El Abra Community Hand-Drawn Map

This color-coded map drawn by El Abra’s community members was their team’s first successful collaboration, helping them identify and prioritize issues. 

Hope is contagious. It can be as simple as one hopeful person sharing their faith and optimism with another person, and inspire them to feel hopeful, too. One hopeful heart creates many more, and when those hearts work together, people can accomplish anything.

Make Yourself at Home

Early this year, during one of their first organizational meetings as a newly Outreach-affiliated community, group members from El Abra, Nicaragua worked together to make a handmade map of their hometown, to help their assembled teammates better conceptualize the physical layout. Once the roads, river, and green spaces were in place, members’ homes were added, color-coded by the most-pressing needs of each household (blue for poor access to water, black for smoke in homes caused by traditional cooking stoves, etc).

With the map complete, community members could stand back and consider which group-led project would have the greatest and most-immediate benefit — from installing new centrally located water wells, to constructing modernized eco-stoves for homes, to a half-dozen other options. With the map complete, community members can instantly find common ground with their neighbors, as well as common cause. 

El Abra community members meet to discuss their goals

Community members met in groups to identify and record their respective issues, then shared them with the rest of the community at later meetings to determine which projects should be prioritized for maximum benefit to all.

New Plans, Same Goals

This was, of course, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing everyone to change their plans. Luckily, Outreach’s work alongside communities is engineered for plans to change, and change again, in order to find the most beneficial, empowering path toward a community’s goals.

With ample inspiration and assistance from leaders in the well-established, Outreach-affiliated Nicaraguan community of El Lanito, the neighboring community of El Abra has mobilized into a formidable team of motivated virus-fighters to combat the spread of COVID-19.

El Lanito’s experienced leaders have been working alongside El Abra’s team (from a safe distance) to help facilitate their community’s immediate plans, and to establish a framework in which residents there can continue to develop and enhance their ability to address the issues they face, well beyond COVID-related concerns. Essentially, El Lanito’s community-led teams are functioning as ambassadors hope to their grateful, determined neighbors, bringing news of Outreach and the ways it can help others reach their goals, and change their lives for the better.

El Abra community members meet in a borrowed classroom to discuss, record and prioritize their issues

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, community members met in homes, classrooms, and common areas. With safety measures now in place, smaller groups have continued meeting in outdoor settings, keeping the momentum going strong.

Sharing Ideas, Building Consensus

While still very new to the Outreach Process, a little has gone a long way for El Abra’s team. After observing the mechanics of community-led actions in person during a visit to El Lanito, local leaders from El Abra returned to their village to meetings with three groups of residents to hear concerns and collaborate on prioritizing needs. With each meeting, hope grew more and more among the people of El Abra. 

A whirlwind of productivity followed! Along with projects like addressing the issue of smoke in homes from cooking stoves, El Abra’s teams were able to access water filters for 20 households, acquire materials to construct hand-washing stations at schools and families in rural areas; and supplies of first aid kits!

Remember: El Abra is not an official Outreach-affiliated community — they were inspired by the methods and success achieved by El Lanito’s teams over the years, and independently mobilized to emulate their neighbors’ work.

It’s incredible to consider how far inspiration can travel — first from Outreach’s facilitators to the El Lanito community years ago, then from one person to another over the years throughout El Lanito, then to El Abra, and now to you, reading this. Pass it on!

How to Help

But how can you pass it on? One of the most effective and immediate ways to keep this and so much more good going strong is by becoming a donor to Outreach! All we do all day is empower communities worldwide to work together and overcome the issues they face — building new opportunities that last for generations. It’s all great, but the best part is that the more people who join us, the better everything can be. Since 100% of all donations to Outreach go completely to our work alongside communities, you can claim all 100% of the potential good feelings resulting from your support, because it is literally ALL GOOD. See for yourself — donate now!