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kathy17

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PRONICA INC
May 20, 2010

I feel privileged to serve on the board of ProNica, a Quaker initiated non-profit which was started over 24 years ago to provide material aid and assistance to Nicaraguan communities devastated by war. Most of our projects empower women to feed and sustain their children by providing them job training, family planning, and pre-natal and maternal health care. We have a unique program which trains poor women to become hair dressers and cosmeticians. Many of the graduates from our program are former sex workers. They now work at home or in beauty salons cutting and coloring hair and providing other beauty related services. ProNica has another very positive program which brings delegations of college students to Nicaragua to learn about community development in the third world context and to practice their language skills while engaged directly with people of another culture. I chaperoned a group of 10 teenagers on such a trip and I can bear witness to the changes in their world view and also themselves in relation to others. They embraced the challenge of living for 3 days in a poor village living with their hosts. They worked on repairing a dirt road which was the village’s only means of getting to the main highway a mile away. They ate beans and rice three times a day and slept on makeshift beds. ProNica’s offices in St. Petersburg, Florida and Managua, Nicaragua are run by women. ProNica recently rewarded the caretaker of its office and hostel in Managua for 20 years of loyal, faithful service with funds to build herself a new home, which enabled her to give her old home to her son and his growing family

The Great!

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

I have been to Nicaragua to see what ProNica is doing to empower communities which need help and support. ProNica's relationship with groups asking for our assistance is built on trusting and respectful partnerships with the people involved.

Ways to make it better...

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

We have a wonderful newsletter but our mailing list is small. We need to expand our outreach and inform a more general population about ProNica.We need a long-term fundraising and marketing plan.Our funds are well-managed but we need a broader donor base.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

..the way ProNica really connects with the people we partner with in Nicaragua. Our employees in Managua, Lillian Hall and Carmen Gonzalez are people oriented and committed to empowering poor communities.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

I really addressed that in the previous question. An organization is only as good as its staff. Working in a foreign country can only be done successfully by staff who admire and respect the people they are in partnership with. Lillian and Carmen do.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

...empower countless Nicaragua grassroots community organizations which know best what they need and have the talent and desire to make their communities healthier. Help build schools, provide technology and training, train mental health workers in PTSD.

Ways to make it better...

...it had not been so hot in Managua!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

...building a broader funder base and creating a long-range plan for sustainability. We have a good track record of 24 years but we have been hit by the economic downturn. We need to find more creative ways to attract small and large donors.

One thing I'd also say is that...

... we have been growing at a good rate. We don't need to grow too fast. We are very efficient with only 5 salaried staff, two in the States and three in Nicaragua. Our overheads are so small that almost all donations actually go directly to services.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Board Member & I took a group of 10 Florida teenagers to Nicaragua to see first hand the impact ProNica is having in poor communities. We visited several ProNica supported programs and became acquainted with this beautiful country and its friendly people.