El Porvenir

Rating: 4.93 stars   97 reviews

Issues: Environment, International, Economic Development

Location: 10955 Westmoor Dr. Suite 400 Westminster CO 80021 USA

Mission: El Porvenir assists rural Nicaraguan communities to improve their living standards through sustainable development in clean water, sanitation, reforestation, and health education.
Programs: Helping rural Nicaraguan communities build wells, gravity flow water systems and latrines.
2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I traveled to Nicaragua as part of a Volunteer Brigade in November 2010, to help a small community outside El Sauce build a lavandero, a community washing and bathing facility. The experience was transformative for me. I had never been part of the reality of everyday life in a third world country before. This experience enabled me to understand in a new, visceral way how difficult life is for many people on this earth. The project was incredibly well organized, with wonderful leaders. We volunteers worked hard alongside adults and children from the small community, and we were able to finish the project by the end of the week. I saw firsthand that El Porvenir is truly a "self-help" organization. The community's latrines and well, built with assistance from El Porvenir, had already made a great improvement in the health and economic stability of this small community, and the completed lavandero was enabling them to take another step into a healthier, more economically secure future. We saw health education and reforestation taking place. This is an organization which does not waste money, and which truly makes a difference in the daily lives of poor people.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Nicaragua

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give it more funds to continue its excellent work.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Although my El Porvenir experience was years ago, I recall it vividly. The trip was so well organized by the El Porvenir staff that the brigade volunteers were able to concentrate on completing worthwhile work while getting to know Nicaragua and its wonderful people. I came away feeling that my time and money were well spent and I had been able to make a difference.

Eight members of our church were part of a larger brigade that worked on lavenderos, dug a dry well and planted trees. Five members of the brigade were young people who were kept too busy to be bored and enjoyed an experience they will always remember.

I had been to Nicaragua previously with another organization. The trip was poorly run, but it did show us that clean water is a critical need in Nicaragua. On our return from that trip, we searched for an organization to address that need and feel blessed to have found El Porvenir. Our experience on our El Porvenir trip showed us that, indeed, this organization knows how to get the job done!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I met with several members of the El Porvenir staff during their trips to the NY metro areas. After hearing their presentations, I decided it was time to go. My church worked with El Porvenir to organize a trip for eight of us, including four young people. Since the worktrip, I have kept up with El Porvenir through their newsletter and other promotional material.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I have a hard time coming up with ways El Porvenir could reduce costs or be more effective. I do wish there was an easy way for it to become better known, but I know that is difficult, especially with tight budgets.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Our group of 4 volunteers assisted the work crew, local men working for free as part of the Casas Viejas community. All supplies and construction designs were provided by El Porvenir. The women and children pitched in as necessary, cooking, digging, carrying. With the support of the whole community this project was completed in a week, and culminated with a fiesta celebration attended by all including music, dancing, poetry, speeches and the children's dance of the pinata.
As a whole the village is happy, constructive, self-sustaining and non-political, though very poor when it comes to money and possessions. It's unfortunate that the government doesn't supply the basics of health and education for its people, but that's where El Porvenir kicks in. I'm secure in knowing that my time and money go to the people that need it when supporting El Porvenir, and its grass-roots goals of supplying the most important necessities in life - water and sanitation.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The results of El Porvenir's work are massive for such a small group, 20 years in existence and 1000's of projects completed, bringing wells and sanitation to those in need.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would cry the news far and wide, especially on the internet, that El Porvenir has got it right. Let the donors and volunteers alike come see and participate in the wonderful work being done. May other countries copy the plan and may it expand world wide.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been to Nicaragua twice with El Porvenir and plan on returning again next year. The work they do there is amazing and I'm proud to be a supporter. El Porvenir gives great support to the work brigades, monitoring the food and water as well as supplying the best interpetors. We learned about the country's polictical and economical developement, we did some sightseeing and worked very hard. It's a beautiful country and Nica's are beautiful people who are very welcoming. I've been very pleased with my experiences with the organization and the country.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing a job well done and very happy people gaining something we take for granted (i.e. a safe bathroom or bathing area)

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I'm not sure. I feel most of the bugs seem to be worked out.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Six of us from our church Volunteers in Mission group travelled to Nicaragua and worked with El Porvenir in the La Reina District along with 6 others. We received a very good oversight of the Nicaraguan politics and the history and goals of El Porvenir before travelling to our work site.

I feel that helping the Nicaraguans gain use of clean water, and learning about sanitation is the very beginning for them to have easier and more productive lives. I like the fact that the people need to ask for help, and actively participate in all projects, and actually take leadership and therefore ownership of all projects.

Our experience was one with great organization, wonderful interpreters and facilitators and warm, caring people.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

viewing neighborhoods where wells and latrines had made life better for the inhabitants, and I saw the pride the community took in their accomplishments. Several times I have made small donations to this organization, because I believe in the quality of the work which they do and enable.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I think that they have done an amazing amount of good in a relatively short time-span...don't know how they can improve.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have supported El Porvenir for close to 20 years, ever since I learned about its work with rural communities in Nicargua. I deeply believe in EP's work because (1) it involves the basic human needs of clean water and sanitation, (2) it uses a self-help approach, (3) its projects are sustainable , and (4) it operates on a very slim budget. EP's staff members live in the regions it serves and have a long term relationship with the communities. I have visited various of the communites and witnessed how deeply appreciative the people are of EP's help.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I paricipated on a work brigade constructing a well and a lavendero. I have visited the staff and communities several times. I work actively on the board of directors and am chairperson of two board commitees.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would strive to expand its ability to serve more communities.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

I know of El Porvenir from before it was born. In 1987 I volunteered in Nicaragua with Habitat for Humanity where I met Carole Harper. I volunteered with her again in 1089. since then, we have kept in touch and for that reason I know of the fine work of El Porvenir. I know she has retired from the organization and that she was confident she left it in good hands. I have received the newsletters over the years as well, both paper version and now by email. I have been in the communities where lives have been enriched by the water. I have returned to Nicaragua almost every year since the late 80's. I'm a Canadian so I have not been on a brigade, but I am aware of the positive contributions to the fabric of a country which is dear to me.
Sincerely meant,
Cheryl Lightowlers

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

stories told in newsletter

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it easier for Canadians to participate

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a member of the board since 2007, but I have known of El Porvenir since 2001. The organization's goal and approach is to be admired as it makes a concerted effort to involve local poor communities as key decision makers in improving the water and sanitation conditions. After 20 years, it is going strong in some of the poorest communities in Nicaragua. It is inspiring to go on any of the many work brigades and help a local community build a well, a wash-station or even latrines. No words can express the gratitude and appreciation that communities show toward work brigade participants and to El Porvenir; this is a true sign of benefitial impact of this worthy organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Hands-on experience with community leaders on discussions about the progress and benefits of the programs that are being implemented.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Incorporate more fundraising activities in Nicaragua and increase Nicaraguan donor base.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My work with organizations in Nicaragua allowed me to meet staff of El Porvenir about five years ago as we compared notes on efforts to bring water to the tiny houses of families living along a ridge served by a seven mile long mud/dust road. Most impressive was the staff’s personal dedication to the families they served. This was not some huge organization which swooped in and threw money at a project to help the “poor people in some impoverished land.”

Just a year ago my impressions were enhanced when I spent two days filming El Porvenir projects, on site in Nicaragua. I spent days riding with the project directors who worked directly with the families. They encouraged the people to tell their own stories of the changes in their lives.

They did not just have new latrines; they understood the detailed interaction of sanitation and its effects on the health, especially the health of their children. Not only the women, but also the men, understood the importance of stoves that used less firewood and even more important kept smoke from filling the house. We heard the thanks of women who washed clothes in a simple concrete sink near a well, instead of on a rock in a stream where they also bathed. Bath houses provided privacy close to the source of water and handled the run-off water without pollution.

They understood the importance of replanting trees to protect the land and the water supply and water allowed these tiny trees to flourish.

The sense of community evident in the villages where water systems now provided a faucet at each house, demonstrated the results of their work together to do the planning, the work involved in the self-help project, the classes in health and sanitation, and most of all the pride in their accomplishment.

El Porvenir has internalized all of the best practices of working with impoverished communities to achieve basic goals of heath and cooperation.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I personally visited thier projects in Nicaragua, visiting with their staff members and many families with which they work. I saw the water systems, replanted forests, bath and laundry facitities and latrines. I experienced the sense of community shared by the families who cooperated in the actual labor necessary to impliment the projects.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I can not think of any changes, except to somehow allow more people to know about the effectiveness of thier work.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I volunteered with El Porvenir in Nicaragua in October of 2009. This was one of the best volunteer experiences I've ever had. Their programs are so well thought-out and sustainable--I really felt I was having nothing but a positive effect on the lives of the wonderful people we worked with.

They involve the local community in selecting and building the projects. All the equipment (e.g. latrines and manual pumps) can be easily maintained by the locals with the training they receive from EP. They not only provide clean water but also help identify and attack the causes of the water supply problems such as deforestation and lack of basic sanitation. New directions include tree-planting, providing super-efficient cookstoves, and environmental training for both adults and school children. They are constantly looking for better ways to do things.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

In Nicaragua the people I worked with now have access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Their children are much less likely to die in infancy of waterborne diseases. More children have time to go to school now that they don't have to haul water and gather wood all day. Once in school they learn about how to care for their environment.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I can't think of anything I would do to change the organization--I was terribly impressed with them.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

can't think of anything

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Met some wonderful people

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

wanting to do more!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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Review from Guidestar