The fundraising and the legal work took a little longer than we thought, but we are officially beginning the construction of the Nicaragua Non-Profit Network (NNN). Now the web developers begin the site construction under our direction. To assist us and ensure the new proposed system does everything we have envisioned, we have set up an Advisory Board composed of about 30 leaders of other NGOs and government officials. In this manner a community of NGOs can help guide the construction of the site. We are expecting the first phase to be completed around June, 2015 and projected launch of late summer, early fall.
What is the Proposed Nicaragua Non-Profit Network?
It is a proposed website and sustainable platform where all non-profit organizations, non-government organizations, government entities, and individual volunteers helping Nicaragua can share knowledge, resources, experience, locations of operations, calendar events, needs and even their resulting goals and accomplishments. This will result in a collective effort to increase visibility, efficiency and proper distribution of aid. For the smaller NGOs the platform can provide access to resources that only the larger NGOs currently enjoy. It is hoped that all groups will then be aware of each other, work together and create a Win-Win for Nicaragua.
Who will benefit from NNN?
• All NGOS and their constituent members or employees
• Volunteers seeking opportunities to help
• Aid professionals seeking employment
• Knowledge experts
• Visitors seeking information on aid groups
• Government agencies – Nicaraguan, USA and other countries
• And many others
Several years ago the previous USA ambassador met with some of us operating NGOs in Nicaragua. His question was simply “What are people doing with their various organizations to help Nicaragua?” We could only respond with what our own organizations were doing and what the larger ones such as American Nicaragua Foundation, Fabretto, Hispamer, Wisconsin-Nicaragua Partners of the Americas, etc were accomplishing. It is fairly unknown where the other various NGOs exist, who they are, what they are doing and what geographical areas are covered. There are said to be over 3,000 NGOs operating in Nicaragua but they are mostly unaware of each other and there are no geographical maps that show where there is overlap or complete lack of assistance.
At the same time a group of us decided to start area conferences for NGOs providing libraries to communities. In the first year 75 people attended and in the second year, over 200 attended. We were overwhelmed with requests for assistance and simply did not have the funds to provide these physical forums even though greatly needed. And that was just for Library NGOs.
This need for networking NGOs was discussed with USA Embassy personnel and upon agreement we began investigating what other countries were doing and what type of platform would be of greatest benefit yet easy to administer. During our investigation we discovered that HOLA (Health Organizations of Latin America) located in the states was also considering a similar project and had begun initial discussions. One of their concerns were the many medical brigades coming to Nicaragua with good intentions but not knowing where their assistance was most needed, how to get medical equipment into Nicaragua and most important, avoiding giving similar medical care to the same village or area with unknown results due to multiple duplicated inoculations or counter-productive medical care. We met with the HOLA group and agreed to join forces.
We are seeking organizations and donors that will help us fund this project though we now have the initial funding to get things going. All of us on the NNN committee are volunteering our time so all funds will be utilized with little overhead except payment to the web developers creating the platform and continued maintenance and support of the system. Of course, all donations are tax deductible for USA individuals and organizations through the 501c3 IRS regulations.
This is a unique opportunity to help Nicaragua since this project will help all existing NGOs, volunteers and visitors seeking information about aid efforts in Nicaragua. As our mission states “this will allow aid organizations and support organizations in Nicaragua to share knowledge, resources, experiences, locations of operations, needs and even their resulting goals and accomplishments in a collective effort to increase visibility, efficiency and proper distribution of aid.
• There are over 3,000 NGOs and aid groups working in Nicaragua
• Other aid groups exist such as church groups that come down for two weeks for a specific project e.g. build a well for a community
• Groups are not aware of each other, even if working on a similar project in nearby location
• Results are inefficiencies, geographical overlaps and areas receiving no aid
• Many NGOS reinventing the wheel, unfamiliar with Nicaragua regulations, don’t know where to start
• Nicaragua government (and the world) is unaware of good meaningful projects
• Problems in getting equipment, personnel and aid packages into Nicaragua
• There is no database of aid groups operating in Nicaragua
What We Believe the NNN Web Platform Will Accomplish
• Provide a forum for questions and solutions between and among the aid groups, volunteers, knowledge experts, government agencies, aid professionals seeking positions and visitors simply seeking information
• Provide a collective effort to increase visibility, efficiency, efficacy, and proper distribution of aid
• Provide a common, single voice for the NGOs to the world for their many accomplishments, needs and goals
• Provide assistance for common needs such as necessary documentation, setting up a NGO, getting 501c3 status, visas for temporary aid workers, Nicaragua regulations, legal advice
• Allow the sharing of knowledge, experiences and resources
• Encourage working together to make a greater collective effort
• Maximize assistance to Nicaragua
• Provide mapping capability to see exactly where everyone is helping
• Provide a database of NGOs and aid groups operating in Nicaragua
• Provide a calendar of events for notable activities in an area
• Provide visibility to even the smallest NGO or aid group
• Provide a means to find other aid groups doing similar projects or working in certain geographical area
In essence, the NNN platform will be a wealth of information that will be shared with everyone. The challenge will be finding all the NGOs and aid groups and ensuring they join so that we know of their existence. Each aid group or NGO will have their own profile to include at least the following:
• Org, company or individual name
• Purpose of org – mission, goals, vision
• Location (s), addresses – in Nicaragua and origin country
• Contact information for org and principals
• Need for volunteers, basic requirements for volunteers
• Nicaragua area being serviced i.e. Granada area, Bluefields, etc.
• And much more
The majority of NGOs are small groups simply helping by setting up a library, community center, building a community well, building a school, etc. They may not have the resources or time to create their own websites, FaceBook page or other social media. By creating a profile on our NNN web platform they can still be known, easily found and share knowledge, experiences and resources with the largest of the NGOs. Many NGOs have already expressed their desire to be part of the initial testing. Our time frame is to begin testing by Summer, 2015.
More details are available on our information website at www.nicaraguanonprofitnetwork.org . This is a greatly needed project and will benefit Nicaragua in many ways.
For more information on the project or to help provide funding contact:
Matthew Jesse Fioravanti