I’ve been making entries in this space since the Winds of Peace website came into being; my earliest entry dates back to January of 2007. I don’t often go back in time to read what was on my mind back then, partly because I’m prone to wince at some of the inexperience and naivete reflected in those early days, but mostly because my views are different today than they were eight years ago. In fact, the context of the country has changed. Our partners have changed. It’s a different world than it was. The Foundation has evolved.
One of the most significant changes has been the work we have undertaken with Dr. Rene Mendoza Vidaurre. I have referenced him here many times in recent years, describing the one-on-one work that he has done with our partner cooperatives, Indigenous groups and others. Rene is a tireless pursuer of healthy development for Nicaraguans. He is a co-founder and former director of NITLAPAN, the University of Central America entity which is the leading research organization in the country. He has worked extensively in the rural sectors of Nicaragua, where development efforts are particularly difficult and few resources are available. He has created and conducted scores of workshops to help strengthen organizational effectiveness and sustainability of the coops. This year he created and conducted The Cooperative Certificate Program, a six-day holistic, intensive, residential workshop designed primarily for rural producers. Earlier this month, Rene completed a week-long visit to the U.S. to study organizational strengthening techniques in venues including Springfield, MO, Minneapolis, MN and Boston, MA.
The significance of Rene’s involvement with WPF is that he has brought an intensive research focus to our work. With more than 30 years of experiences in the Foundation’s history, Rene is synthesizing those experiences with current realities to generate perhaps the most extensive, research-based thinking and writing about Nicaraguan rural development. In an age of global economic interdependence and enormous economic uncertainties, access to fact and successful practice are more important than ever to aid organizations operating anywhere in the world. It might be said that, at one time we were primarily placing funds. Today, we are acting with perspectives of knowledge and specific purpose that are true to the Nicaraguan context.
Many of the recent findings and observations about current context in Nicaragua can be found in Rene’s many weblog entries, featured at this website. If you’ve entertained a curiosity about the Nicaraguan realities with which Winds of Peace has operated over the past 30 years, you will find Rene’s writings insightful, candid revelations about the challenges and importance of financial aid. If you work with a foundation or other agency tasked with providing such aid, you will find Rene’s discernments and conclusions to be perceptive resources for consideration in your grantmaking or lending practices, because they reflect the entirety of Nicaraguan realities: financial, historical, political, social, religious.
From time to time I receive feedback on some of my entries here. I’d be equally interested to hear of reactions to the in-depth work that Rene has undertaken in the name of compassionate research….