Alcides Torres Gamez filling out a corn format
For this update on the Fred Strohbehn Training Center in Quinta Lidia, Self-Help International’s Nicaragua team decided to share some first-hand accounts from some of Self-Help’s successful training center participants. These accounts represent some of the broad range of programs Self-Help offers communities in Nicaragua, from agriculture to clean water to micro-credit loans.
Take a look at what some of Self-Help’s Nicaraguan participants had to say.
Agricultural Trainings Double Farmer’s Corn Harvest
Alcides Torres Gamez is a farmer from the community of San Jose, and he was one of the farmers who attended the double groove corn planting technology training. After implementing it on his own farm and seeing the benefits, he wanted to share his experience with Self-Help’s Nicaragua office.
“I remember the first time Jorge Campos from Self-Help International Nicaragua came and invited me to a training session that he was going to lead on improving corn harvest yields. I said to myself, ‘There is no way I’m going to that meeting.’ Believe me, I don’t like those kinds of things,” Alcides said. “But, after thinking for a little while, I decided - well, I guess I can go, and if I don’t like what I hear, I can always leave the meeting.”
Alcides explained, “I liked hearing that my corn harvest would double if I followed the double groove planting method and used proper supplies, such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. I decided to start implementing the double groove planting method, and as a result, I got what Self-Help told me about - a double yield!
“From one manzana (1.74 acres), I used to get 20 to 25 quintals of corn; but with this new method, I got 45 quintals. This allowed me to sell 20 quintals, which produced a profit of US $350, and left 25 quintals for my family to eat.”
He continued, “Believe me, I freaked out when I saw my corn harvest double. From now on, I will continue planting my corn this way, and I’m happy to attend any training sessions that Jorge invites me to. Now, I’m very interested in training and learning how to better my corn yield.”
“Thank you so much for making it possible for me to attend your training. Now I know that it was for the benefit of me and the other farmers here in San Jose.”
In 2018, the QPM program has developed 13 training session, 3 meetings, 2 farmers experience exchanges, and 8 seminars benefiting 146 farmers in 15 communities. From those 15 communities 10 of them have established 51 demonstration plots with the INTA-Nutrader corn using the twin row planting method as part of a strategy to increase the corn harvests and and incomes of the small farmers.
Clean Water Trainings Leave a Lasting Impact
Silvio Miguel Rizo Sanchez shared that he is really thankful to Self-Help International, the clean water program, and the Fred Strohbehn Training Center for showing the Water Sanitation Committee (CAPS) members of his community, including himself, how to improve the quality of the water in their communities by learning about managing the CTI-8 chlorinator. He shared this with Self-Help’s Nicaragua office.
Silvio said, “We hope this isn’t the last training we receive from Self-Help. I appreciate the certificate Self-Help International gave me. Now, I feel like I’m a very important person because I’ve never been recognized before for the work I’ve done to improve the quality of the water in my community.”
“I’ve learned how to calculate the actual rate of water consumption and the rate to charge the community members since we learned step by step how to figure out the costs,” Silvio explained. “Before, we set a price without knowing if we were charging enough to continue to provide better water service to the population of La Cublebra and Argentina. Now, thanks to all the training we’ve gotten from Self-Help International through the clean water program we know that we are charging people a fair price for their portion of the water.”
Geronimo Corrales, president of the CAPS of El Empalme de Cruz Verde, also wanted to express his gratitude for the trainings conducted by Self-Help’s clean water program.
“For me, as president and coordinator of this CAPS, it is a great success to have learned how to make calculations and balance the fees for managing and maintaining the water system,” Geronimo said.
“I learned step by step how to calculate the rate of drinking water in aqueducts, take costs out of the water system, how to find the income and volume of water consumption for each house, and how to find the cost of a cubic meter of water per month. All of this has allowed the CAPS to apply an appropriate fee so that the money collected can be used to maintain and improve water systems.”
“Thank you so much for all the skills we learned through the clean water program. We’re very grateful to Self-Help because they are always supporting us,” he said. “I want you to know that we, the Empalme de Cruz Verde CAPS members, are always ready for a call from Self-Help International representatives to attend any training session or meeting at the Self-Help office. I am very thankful because Self-Help took us into account and gave us trainings to benefit us and our community.”
Micro-credit Trainings Bring Better Business
Sita del Carmen Narváez is a 49-year-old woman from the community of Laurel Galán, and she has participated in trainings through Self-Help’s micro-credit program and the Fred Strohbehn Training Center on topics like self-esteem, leadership, business planning, business management, entrepreneurship, basic accounting, and customer service. From these trainings, she said that she has applied the skills in her small tailoring business, and she wanted to tell Self-Help’s Nicaragua team about her progress.
“My cousin and I have several customers for our tailoring business from as far away as Costa Rica, and they call us to make their dresses. When that happens, my cousin and I get excited because we know that we’re implementing good customer service and delivering high quality products to our clients. Afterward, these clients recommend us to other people!” Sita said.
“I also learned how to advertise my sewing service by promoting my work through Facebook and WhatsApp. Through social media, I apply the self-esteem and marketing skills learned from Self-Help International. Now, I take photos of the dresses or clothes I make and upload the photos to the internet so that people can see them.”
“Before I learned these skills, I was a very quiet woman. Now, my fear of public speaking is gone and I feel like I have a higher self-esteem and I have become very eager to accomplish my goal of becoming a more successful tailor!” she explained.
“All of this is due to the trainings we did through Self-Help’s micro-credit program. We’re really grateful for all of the support and training we got from Self-Help because we didn’t have much business before Self-Help worked with us.”
Alcides Torres Gamez filling out a corn format
Geronimo Corrales receiving certificate.
Sita sewing a wedding dress in her small shop