The Winds of Peace Foundation Advisory Committee met in the first weekend of February to consider 16 project proposals from Nicaragua. This was a rich and diverse array of projects, some from existing partners and some from new sources. Among the hopeful opportunities funded were grants to two of the communities hardest-hit by recent drought and resulting food shortages, two groups working very hard on gender issues within Nicaragua, an Indigenous community, a half-dozen rural cooperatives and a photo essay book being compiled by Paul Dix and Pam Fitzpatrick (see my reference in the August 4, 2009 entry here). Microlending continues to occupy a central role in the Foundation’s strategies, even in the face of eroding economic conditions, a “no-payer” movement, and relentlessly poor weather. I suspect our session was the best work to come out of St. Olaf College (our meeting site) on Saturday!
This process of evaluation and accompaniment is central to the Foundation’s methodology and core beliefs about providing assistance to those in need. Our presence- financially, physically and emotionally- with our partners is an important piece of what we bring to those with whom we work. Thus, we’ll be identifying the dates for another Advisory Committee trip to Nicaragua later this year, perhaps to visit some of the very same organizations funded two weeks ago. Watch for some additional notes and initiatives stemming from our recent meetings!