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Accessible, clean water in Quezalguaque has been a very important Sister City initiative from 2017, right up to the present. When we did the needs assessment of seven community rural water systems in 2017, we found that many things weren’t working. Chlorination systems weren’t working, seals and screens on wells and water storage tanks were missing, electrical service to the pumps was spotty, equipment was broken or in ill repair; water quality was not up to standard and water quantity was insufficient for the population’s needs. Much of this was due to the lack of training and support for the local water committees who manage the systems and the lack of financial resources for water system maintenance.
The water improvement coalition that was established at the onset of the initiative has been critical, to first diagnose the problems there and then implement improvements. Members of the coalition include: 1)the Quezalguaque municipal government (the mayor and staff from the municipal government ‘s project unit and the water and sanitation unit); 2)the local water system managers; 3) Nicaraguan professionals and organizations on the ground— especially ECODES, a Spanish NGO working in Nicaragua, with an office located in Leon, Nicaragua and with deep expertise in rural water systems; and CISTA, a research center at the National Autonomous University in Leon, specializing in water quality, among things ; 4) the Rotary Club of Brookline; 5) the Metropolitan Rotary Club of Leon and; 6)Sister City and Sister City volunteers, two of whom are water experts. To support the water initiative, we have raised funds from generous donors in Brookline; applied for and won a Global Rotary Club grant and worked with ECODES to leverage other grants.
There have been significant improvements in the 7 rural water systems, due to a thorough assessment of the water systems, initially by Sister City volunteers and later in greater depth by ECODES and CISTA civil engineers and water system management and water quality experts, and, subsequently, and according to the assessment findings, purchasing and installing new equipment for each water system and chlorinating the water supply. Throughout the initiative, extensive training in water system management and clean water has been provided to the community potable water and sanitation committees at each site. Two water systems now even have solar panels to cut dependence on electricity and reduce cost to users. We still have much more work ahead, including continuing to support the local water and sanitation committees and installation of solar panels in other sites, among other activities. Goal 6 of the 2030 worldwide UN Sustainable Development Goals is Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. We will continue to work with our partners in Nicaragua to ensure accessible, clean water for all households in Quezalguaque
Miurel Rodríguez – Cristo Rey – Medicine at UNAN
Naydelin Salgado – Santa Rosa – Industrial Engineering at UCAN
Heyzel Reyes – El Pozo – Nursing at UNAN
Fabio Borda – Casco Urbano – Industrial Engineering at ULSA
In February, four students from Quezalguaque received scholarships from BQSCP through FNE International to start their university studies. Sister City donated $2,000, which amounts to $500 per student for the 2021 academic year, payable in monthly installments. This will cover tuition, books, transportation, and other expenses.
The funds were awarded to students who were academically successful in high school and whose family needed financial support to send them to university. In return, the students agreed to maintain good grades, attend monthly meetings, and participate in community service projects.
We congratulate these students and wish them every success as they start their university studies. And we thank our generous donors for making these awards possible!
May 2021 Update
The Brookline-Quezalguaque Sister City project has provided support for Los Pipitos educational center in Quezalguaque since 2010. Los Pipitos Quezalguaque is part of the National Pipitos organization whose mission is to promote the human rights of people with disabilities.
Pipitos Quezalguaque was established in 2006 using land donated by the Mayor Don Bruno Montoya. The Pipitos center building was built by Ayuda en Accion, a Spanish NGO. In 2010, Maxine Shaw, a BQSCP board member, liaised with a foundation in California called Sueños that had a profound interest in children with disabilities. Sueños donated $17,795 to the Sister City to be used for Los Pipitos . These funds were used for purchasing a significant amount of furniture for the center as well as didactic material, paint, and other supplies. Furniture and materials were also purchased for a smaller Pipitos site in Cristo Rey. Los Pipitos is largely operated by parent volunteers, with some professional assistance weekly from professionals who come from nearby Leon.
There are currently 28 students attending classes at Los Pipitos. Classes are held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays. The group is split in half. Fourteen come one week and the other 14 the following week. There are 18 boys and 10 girls. The youngest children are 2, 4, and 6. The oldest are young adults. Their disabilities vary including down’s syndrome, intellectual disabilities, 2 children are blind, 1 child has autism. Some attend the public school as well but come to Pipitos for speech therapy. Others exclusively attend Pipitos.
Los Pipitos Quezalguaque receives no financial support from the Mayor’s office in Quezalguaque or the Ministry of Education. Occasionally they get material support from the National Pipitos Organization (e.g., masks, disinfectant, etc.) and the national office also does extensive training. The Mayor’s office in Quezalguaque occasionally loans the municipality’s van to Pipitos to take the students to sport events. The parents of the Pipitos students sell soup on Sundays to raise money to cover some of the Center’s expenses.
At present SC sends $100 US dollars for Pipitos to the Alcaldia twice a year in January and in July to help with electricity and gas bills. In April 2021, the BQSCP board voted to purchase a refrigerator for the Pipitos center and to increase the biannual funding from $100 to $200.
Carmen Narvaez, President
of Los Pipitos Quezalguaque and the mother of a Pipitos expressed her feeling about Los Pipitos ” Los Pipitos Quezalguaque es muy importante para
nuestras familias porque nuestro centro es donde llegan los niños y
los jóvenes con discapacidad porque las escuelas solamente reciben a
los niños con discapacidad leve. Todos los niños
merecen tener oportunidades educativas, sociales y apoyo en general!“
English translation: “Los Pipitos in Quezalguaque Pipitos is very
important for our families because our center is where children and young
people with disabilities come because the schools only receive children
with very mild disabilities. All children deserve educational
and social opportunities and overall support!”
April 28, 2021
Things seem to be going well at the library. They received the money we sent and immediately used some of it to buy the textbooks being used this school year, which began in January. Many students cannot afford textbooks and rely on the ones in the library to do their homework. Last year, the Ministry of Education donated textbooks to the library, but this year they did not.
Patricia Chacón, the librarian, now has some volunteer help in the library. Fourteen university students attending UNAN León are required, as a condition of their scholarship, to do 20 hours each of social service and they have chosen to do it in the library, reorganizing library shelves, inventorying, cleaning, and repairing books and helping with the mobile library. In March, seven of them put in a combined total of 27 hours.
Patti has been in touch with Janet of Viva León Leyendo and will pay her to accompany her to the Mobile Library one day next month to model reading out loud. Janet will bring her own materials. According to Patti, a total of 523 students were served by the mobile library in March.
Next week educational specialists from the Ministry of Culture will visit the library and provide training to Patricia. Last week they reached out to her for information about the history of the library and they plan to use in as part of a national campaign to stimulate library usage, including newspaper and TV spots featuring the nation’s libraries.