Irrigation Systems Mean Hope In Face of Drought

The first half of 2013 left many Nicaraguan farmers in despair as crops and animals died. But Luis Robles has hope for the future after CEPAD installed an irrigation system to help farmers in his community.

Luis, 23, leads the Community Development Committee in Malacatoya, a rural community outside of San Jose de los Remates, some 96 kms from Managua, the capital city. This year, he and two other farmers were able to irrigate their crops thanks to a motorized irrigation system that pumps water to their farms. This system will allow them to harvest basic crops year round to provide food for their families and to increase their income.

“Because of climate change, the drought this year was long and hard,” Luis said. “We had enough clean water to drink, but we didn’t have enough water to cultivate. So, it was amazing when CEPAD brought us the irrigation system and trained us how to use it.”

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Water Flows at CEPANA Thanks to Baltimore Youth

A donation from the Christian Temple CYF youth delegation from Baltimore, Maryland allowed CEPAD to repair the potable water system at CEPANA, our farm in the Matagalpa region. We are so thankful for this water, and for Christian Temple’s gift!

Water at CEPANA Farm

Potable water is now available throughout CEPANA, CEPAD’s farm. CEPAD’s Matagalpa director, Juan Carlos Palma, shows off the system.


The system has been out of commission for more than a year after thieves stole the electrical wiring necessary to make the well run and to carry the water throughout the farm. CEPANA provides a site for training farmers in sustainable agriculture methods as well as hosting delegations and other groups. Read more

Plantain Cooperative Expands Economic Opportunities

Farmers in Nueva Guinea this week signed an agreement with the San Antonio bank to create a new cooperative plantain business that leader Yalena Hernandez Serrano said will help producers earn an additional $2,500 per year.CEPAD helped the farmers organize and implement the new business plan with financial and planning support from Episcopal Relief and Development. So far, 13 farmers have signed up to participate in the Allianza Productiva de Platano, also called APROPLAT, and about 80 are interested.

“We’ll do training on how to grow the plantains, the responsibilities of the project, and how to sell commercially,” said Yalena. “I love farming life, and I’m excited to help lead this project. We’ll sell in Nicaragua to start, and we hope to be able to sell internationally as well.”

CEPAD will help provide that training. A cooperative model is a great fit for rural farmers, said CEPAD program director Evenor Jerez.

“The law permits them incentives when they participate in cooperatives like better prices on tools and fertilizer,” Evenor said.

The San Antonio bank is a cooperative bank that CEPAD started 18 years ago to promote fair commerce. They provide loans at manageable interest rates as well as infrastructural guidance.

We hope that with this great network of support – CEPAD, Episcopal Relief and Development, and the bank – the farmers can expand their businesses and learn new skills. An additional $2,500 per year in income would mean a drastic improvement in quality of life for many farmers in Nueva Guinea. Although the project is still in the early stages, the participating farmers are committed and motivated by a hope that radiates from the bright green plantain trees growing on their farms.

CEPAD Fights Violence Through Education

Half of Nicaraguan women experience violence at the hands of a husband, partner or family member. In CEPAD’s psychosocial program, we work directly with women to help them learn what their rights are and how to report abuse.The primary legislation against gender and family violence in Nicaragua is the Integral Law Against Violence Against Women, or Ley 779, which passed last year. This law expands on previous anti-violence laws and includes protections for physical, psychological and sexual abuse. This article provides a great history and summary of the law. This article provides great background in English on the history and details of the law.But for the legislation to affect women, they have to know about it. That’s where CEPAD comes in. We train women in our 43 partner on how to identify domestic violence and abuse and how to respond to it. Last week, CEPAD staff went to the Pantasma region of Jinotega and conducted a workshop with 13 women from seven communities about the law. Read more

Pray for CEPAD as We Aim to Resolve Property Dispute

Update: As of Sept. 6, we have regained access to the Nehemias property with the help of police. Our delegation and partner staff members expect to resume working from the offices there on Monday. We will continue to work toward a longterm resolution to the dispute over ownership of the property and are in the process of renovating a currently unused CEPAD facility in Managua. We request your continued prayers and support.

The following is a letter from CEPAD delegation coordinator Doug Orbaker on behalf of executive director Damaris Albuquerque.

Dear friends of CEPAD,As many of you know, the property of CEPAD Nehemias (like a lot of property in Nicaragua) has been in litigation for some time.  Now the final court decision is that CEPAD is not the owner of that property, even though CEPAD purchased this property in good faith in 1994.

In February the new “owner” placed a crossing gate and armed guards at the entrance to the property, but did not restrict access.  However, on the morning of August 24, these guards were directed to not allow anyone to enter for any purpose related to CEPAD.  When the director of the Nehemias program came, she was refused access, but the guards also would not show the court order to her, nor allow it to be copied.  CEPAD has not been served with any such court order.  For the first week the guards did allow the CEPAD watchmen to come and go, and they even allowed the cook to take lunches to them.  As of this week, they have not allowed that, and the CEPAD Nehemias Center is now without an internal watchman.

Besides property of CEPAD, there are items worth thousands of dollars inside that belong to the “Cristo Centro” Church, to PRESTANIC and to private individuals, all of whom are being denied access to the property.

CEPAD has discovered that the request for a legal eviction was taken to the correct judge, and DENIED.  So there is not a legal court order for CEPAD to vacate the property.  If there were such an order, CEPAD would legally be allowed access to the property to remove our belongings, and those of other groups.

We are terribly troubled  that this is happening, but we also know that injustice happens to many people here, and CEPAD recommits itself to the struggle for peace that is built on justice for all.  This past week, the General Assembly of CEPAD reaffirmed that commitment with approval of a campaign in support of workers who suffer from unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.  While we are all very concerned about this, it has not stopped the work of CEPAD.  The ongoing work in every area is continuing, and we are confident that we will soon be ready to host delegations again in different facilities.

We ask you to support us in prayer at this time.  Please pray that justice may prevail and CEPAD be allowed to continue its ministry of service to the “least of these” through connections with churches and friends in other countries who come here to support this work.

Thank you.

In Christ’s Service,
Doug Orbaker on behalf of Damaris Albuquerque

CEPAD Volunteers Learn Value of Community

This week CEPAD said goodbye to three fantastic volunteers who shared their talents with CEPAD this year.Wytske Postma and Julia van Riezen, recent Dutch university graduates who studied tourism, worked for six months in the Carazo region teaching English to students in two communities. They said they came to Nicaragua looking for a new adventure and left with a deeper appreciation for the challenges of poverty and the importance of education.
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