Where We Work
Bridges to Community develops poverty alleviation strategies with local communities in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Within selected regions of the two countries, Bridges works closely with community leaders to help mitigate poverty in four distinct, but overlapping, program areas: health, education, housing and economic development. We currently operate in 4 different sites in Nicaragua and 1 site in the Dominican Republic.
The selection of the communities is determined through an open process that takes into consideration the needs, goals and interests of the community. Three considerations must be met before Bridges can consider moving forward: the community has the highest level of need, its requirements fall within the BTC program areas and it has a clear leadership structure with resident participation and commitment. Once a community is selected, we begin a year-long assessment period that includes leadership training, workshops, community surveys and interviews that help us create a long-term plan with the community. Bridges then assists the community during the program implementation period to ensure that the whole community is informed and involved. Finally, when the long-term plan is near completion, Bridges helps the community plan for, and develop, ways to continue sustainable growth. Community meetings consist of all community members meeting to discuss overall needs. Then we break into men, women and youth, so we can provide forums where it is easier for people to feel they can speak frankly. We then review for contrast and bring the findings back to the whole community for overall buy in.
The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Caribbean with the largest population. More than a third of the Dominican Republic lives in poverty, with rural areas most susceptible to extreme poverty. The highest incidences of poverty and extreme poverty occur in the Dominican-Haitian border regions. Bridges to Community began working in the DR in 2010. We currently partner with communities in the southwest province of San Juan: Derrumbadero, Caimonial, and La Guama.
Our Work in the DR
It is a common misconception that the life for all Dominicans is comfortable and easy– masked behind the luxurious resorts and tourists’ attractions, an abundance of poverty resides. Exposure to extreme poverty and limited access to water, food and education is a reality to many Dominicans. Continue reading below about our projects and accomplishments.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America after Haiti. Most of the poverty in Nicaragua exists in rural areas. More than 40% of the Nicaraguan population lives in rural areas and two-thirds of them are trying to survive on a little more than $1 per day. Bridges to Community began working in Nicaragua in 1993 and currently partners with rural communities surrounding the municipalities of Masaya, Jinotega, Nindiri and Siuna.
Located on the Atlantic Ocean side of the country, Siuna is filled with natural beauty and diverse cultural traditions.
A small municipality located in the larger department of Masaya, Nindiri has prominent indigenous routes and is located close to the capital.
Known for its vibrant festivals and talented artisans, Masaya is located just south of the capital of Managua.
Surrounded by cloud forests and tucked in between mountains is the “misty city” of Jinotega, a large province with a small population of only 75,000. Over 90% of the city’s inhabitants work in the livestock and agriculture industry, mostly on small and medium-sized farms, growing coffee, beans, corn, and other vegetables. Jinotega produces over 80% of the country’s coffee exports.
The department of Masaya, about one hour outside of the capital of Nicaragua, Managua, in western Nicaragua, is the smallest department in the country but has the highest population density. With active volcanoes serving as a backdrop to lush forests, beautiful lakes and lagoons, it is not hard to see why Masaya is known as a tourist mecca. However, only a few kilometers outside the bustling city center, you will encounter many of the rural, poverty-stricken communities with which BTC works. Expand below to learn more!
Nindiri is a municipality located in Nicaragua’s smallest but most densely populated department of Masaya. Made up of over 17 communities, Nindiri is home to more than 48,000 people. Only a short distance from Masaya Volcano National Park, Nindiri itself sits on a volcanic rock foundation formed centuries ago. Today the impressive crater attracts visitors for its beauty and the unique ecosystems it creates. Yet, despite Nindiri’s wealth of natural beauty, many families here live in poverty, often without proper shelter or easy access to clean water. BTC helps to provide these necessities. Expand below to learn more!
Siuna is located on the eastern side of Nicaragua, closer to the Atlantic Ocean. It is part of one of Nicaragua’s two autonomous regions, the Autonomous Region of the North, or RAAN, making it a unique area to explore in the country for its distinct history, traditions, and ways of life. The capital of Siuna has the same name and is surrounded by over 200 rural communities.