With the support of FSD Intern Diana McKeage, microfinance partner, Association for Equitable Economic Development (Alternativa) is using collaboration and communication to bolster development efforts among organizations in Masaya, Nicaragua. Alternativa won an FSD grant for $739 to facilitate three collaborative forums on community development issues in the area. Alternativa will bring together 10 local development organizations for three forums to discuss the following themes, respectfully: 1) export consortia and associative work, 2) influence of public policy, and 3) child labor.
Local development organizations came together for a similar conference “Problems and Perspectives of Local Development” in Masaya in January 2011, and progress made will be reviewed in the upcoming forums. While the conference of 2011 worked with $5,000 in donated seed money, a goal of these new forums is to develop projects and initiatives requiring no foreign funding, such as educational programs or proposals to the municipal government. This reflects an alignment and shared vision of Alternativa and FSD to promote locally sustained programs.
Alternativa is a well-known development organization in the Masaya community that offers micro-credit programs and capacity-building workshops. They firmly believe that multilateral communication between organizations dedicated to community development is essential to their progress. In a country like Nicaragua, where 46.2% of the population lives at or below the poverty line, this type of coordination can make a huge impact on the methods and outcomes of development projects. Alternativa is a longstanding FSD partner and has received numerous grants for their outstanding work, including a grant from a $72,000 microfinance program funded by The Rotary Fund and administrated by FSD that is starting up sustainable community banks to provide low-income communities access to critical capital for income generation and poverty alleviation.