragua is a growing industry in Nicaragua and one that has the ability to increase their market share both domestically and internationally.  Yet, the dairy industry has significant challenges to overcome in order to become an industry leader in dairy production and products.  The most significant problem dairy producers face is the low milk yields (5-10 liters/day) per cow which is significantly higher in other countries.  Dairy cooperatives and their producer base will also need to improve their competitive position by increasing their product quality and lowering the cost of production to maintain their economic feasibility in the international marketplace. 

Partners of the Americas has provided a variety of dairy experts in the past several years to work with dairy cooperatives throughout the country to increase the capacity and quality of dairy products while also increasing the nutrition of cattle through increased forage techniques and nutritional supplements.  Dairy farmers have started to implement new technologies and feeding standards which have produced some positive results; however, most farmers do not have an accounting method which encapsulates all of the associated costs and income generated to allow dairy producers to know if they are making a profit by instituting these new practices. Partners of the Americas requested veteran FAVACA volunteer Michael McGuire, Vice-President for Joint Ventures with Reiter Affiliated in Monterey, California to travel to Nicaragua November 7-21, 2010 to provide an economic analysis of the technologies and practices applied by dairy cooperatives. 

McGuire met with members of the Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) {Instituto Nicaragüense de Tecnología Agropecuaria}, the government's agricultural research agency, to work on implementing a publication to be used by extension staff to teach record-keeping to dairy farmers.  McGuire collaborated with several managers from dairy processors to help calculate the cost of production for their individual products which will help with formulating a pricing and marketing strategy.  Likewise, McGuire was able to work with dairy cooperative field staff in creating formats to evaluate the economic impact of technical recommendations made by earlier volunteers. For instance, an expert on forage recommended growing King Grass for dry season feeding to the San Francisco of Asis Cooperative {Cooperative San Francisco de Asis} who followed their recommendation and harvested 17 silage (animal fodder that is made by storing green plant material in a silo where it is preserved by partial fermentation) bales which would be fed to livestock the following season.  To cut, harvest, grind and bale the King Grass, it took 22 man-days which will need to be compared to the final output in milk and dairy products to see if the benefits outweigh the costs of providing the grass. McGuire was able to help create a record-keeping ledger which will help producers track their expenses and the profits generated and help farmers analyze which technologies help to increase their profits.  Lastly, McGuire was able to provide a training to dairy farmers and field staff on record-keeping and calculating costs and returns using a Spanish language spreadsheet for small dairy producers that captures income and expenses and calculates monthly and annual returns.  As a result of the training, dairy farmers are now able to manage their records and track expenses and profits. 

ADVANCES IN PASTURE FORAGE IMPROVES DAIRY FARMS IN NICARAGUA

The dairy value chain in Nicaragua is based on milk produced from tropical forage that has its growing cycle and development coincide with the rainy season (May - November), which in turn effects the growth during the dry season (December - April). When the waters levels diminish the pasture and forage reduce drastically, affecting milk production and cattle health. To guarantee the quality and quantity of milk produced on dairy farms, the agricultural coops of San Francisco de Asís, Masegüito Cooperative, Lacteos Nicarao Cooperative and students from UNA Camoapa and UNI Managua, all associated with Partners of the Americas, requested a forage and water resource specialist to train farmers  to more effectively manage resources in pastures and farms.  Yoana Cecilia Newman, Assistant Professor at the University of Florida's Agronomy Department in Gainesville traveled to Managua, Nicaragua June 1-16, 2010. Newman's research at the university focuses on forage systems for livestock production, nutrient management, and alternative uses for traditional and new landowners.  While in Nicaragua, Newman carried out an assessment of the milk production systems in relation to the availability of water for cattle and the production of forage in several different agro-ecological regions.  After evaluating the availability of water and the pasture quality, Newman trained farmers and technicians on basic forage production focusing on specific forage plants, forage quality and pasture management.  Newman recommended to farmers to grow more legumes in pastures such as perennial peanuts and to plant a grass called Brachiaria as a base to increase the nutrition of dairy cows.  As a result of the training, Newman was able to provide farmers with a forage calendar for Nicaragua which instructs farmers to plant certain forage and legumes in their pastures during specific times of the year.

SPECIAL NEEDS CENTER RECEIVES TRAINING IN EQUINE ASSISTED THERAPY

Special needs children in Nicaragua have limited access to therapies or activities with the exception of Los Mimados, a horse therapy center located in the heart of Managua that treats more than 300 children per week. The children ages 2-18 receive free physical therapy treatment both in the traditional sense and also by touching, riding, and enjoying horses. The staff has over three years of experience creating individualized therapy programs for children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, burn victims, and more. In order to make sure that they were providing the best care possible they requested an expert professional horse therapist to help them update their techniques, technology, and safety standards. First time volunteers, Dr. Giselle Faubel and Dr. Jane Burrow of Equus for Humanity, responded to the need for training. Dr. Faubel of Weston, Florida is a State of Florida licensed Clinical Psychologist, as well as a School Psychologist and a Mental Health Counselor. She is a NARHA certified Equestrian Instructor and Equine Facilitated Mental Health Professional. Dr. Burrows of Miami Beach Florida is a certified Hippotherapy Specialist and physical therapist.  She currently works with special needs populations at Equus for Humanity Foundation. They traveled from April 19-22 to provide hands on training for the 8 member staff of Los Mimados and additional training for 15 teachers from the special needs school affiliated with the center. Their interactive training allowed the parents of the children to learn about the benefits of the therapy and gave the staff new ideas for treatment. Dr. Faubel and Dr. Burrow advised the staff and teachers in the latest safety precautions for therapy using horses allowing the children to ride and enjoy the outdoors and gain self esteem and other valuable life skills.

NICARAGUANS RECEIVE DISASTER RESPONSE TRAINING

The Volunteer Firefighters of Managua (Benemerito Cuerpo de Bomberos) of Managua was established in 1936. These volunteers have years of experience in disaster response but have minimal formal training. In light of the earthquakes around the region, the firefighters sought formal training in first response to supplement their experience in disaster response and wanted an opportunity to learn about new technologies and training techniques. More than 50 firefighters from stations around Nicaragua participated in the training and will be sharing their knowledge with their squads in the upcoming weeks. Michael Lopez of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Norman "Eddy" Contreras of Coral Gables Fire Rescue provided interactive training from March 5-12, 2010. Their generous donations of their time, training materials, and equipment has better prepared the city of Managua and surrounding areas to respond to a variety of disasters. The volunteers taught basic first aid, trauma response, back boarding, mass casualty, and scene assessment and procedure. The participants were certified in CPR and received training in using the Jaws of Life, which was donated by the Orlando Fire Department.

POST HARVEST TRAINING FOR CACAO FARMERS

The cacao farmers in Masatepe were lured into the cash crop of cacao several years ago with aspirations to reach the growing market for organic chocolate lovers. They began planting and have overcome many obstacles but they lacked the technology and skills to bring their small farms to a more profitable level. Despite attempts to solicit training from local entities they had never been able to receive the training they needed in post harvest technology or agri-business. Masatepe is traditionally not a region that cacao is grown and local organizations had ignored their plea for years. The Association Institute of Development and Management of Basin Hydraulics [Asociacion Instituto de Desarollo y Manejo de las Cuencas Hidricas] (IDEMACH) began working with cacao farmers in environmental protection two years ago, but they have worked with the rural poor throughout Masatepe to sustainably manage their resources and rebuild the environment for the past four years. When the farmers in San Jose de Masatepe requested training in cacao post harvest techniques IDEMACH lacked the technical experience in cacao and immediately began looking for support from FAVACA in order to facilitate the requested training. Trent Blare from Gainesville, Florida volunteered with local farmers and IDEMACH from March 9-18, 2010. Blare visited farms and farmers throughout the region, providing on-farm advice and suggestions and trained more than 130 cacao farmers through a series of agro-business conferences held while he was there.  IDEMACH Executive Director, Francisco Porras, collaborated with other organizations and farming groups throughout the region to ensure maximum impact.

NICARAGUAN WEBSITE DESIGN LINKS INDIGENOUS WOMEN TO NEW MARKETS 

The Association of Indigenous Women in the Atlantic Coast (AMICA- la Asociacion de Mujeres Indigenas de la Costa Atlantica) is an indigenous women's group which promotes the integral development of indigenous woman, the defense of their rights, the participation of woman in the decision-making process in their communities, and the integration of indigenous women into economic activities. AMICA offers a variety of programs such as women and the environment, women in politics and public policy, women and reproductive rights, as well as continuing education classes on sewing, cooking, and computer literacy. In order to help expand the courses offered by AMICA in computer literacy and small business development, AMICA requested assistance in website design from FAVACA to help local businesswomen to market their products to a larger audience. Miami resident and FAVACA volunteer Greg Gordon of CRsurf agreed to travel to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua June 28-July 9, 2009 to work with AMICA and twelve other groups by providing a training on website design. Many of the participating organizations were small businesses, women's groups and community groups.

In March 2009 FAVACA hosted and facilitated workshops on entrepreneurship, tourism and small business development during a 10-day exchange program for 29 Nicaraguan entrepreneurs in Miami, Florida. One of these workshops, which focused on webpage development and Internet promotion, was given by Greg Gordon from CRsurf. As a result of the March training, more than half of the group has designed web pages, and most of the others have an Internet presence through the creation of blogs, Facebook, Myspace pages, and other social networking sites.

NICARAGUAN NGO RECEIVES TRAINING ON BUSINESS PLANNING AND AGRICULTURAL MARKETS

Fundacion Fenix is a nongovernmental organization (NGO) located just outside Managua whose main objective is to develop activities and programs to prevent drug use amongst children and teenagers as well as the promotion of the integral development for vulnerable groups. Fundacion Fenix has been working to develop sources that can provide a secure form of funds for their outreach program. The NGO recently obtained 8 acres of arable land with an irrigation system and postharvest facility. Fundacion Fenix requested a FAVACA volunteer to help establish the agri-business center and provide training in order to achieve their goal of increased production. The demand for produce is on the rise and Foundation Fenix has the land and resources to meet this demand with the appropriate training and plan. Volunteer Frank Lam, with the Interamerican Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in Miami, Florida traveled to Managua, Nicaragua April 20-26, 2009 to provide an overall training to local farmers and Fundacion Fenix on technical knowledge that would vastly improve their production as well as on how to create a business plan. The 55 farmers affiliated with the project grow organic fair wage products on their own land and have been working alongside Fundacion Fenix to maximize the use of their agri-business center. Lam connected the NGO to the World Bank and secured a $5,000 grant to improve the agri-business center. Additionally the local IICA office has provided a scholarship for a member of the organization to participate in an irrigation seminar, and the local IICA office has granted the NGO a weekly technical support specialist for follow up. Lam has also been working with the partner since his return to help them create a business plan. It is expected that Fundacion Fenix will finish their business plan by May 18, 2009. The business plan will help the organization better understand their short and medium term goals, current and new markets, activities to collect the produce from local farmers, resources, means of first payment, and financial support. Lam will be traveling back to Nicaragua in June with his own funding to continue partnering with Fundacion Fenix.

ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER AND LANDFILL ADMINISTRATOR VISITS NICARAGUA TO ASSIST IN WASTE MANAGEMENT

First time volunteers Kathy Gaynor and Rosemary Bottcher, both from Tallahassee traveled to the community of Telpaneca, Nicaragua June 23-29, 2007 to provide technical assistance on waste management. Confronted with a variety of issues such as unauthorized dumping of garbage, inappropriate disposal of medical waste and the potential contamination of the Coco River and Gulf of Mexico, David Martinez requested technical assistance from FAVACA. Martinez, executive director of the Association of Professional and Technical Personnel for the Development of Telpaneca needed expertise from the Florida volunteers to document the existing conditions, evaluate the proposed sanitary landfill in Telpaneca and petition the regional government for a permit to operate a landfill. Assisted by Angela Tang, Peace Corps volunteer and translator, Gaynor, Bottcher and Martinez met local officials and visited several community dumping sites. After a thorough evaluation of the environmental conditions, the Florida volunteers concluded that the solid waste landfill under consideration in Telpaneca was grossly inadequate for the placement of solid waste including biomedical waste and recommended that community leaders pursue the development of a regional landfill with the community of Palacagüina near the Coco River watershed area. Given the environmental conditions and grading of terrain at Telpaneca, it was observed that it would not be possible to mitigate the contamination of such river through the use of engineering controls. Other recommendations included the consideration for public or private collection and transportation of waste, a recycle program involving plastics, incineration or burial of biomedical wastes and consistent enforcement of current community regulations involving waste. Bottcher worked for thirteen years and until retirement as a hazardous waste manager for Leon County. Her duties included managing a landfill, supervising asbestos disposal, conducting random inspections of loads entering the landfill and serving as a consultant on waste management to fourteen counties in Florida. As a former environmental engineer with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and owner of Global Garbage, Ltd. Co. Gaynor specialized in managing applications and variances for solid waste landfill permits, planning for the management of industrial waste recycling and assessing human health risks in connection with the recycling of industrial by-products.

TRAINING PROFESSIONALS ASSIST IN THE PREVENTION OF SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN NICARAGUA.

The Association for the Defense of Women's Rights in Nicaragua (Asociación para la Defensa de los Derechos de las Mujeres Nicaragüenses in Spanish), interested in expanding its services to help women who are victims of sexual and domestic violence in the community, requested staff training from FAVACA. Katia Suarez, executive director and current advocate for helping women in prison, noted that the Nicaraguan communities increasingly needed an intrafamilial community program for the prevention of violence against women and mitigating the impact of violence on children. First time volunteers Minerva Figueroa and Grace Frances, both from Tallahassee traveled to Managua June 2-9, 2007 to conduct a training workshop that included the dynamics of sexual and domestic violence, the legal system and how rape crisis and domestic violence programs are implemented and administered. Twelve participants attended the sessions including six attorneys from the Women's Rights Division of the Central Government in Nicaragua. The volunteers also shared their knowledge and skills by addressing topics such as safety planning, psychological services, use of hotline to report violence, advocacy and public education, community surveying, outreach programs and the use of volunteers. They also shared printed materials on the prevention of violence and made available a computerized presentation for training purposes. Grace Frances is the director of the Training and Technical Assistance Department at the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV), and provides training to a variety of local, statewide and national groups on sexual violence issues. She directs the Advocacy Core Training program and teaches the required curriculum to Florida's rape crisis center direct service staff and volunteers. She currently serves as a volunteer victim advocate at the Refuge House, Tallahassee's rape crisis center, and as a volunteer telephone crisis intervention counselor at 211 Big Bend. Figueroa works for the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence as a domestic violence training specialist. She provides training and technical assistance to domestic violence centers in Florida and designs and implements training curriculums and workshops regarding issues relevant to Teen Violence, Domestic Violence, Children, Case Management, Ethics and Anti-Oppression. As a Domestic Violence Advocate in the State of Massachusetts, Figueroa collaborated as one of fourteen authors in the development and implementation of a training curriculum entitled: Domestic Violence, A Guide to Screening and Intervention.

NICARAGUA MANAGES POTABLE WATER RESOURCES.

First time volunteer Sal Arnaldo, Tallahassee traveled to Managua, Nicaragua October 14-21, 2006. Arnaldo is a professional civil engineer employed by the City of Tallahassee Water Utility Department. Marisol Hernandez, president of Nicaragua Resource Development Foundation (NRDF) requested a FAVACA volunteer to conduct training workshops for preventing waterborne diseases in Nicaraguan communities. In order to address this serious health issue, Arnaldo conducted training in sustainable methods for potable water handling such as filtration and solar disinfection, anaerobic wastewater treatment, and the protection of source waters. Arnaldo visited the cities of Managua, Granada, Masaya, Chinandega, and El Viejo conducting workshops and leading field trips to several well drilling sites, storage tank sites, and landfill sites. A total of 26 persons received training, which will be passed on to other members of the community such as students, volunteers, and community leaders.
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