Programs

The Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners have numerous programs in place to help both grow. Click on a tab below to see more projects in each area.

The Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners have numerous programs in place to help both grow. Click on a tab below to see more projects in each area. You can then click on the project title to view more information.

  • Poultry Project
  • Small Kitchen Gardens
  • Honey Production/Bee Keeping

Backpack Project
Our Mission

To work together as citizen volunteers from Wisconsin and Nicaragua to improve the lives of people in our communities.

What Can You Do?

Pack a backpack filled with school goodies and we'll pack these donations and send them on to children and teachers in Nicaragua.

What to Include?

New or gently used notebooks, pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, pens, scissors, folders, paper, a personal note, stickers; anything you would take to school with you!  It would also be nice to include a small toy and $1 donation for the cost of shipping.

For more information,  click here.


Chica Nica Doll Dresses

Following her retirement as a Home Economics teacher, Lynda Pracht traveled to Nicaragua in 1998 on a W/NP sponsored Learning Center Trip in search of new ways to fill her time and share her knowledge. The excellent embroidery and design skills she saw, the enthusiasm of the Nicaraguan women, their spirit, and their strong desire to become self sufficient inpspired her to find a niche market in the doll dress trade.

Women from the W/NP Learning Centers began sewing beautiful dresses, now known as Chica Nica Doll Dresses! The dresses pass a rigid quality control review. The Nicaraguan women are paid for their work before the dress leaves Nicaragua. Purchase of these lovely dresses provide income to the home, often the only money coming into the household to support the family. Women can stay in their community, earn income, learn a skill, and live with dignity.

Sadly, Lynda passed away on April 24, 2012 and is greatly missed.

The “Lynda Collection” is a special set of dresses designed by the Nicaraguan women in honor and memory of Lynda, who was and continues to be their inspiration. Lynda’s favorite color was purple and the women incorporated their creativity to come up with each unique design.

Thanks to many people helping out the Chica Nica Project continues to thrive.  Lorraine Danczyk has graciously stepped in and spends many hours working with the dresses and the Nicaraguan sewers.  Click here for more on Chica Nica.


Learning Center

The Sewing Centers have broadened their focus and transitioned into Learning Centers. The training offered now encompasses a wide range of vocational skills such as baking, carpentry, cosmetology, small business management, etc. Participants begin by acquiring the skills necessary to provide them with a sense of dignity, independence, and purpose. They are then afforded the opportunity to utilize a micro-lending program, enabling them to acquire the necessary equipment and supplies to initiate a small business of their own. By building upon the unique skills of the individual members of the community, the community is shaped and fortified, thereby generating further aptitudes and resources.

Thousands of Nicaraguans have thus been mentored through the establishment of the Learning Centers. With each center being coordinated by local women, they are able to cater to the individual needs of each learning center's community.

Learning Center Treks

Each February, Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas, Inc. hosts a Learning Center Trek which allows Wisconsin volunteers the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua. Once there, citizens of both countries get to know each other, work to find solutions to common problems, and leverage international and local resources while providing technical training. An average of fifteen to twenty volunteers participate in the annual tour that features hands-on workshops. Translation is provided, although many find it unnecessary in the spontaneous "show and tell" environment.

If you have a commitment to service and cultural exchange, a desire to contribute, a willingness to learn, a taste for new adventure, and a need to share knowledge and expertise, then the Learning Centers Mission may be for you.

To learn more, click here.

Learning Center Videos

Buenos Aires Learning Center - Don Carlos and his wood pile and hand crank water pump.  Both very common in Rural Nicaragua

Buenos Aires Learning Center, Mayra Mendoza. Inside a rural Nicaraguan kitchen and living room....the stove is a former WNP Kitchen Stove Project.


Lending Libraries

Problem: According to the World Bank, Nicaragua is listed among the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Education efforts have improved over the years, yet at the present time, there are still approximately 300,000 children outside the educational system. The ability to read, write and understand printed material is a fundamental skill necessary for academic success, most employment and daily life in general. Access to quality reading material is nearly non-existent for many children.

Solution: The Lending Library project meets the acute need for accessible quality reading materials in rural and urban communities. The primary goal is to offer reading opportunities for children and adults in selected communities of Nicaragua. Being able to check out books and take them home encourage leisure reading and parental involvement in various reading environments (home, school and library.)

Credential: W/NP has a 50 year history of bringing together volunteers and citizens of both countries to create relationships and to work to find solutions to common problems, leveraging international and local resources ultimately improving quality of life for all involved. Current and past studies unanimously demonstrate the importance of introducing and exposing children to reading materials at an early age.

Methods: Upon acquisition, educational resources and reading materials are distributed at selected W/NP Learning Centers in Nicaragua where over 17 lending libraries have been set up. These libraries increase learning opportunities for parents and children.

Sustainability: The limited educational system in Nicaragua has resulted in a population that embraces every learning opportunity. The few resources available are utilized with utmost efficiency and manner.

We have plans and requests for several new libraries and for help to support those already started. We welcome and need your support to continue this project that promotes reading and literacy development.

Part of the Library program is working with kids and having activities throughout the year. These are pictures of the card project the kids at the library were working on. Patricia & Mirna with their crew cutting paper and cards out from Christmas magazines. Something interesting is that while Patricia was busy with the girls, her daughter Edith was in charge of the library. There is a pic of her attending a little girl who is a neighbor, really cute pic. Also they are going to make 70 cards for the library in Esquipulas in Ometepe, they will be sent ready to give to the kids, with a piñata and a bike as a prize to the best reader of the year. It’s all for a good cause and we so appreciate Mirna, Patricia and the kids helping out with these projects.

Why?

Why work on literacy projects in Nicaragua? When reviewing information from the United States Aid for International Development (USAID) recently, our commitment for working on projects that will provide literacy opportunities for the people of Nicaragua was reaffirmed. On average, Nicaraguans complete fewer than six years of schooling, and many remain outside the formal education system all together. Ask anyone who has been to the country recently, its not hard to believe these statistics as young children are everywhere selling items at the stop lights, fixing roads and tending to animals.

The dramatic growth of W/NP Learning Centers clearly illustrates the need and desire among Nicaraguans for further education and skill development. The Learning Centers... what better place to introduce and house a lending library!

Importance

Research unanimously demonstrates the importance of introducing and exposing children to reading materials at an early age. We already have the Learning Centers, which is a place in the community associated with skill development. Why not begin lending libraries within the center that will provide access to reading materials for all ages, children through adult?

At the launch ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frchette said, "Literacy remains part of the unfinished business of the 20th century. One of the success stories of the 21st century must be the extension of literacy to include all humankind There is no time to lose if the world is to meet the Millennium Development Goal of increasing literacy rates by one half by 2015.

Click here to view the list of the Lending Libraries.

What Can You Do?

Please contact the W/NP office if you would like to participate in the library project.


Sports

Recreational sport activities are a proven method to encourage physical, mental, and social development.  Children who are actively involved maintain higher academics, develop team work skills and learn discipline. Participation in sport is a dynamic force that advocates principles of levels of government. the sports projects promote self determination selected Nicaraguan communities and support the fight against poverty by encouraging cooperative efforts among community members.


Stove Pipe Project

Wood stove smoke is a problem for ladies and the rest of their families, especially children, in rural Nicaragua as well as in the large cities.  Click here to read the full report.


Firetruck and Ambulance Shipments

We are indebted to the Army and Air National Guards for managing the shipping of the fire and ambulance vehicles to Nicaragua.  Without their participation this program would be impossible.  So far, 35 firetrucks and 25 ambulances have been sent to Nicaragua.

To see a list of equipment needed, click here.

If you need more information, please contact Brad Martin at martinb@triwest.net715-538-2436 (office phone), or 608-498-1071 (cell).  You can also call the WNP office at 715-346-4702.