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Nicaragua  |  Sustainable Development Program  RSS Feed  RSS  Subscribe to this Blog

Program Goal: . The goal of this program is to create a training opportunity for young Mayagnas (indigenous peoples of the Miskito Coast) in an economic activity that will generate a vital sustainable income for their community. VIDA has partnered with Nicaraguan development organization BIONIC to complete this program in 2013. 

Who are the Mayagna? The Mayagna Awas Tingni live in the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. Awas Tingni is an indigenous Mayagna community of some 2,400 members on the Miskito Coast of Nicaragua. "Awas Tingni" means "Pine River". The median age of Awas Tingni is relatively low; there are about 500 members of the community (roughly 1/4 of the population) under the age of five. The community has one primary school. There is also a secondary school which serves about 30 students. The Mayagna inhabited much of the Mosquito Coast in the 16th century. Since then, they have become marginalized following the emergence of the Miskito as a regional power. Today, most people speak Mayagna at home but can also speak Miskito in order to interact with the communities around them. In 2001 Awas Tingni won an important ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, established in 1979 by agreement among the signatories of the Organization of American States (OAS). The ruling established that indigenous peoples had rights to the land where they had traditionally lived and had tenure. Awas Tingni’s resources are a vast pine forest, and hard wood, that was severely damaged by Hurricane Felix (2007). The people in Awas Tingni raise cattle, hogs, and chickens, as well as several types of plant crops.

What is the program about? The project will focus on youth technical training and sustainable community economic development. In order to accomplish its goals, VIDA will build a hangar that will be equipped as a carpentry shop. The young Mayagnas will have access to the shop in order to learn how to use different equipments and machinery. VIDA will hire a local carpenter who will be in charge of training the youth. During this process a small business will be created among the students and with the support of VIDA’s in country partner BIONIC. VIDA and BIONIC will work with the community to develop a marketing plan for the goods. The busineeses created by this VIDA program will be solely owed by the local inhabitants. The shop will remain an educational center and support the economic development of the Mayagna. A board of community member has been assembled to represent the Mayagna so the community can implement and maintain a long term operational plan.

If you are interested in learning more or supporting this project, please contact David Levine at dlevine@thevida.org.

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