Barrio William Galeano/Camilo Ortega
A third of the Nicaraguan population lives in Managua, including many internally displaced people living in recently settled areas with minimal services and infrastructure, like Barrio Anexo William Galeano/William Galeano, which is located on the southeastern-most outskirts of Managua. The neighborhood was settled in the early 2000's by people relocating from the Northern regions of Nicaragua in search of a better life. Nicaragua's economy is primarily agriculture-based, but rural poverty, environmental uncertainty, lack of services in rural areas, and the struggles of living in a post-war zone have forced in-migration, with families such as those living in Barrio Anexo William Galeano relocating to the outskirts of urban zones such as Managua. In the cities, residents find themselves struggling with a different kind of poverty. Many find themselves working day-to-day in the informal sector; selling in the markets or at traffic lights, picking up temporary construction jobs, or traveling to Costa Rica for seasonal agriculture work.
In Barrio Anexo William Galeano, residents suffer from a severe health burden as well. ATRAVES health assessments documented high rates of malnutrition, diabetes, kidney disease, parasitic infections, asthma, and hypertension. Domestic violence and substance abuse, reproductive and sexual health concerns, and mental health issues are all worsened by the community's economic situation. Elderly and disabled residents navigate the community's steep terrain great difficulty, further complicating their access to health care. We observed a great need for family planning, pediatric care, nutrition, domestic violence prevention, and at-home chronic disease management.
ATRAVES' health, education and community development programs aimed to help transform these situations.
The ATRAVES Health Program emphasized preventative health care, including primary care, chronic care, early detection, and education. Our Health Leaders (promotoras) program trained local women as community health workers. This remarkable team made home visits to hundreds of households, improving the quality of life for otherwise isolated individuals with chronic health problems. They also organized participatory health education workshops, activities, and classes to help prevent disease and improve wellbeing in the neighborhood . This program was made possible with the generous support of the Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation.
• ATRAVES built the Casa de Salud clinical facility with support from Engineers Without Borders.
• Provided annual check-ups, complete with free medication and diagnostic exams for an average of 1000 community residents per year from 2008-2013.
• 25 community health leaders trained to make home visits to chronic, elderly, and isolated patients, and to lead health education workshops.
• Healthy activities such as nutrition classes, exercise and weight-loss clubs, new mothers' group, elders' luncheon, and more.
The ATRAVES Education Program worked to support education in our community by providing teacher training, and a variety of enrichment programming, drawing from the strengths of our volunteer program and our national staff. We worked to improve learning outcomes for students, enrich and broaden their educational experiences, and build teachers' and schools' capacities to serve their learners. Our main focus was partner school Escuela H.D., located in Barrio William Galeano. We also collaborated with schools in the departments of Managua Masaya, Rivas, and Jinotega.
• Partnered with and supported a primary school serving 250 children pre-K-6 , while serving as an important community center in Barrio William Galeano, Managua.
• Organized 6 years of after-school activities bringing English, arts, music, dance, gardening, sports, team-building, cultural awareness and more to Escuela H.D. students and graduates.
• Delivered teacher trainings to faculty from throughout the Pacific region.
The ATRAVES Community Development program provided residents of our communities with some basic mechanisms and conditions for alleviating poverty. We worked with community members to define and articulate what locally-led development meant for them, and support well-tailored, small-scale projects that could produce meaningful economic outcomes. As with most of our programs, our work focused on education and training.
• ATRAVES provided Sewing, Cosmetology, and Handicrafts courses for adults to increase economic opportunity and empowerment.
• Urban agriculture initiatives designed to improve food security and prevent erosion.