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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 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.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

dobsona3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

hi i am wilbert and the best experience i ever had is when i met El porvenir i never thought that the labor of el porvenir was so great full
and now i am part of this beautifull NGO. I have seen poor very poor people that don´t have safe drink water and the problem of sanitation, i sed my self o god i have never thought that exist this problem. what can i do to help these people, because i don´t have money and i am not rich enough but now i am working with El porvenir I´M the driver, I also work in logistic area and try to apply all my knowledge to help in whatever that i can help.

this is my way to help and put my grain of sand.
in this charitable work.

thank you for let me tale my experience with el porvenir and remenber

the communities need your grain of sand.
wilbert Acevedo

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the honor to be able to go to EP two times already with other members of my Church, I am blessed enough to get to go this year also.
I feel what I give is nothing compare to what the people give to us. Its not only about the work it's also about getting to know new friends and learning about theirs lives. MK Clovis CA.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been on two work trips, in 2005 and 2009. Accommodations are basic in a very poor country like Nicaragua, but we were always well-fed and safely housed. Volunteers assist in building wells, latrines, or wash stations. Handyman skills are not required, and all tools and supplies are provided. I find the work to be enjoyable and personally rewarding. The groups I've been on were very friendly and enjoyed socializing at the hotel each evening. We work hard and accomplish a lot in just a week. A couple of additional days are spent sightseeing and doing cultural excursions. These too are fun and enlightening. I've seen the sea, lakes, volcanos, markets, museums, and more. I strongly support El Porvenir and have become a regular donor and board member as well.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I led a mission team for our church to work with El Porvenir last summer. It was a truly fantastic experience, and a very easy decision to lead another team to work with them again this summer. Key reasons:

1. Their development model works. Local communities come to them with a desire for a project and the El Porvenir and the community work in partnership every step of the way. The combination of community sweat equity + education + ongoing support means that the projects have a lasting impact on community health and pride. This is work that matters... and most projects are fully Nicaragua-owned.

2. Their brigade coordinator was extremely helpful as we got our team organized. They were responsive to our interests and needs, and put together a fantastic program tailored to our team.

3. They are fantastic hosts. The El Porvenir staff did everything possible to make the experience a positive one for our team. The focused on our health and safety. They ensured that we were able to have a positive experience at the worksite - that we knew what work needed to be done and trained us how to do it and also (and even more importantly) helped us connect with the community. They added educational components to help make the experience more meaningful, from a lecture on Nicaraguan history, to visiting a school to touring a local health clinic.

This was the first international mission experience our church had had in a long time. It was an extraordinarily easy to make the decision to lead another team next year. I hope I will have the opportunity to work for El Porvenir for many years to come.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent a week on a Brigade helping a small village build a lavandero, near the well that El Porvenir helped them to build. It was a life changing experience for me. I had traveled in under-developed countries before, but never had been able to personally get to know the people and see how they live in their homes. The need is so great there, the people so wonderful, and El Porvenir does an outstanding job of working volunteers. Though originally I had thought the Brigade was expensive for participant, I came home knowing it was some of the best spent money in my life.

Review from Guidestar

Calvin B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Have been to Nicaragua 4 times to work on reforestation and sanitation projects. One of the highlites of my life. So much has to be done, but a lot statrs with clean water. It really makes a difference in peoples lives as seen by the helping hand they gave us and the smiles and tears at the completion of the work. Hope to go back again.
Calvin

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Nicaragua is said to be the 2nd poorest country in the hemisphere. After a nine day vol experience at a remote village with homes made of thin adobe near Dario, Nic, I dont believe it. Maybe they didnt have much money but the children were happy, bright and healthy. The cows were fat, horses and chickens were fit but the dogs showed their ribs. The people gave us four volunteers a fiesta after we helped them plumb and build a handwash station and erect three new latrines. About 150 of them gathered at the school to watch musicians, dancers and hear poetry. They gave speeches that made us feel appreciated and ripped apart a fat pinata full of candy. El Porvenir delivers over 90% of donations directly to the people. Ive seen their offices and there are no comfortable chairs.....Robert Burnett

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked on 3 different projects with El Porvenir in the past. The solutions that they help to bring to the communities is life-changing. Where there was no clean water, wells were built, re-forestation was undertaken, latrines were built, and facilities for washing and bathing were constructed. The villages now have an incredible different look. Clean & healthy is the order of the day. And there is a pride that the people have with themselves and there neighbors. This is a most important organization & the work they do is responsible financially and effective

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with El Porvenir last March in a rural town in Nicaragua. It was an unbelievable experience -- we helped to build a clean water facility for the village, which has made their lives so much easier! We also had the chance to play with the children in the town; I have never seen so many happy and beautiful and friendly children in my life! Thank you El Porvenir for this extraordinary opportunity.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with a ElPorvenir brigade in 2003 building a new well, washing stall and two "lavanderias"and it was an incredibly rewarding experience. Most Americans cannot imagine this small village whose only water for bathing and washing clothes was a polluted, dirty river. Fresh water for drinking and cooking had been brought by someone on horseback who carried a 5 gallon jug back from a source a few miles away. After our project was finished they had fresh clean water, a stall in which they could take a bucket of water and wash themselves and concrete wash tubs for washing clothes.
This project made life so much happier, easier and more dignified. It was a joy working alongside the villagers. ElPorvir accomplishes an amazing amount using every penny they receive.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

One of my greatest experiences where I realized how much appreciated El Porvenir's work is by the villagers, was when I helped build a latrine for a very elderly lady. She sat in a chair and watched us the whole time with the largest smile you have ever seen on her face showing only a few teeth. She had a small, one room, dirt floor, patched together house with a small back yard that had a barbed wire fence keeping the animals out. I tried to imagine what it was like for this woman to be ducking through a barbed wire fence for the last 60 years and using the field as her bathroom with no privacy. I wondered what was going through her mind as she saw that she was about to actually receive a latrine that she could enter, privately close the door and sit down, on the same side of the barbed wire fence that she had been squeezing through all these years. My experiences with El Porvenir are both Volunteer and Client Served. I volunteer at home in Denver, CO and I have been on many work brigades ranging from planting trees, building latrines, building stoves, well construction, and building a washing facility. All projects are focused on El Porvenir's goal of clean water for the people of Nicaragua. I have gotten to know all the different personnel of El Porvenir which is a grass roots organization that doesn't waste your money. They work hard, are dedicated and run with very little overhead as a percentage of their budget. I have also researched and participated in other organization's work brigades in the past and I can say for a fact that El Porvenir has a model that is making a difference for the rural poor people of Nicaragua that have genuine need. El Porvenir has offices (a one room small rural town office) in a bunch of rural poor towns that are surrounded by people with need. These are the rocky, dry areas of Nicaragua where the land is not very good and it is very hard to farm. The people come into the office and apply for a project and El Porvenir prioritizes the projects, performs the projects, trains the people, and follows up later. Many organizations simply leave town when they think their job is done. El Porvenir provides a motorcross style motorbike to the rural offices so the El Porvenir personnel can get to these people. The El Porvenir personnel are Nicaraguans as well, so El Porvenir is providing jobs as well to these rural poor towns. I can say in all honesty that if you want to help and give your support to the less fortunate people of the world, then El Porvenir is a great way to do it.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

El Porvenir is quite simply the most authentically grassroots and democratic third world development project I've seen in nearly 30 years of solidarity efforts with folks in poor countries trying to come into their own. Small settlements create their own leadership structures, usually largely from among the women, to work with EP's excellent, indigenous staff on water projects for the health and sustainability of their communities. The internal organization that results is probably as important as the material benefits from EP resources. First World funded efforts in poor countries seldom encourage this sort of real, functioning local leadership -- it's a frustrating way to work and takes time and humility. Somehow, EP manages this quite gracefully from what I've seen.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

El Porvenir is an amazing organization that provides clean water for rural areas in Nicaragua. The staff behind El Porvenir have a genuine compassion and enthusiasm for the projects, people, and environment they contribute to. Not only do they provide clean water to these areas, they educate the residents in how to maintain and use the facilities in order to ensure long term benefits. Their mission, dedication, and honesty prove that El Porvenir is a more than worthwhile organization to contribute to.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

El Porvenir is an outstanding organization. The leaders at El Porvenir have big hearts and expectations for the movement of giving rural Nicaraguan's clean drinking water, sanitation, and education in the realm of reforestation. The leaders are always thinking of new advancements to benefit the organizations growth and most importantly, their positive impact on rural Nicaraguan's and the passionate volunteers.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is based on local community organization, putting money where the community leaders determine their needs. It allows volunteers to work right along side members of the community to accomplish the goals of the project. The main goal is to provide clean water and sanitary conditions in the rural communities. Volunteers can help with planting trees, digging wells, building fuel efficient stoves, clean latrines and laundry facilities. It is well organized and provides opportunities to develop friendship and understanding between people of different cultures.

Review from Guidestar