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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

El Porvenir

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Environment, International, International Agricultural Development, International Development, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

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.

Community Stories

67 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've worked with El Porvenir for 23 of its 25 years. Grassroots organization. Responsible with their money. No highly paid executives or board perks. Volunteers and staff alike are passionate and dedicated.It's real people helping real people with basic needs.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 4

In 1992 as part of a work brigade in Nicaragua for Habitat for Humanity, I had the opportunity to visit several of El Porvenir's early projects. When I came back I connected with the "friends" group in Colorado and have voluteered on different levels over the years. In 2002 I had a chance to do a work brigade again, but this time for EP. The enthusiasm of the people there is contageous. They are thrilled to be getting help to better their community. The work brigades are really a reverse mission as the locals demonstrate to the North Americans how to work hard and still enjoy the simple things in life. It's more like a work party. Everyone is excited to be putting their sweat equity into their community.

The EP staff in Nicaragua and in the US are knowledgeable and passionate about their work. It's a basic need. Without clean, safe water not much else is possible.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Spent some time in Nicaragua with El Porvenir. Wonderful team, mission and approach!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been on 4 trips to Nicaragua with El Porvenir, sponsored by my church. The evidence of their work in rural areas is everywhere. The staff people we work with in Nicaragua are honest, sincere as well as knowledgable and efficient. As you drive down the roads you see the wells and latrines that have been built by El Porvenir. As part of the program they also provide efficient wood stoves and reforestation. They not only bring clean water and sanitation to the villagers but follow up with continuing education and assistance with maintenance of the projects. I feel the same way about their representatives I have worked with from the US office. I give El Porvenir the highest rating possible. I have seen the evidence first hand that their work changes people's lives in one of the hemisphere's poorest countries. Any time or money donated to El Porvenir I would consider very well spent

Volunteer

Rating: 5

El Porvenir has been the NGO that has handled 3 Grants for Colorado Rotary Clubs. I have shared these experiences with them and our partner club in Nicaragua, Managua Rotary. We have observed great performance that has gone beyond the bounds necessary and can be called superlative efforts. In April 2015 I was part of a 7 day visit to Nicaragua which El Porvenir hosted for a reasonable fee. There were 6 of us and our purpose was review past, present and future Rotary projects/opportunities. We saw what has been done, projects being completed and future opportunities. And besides we had a great time in this wonderful country. This is an efficient, well run, dynamic and thoughtful organization with lots of ideas to help the countrymen of Nicaragua.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our church has traveled to Nicaragua for the past 4 years and worked on various projects, all through El Porvenir. El Porvenir is an incredible organization and its employees pour their hearts into changing the lives of the families in Nicaragua. They are professional, organized, personable, compassionate, inspiring and very easy to work with. I can't wait to work with and see many of them again as I travel back to Nicaragua for the fourth time next February!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our church has been working with El Porvenir for the past three years. We have already scheduled our trips for 2016. I can't say enough positive things about this organization. It's not about 'americanizing' the people in Nicaragua, its about sustainability and education. The benefits of having clean drinking water is evident in the villages that participate in El Porvenir's programs. We look forward to seeing our friends again next year.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our church has been partnering with El Porvenir for almost 5 years. Through this partnership, we have made 4 trips to rural Nicaragua to witness the work first hand. Each time the experience has been enriching for the team members, life-changing for many of us. But it is in the relationships we have developed through El Porvenir that we have the deepest experiences. Driving through rural communities, you see the signs of the positive effect El Porvenir is having - wells, latrines, lavenderos, reforestation, fuel-efficient stoves, complete water systems. Grateful to be a part of this great organization and appreciative of all the ways they enhance and facilitate our experience. Most of all though, grateful for the thousands of lives that are being changed because of the work of El Porvenir

Clarob

Volunteer

Rating: 5

El Porvenir models how to support people and communities to improve their own circumstances. The projects are initiated by the community and El Porvenir supports their plans with volunteers and supplies. They work with people rather than impose their own goals on them. This partnership makes it an affirming experience for everyone involved. I will go again soon.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 2012, I took a trip with El Porvenir to the Camoapa region of Nicaragua. I was 18 years old, and went by myself. I didn't know anyone, I speak VERY little Spanish, and had no idea what to expect. It was an absolutely eye-opening experience! To see the heart of the people in Nicaragua, and also the heart of El Porvenir was so amazing. I hold that trip very dear to my heart, and share my experience with everyone that lets me share it with them.

I can't wait until I have the opportunity to go back to Nicaragua with El Porvenir!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our church has been involved with El Porvenir for several years, 2 Mission Trips and one I personally went on. We have been very impressed with the whole organization, from the person organizing the trips, local office here in Denver, the guides in Nicaragua, the building project folks they 'contract'--I do not have one negative thing to say about the whole organization. They make conditions better for the people of Nicaragua and I am proud to be a very small part of that. The Nicaraguans help with the projects as well and are so appreciative of our help.

1 Carol Atwell

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have traveled to Nicaragua 3 times to work on water projects. I love that El Porvenir requires community participation. There is so much pride involved when people have a personal investment. My children don't a buy me presents for Holidays anymore. They donate to El Porvenir in my honor.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was my second trip to Nicaragua with El Porvenir. We brought a friend with us. It is a fabulous opportunity to work with a grass roots organization providing life saving WATER!!!! A lot of hard work, a lot of fun! We will go back next year.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

El Porvenir's vision is clear and executed well. Starting with a mission of clean water for rural Nicaragua, they saw how sanitation, deforestation and a lack of education on these issues was impacting their clean water mission. They expanded their work to address these issues to support sustainable sources of clean water.

With only a one in-country gringo and a few stateside, they built an organization run by Nicaraguans, designed their mission as technical assistance to a local community that has an active role in their project. El Porvenir follows up with the community on each project and uses simple technology that can be maintained locally and is sustainable.

Volunteers can get involved in work projects that are well organized, informative, and transformative.

Overhead is low so donations have a big impact on the people it is intended to help

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have volunteered on projects run by several different organizations. But the water project we worked on in Nicaragua with El Porvenir was by far the best organized, most smoothly run, and truly inclusive project of any we have experienced. The people from the village participated in the decision making and we worked side by side with them building a lavenders and shower stall. El Porvenir does not stop its support with the end of the building. It returns to visit the people, make sure the equipment is maintained, and trouble shoots for years to come. El Porvenir is an outstanding organization.

Sheila and Ed Rogers

1 Mary231

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great organization! When my son was 14 I traveled with him to Nicaragua with El Porvenir for a service trip to build latrines in a village near Dario. We were a group of Oberlin College graduates, eclectic as can be, accompanied by an Oberlin professor with expertise as a researcher in Nicaragua and parts of Central America. What a time we had! Another mother came with her son near in age to mine, and the boys worked side by side with the adults and were the hit of the community we worked with. Impressive to me was how well organized the trip was, from meeting us at the airport (in a beat-up Russian made mini-truck, but how appropriate!) to take us to the hotel, where the electricity was out but candles led our way. Our interpreter was wonderful, local hosts and planner all excelled in what they did. The side trips to see the coffee plantation and other sites made it a rich experience. I appreciated a trip of value, the opportunity to help my son learn about service, and that we lived and ate not as outsiders, but with villagers. Also appreciated that we worked side-by-side with villagers, and that there was local capacity building to sustain clean water and sanitation systems. Great all around experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband, Doug Beaman, and I went to Nicaragua with El Porvenir and helped to build a water well for a small village and an elementary school near El Saulse. We have talked to hundreds of people about the value of volunteering with the wonderful organization of El Porvenir to help the amazing people of Nicaragua. The people in the village worked so hard to build this well. We were happy that our team could fill in for about ten villagers who could continue with their regular farming and jobs on the days we worked. After graduating high school two years ago our grandson, Matt Beaman, who had heard our stories, also went with El Porvenir to do reforestation in Nicaragua. He loved it as much as we did! My favorite memory is of the poetry written by the Nicaraguan people in celebration of their new well!! Chyril Turner

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My trip to Nicaragua with El Porvenir was marvelous! It was exciting to see communities working together with third-world technology to improve their health, nutrition and the environment with very simple tools. Perhaps, we in the US could take some lessons from these dear people. I hope I can go again in some capacity.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found El Porvenir to be a top-notch organization. They were well organized, friendly and clear about their mission. I participated in a week-long build of a laundry station [a laundry tray/wash board with a small attached water reservoir] and an enclosed shower. Previous builds had produced an outhouse and a water well, both of which were well maintained. They had safe water to drink and cook.
The people who were receiving these items worked side by side with us, and much harder than we could physically. They had already dug a large hole to become a storage tank for the used water, so it would seep slowly through the soil back into the water table. Previously the families had used fields as toilets and washed clothes and their bodies in the local stream, which polluted the water. Our families had already started the next phase of El Porvenir's mission: planting 4000 to prevent erosion and hold the water in the ground instead of flooding away during heavy rains.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Having traveled with a group of 14 people from all across the U.S. to help in Nicaragua through El Porvenir, I have the highest regard for this NGO. It is significant they work with people in the rural areas of that amazing country to help those people better their lives. El Porvenir works in the best way to allow long term, lasting benefits for the people of Nicaragua. People of that country take ownership, maintenance, care, and passion for their own water supply, hygiene, reforestation, and cooperation. It's about neighbor helping neighbor. An amazing country to spend time in and learn about. Nicaraguans want the best possible for their families. Right now I am excited about going to work with El Porvenir for 9 days next month. I encourage more peope to go there.

sfbigcelt

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been down to Nicaragua twice on work trips with this wonderful non-profit. There are three main things I love about El Porvenir. First, their projects of reforestation, hygiene, and clean water are driven by the local people who need these projects the most. It is not a case of norteamericanos swooping in to help the poor. So, there is a great local buy-in from the beginning, and pride in projects completed.
Second, the local people are grateful and gracious to all who help. The cross-cultural sharing is a great by-product of the work. Strong friendships and memories are made on work trips.
Third, the money donated is used wisely. Nicaraguans are the main staff within the country, and all donations are utilized to the utmost gain for the people who need clean water and a better standard of living the most.
I can't recommend El Porvenir enough, and talk to everyone I know about their work, both to encourage donations AND promote the fact that we are blessed with abundant clean water and hygiene, and should never take that for granted! Working with them has been the most important thing I have ever done with my life.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have gone to Nicaragua to work with this group twice now, and both experiences have been so positive, I hope I can go again. The operation is based on the 'Habitat model,' with local communities coming up with projects to provide water (wells), hygiene (latrines and handwashing stations), and community improvement (clothes washing stations & smoke-reducing ovens). A secondary focus is on reforestation. Rural communities (mostly poor) come up with the plan, a commitment to a % of the cost, and provide most of the sweat equity. Work brigades travel to Nicaragua with chaperones and interpreters, and assist in the building of projects, as they learn of Nicaraguan customs, food, and life. The first trip, I helped build latrines and a hand-washing station for a school which had no facilities before we came. This year, I helped build clothes-washing stations and a bathing cubicle for another village. I have told many people that my two trips have been the most important thing I have done in my 58 years.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first volunteered for an El Porvenir work vacation via Elderhostel (now Road Scholar). We elders constructed a lavandero, a laundry station in a poor rural community. We learned a lot and had so much fun in the process that our group volunteered together for several more times. The great thing is that all projects are interrelated, and each step follows logically - latrine construction with uphill reforestation and the making of fuel-saving stoves; lavandero construction after well construction; graywater treatment after lavandero construction.... All projects are requested by the local people, and education is provided by El Porvenir. Much of the "advertising" of El Porvenir is word of mouth from members of communities who have benefitted.