ANIDES is an organization with whom Winds of Peace has partnered for the past several years. It’s a group devoted to lifting up women, helping them to understand and embrace their rights and to explore their capacities as the critical players in strengthening their families and Nicaraguan society. ANIDES has not only helped with basic living amenities for its women and their families across 34 communities, but has also assisted in the formation of communal banks in outlying villages. The banks have created access to economic resources, but more importantly have helped to teach finance, cooperative responsibility and the dignity to be discovered in effectively managing such a collaborative endeavor.
Recently, one of the Foundation colleagues visited with the rural cooperative members to talk about their visions, their needs, and the aspirations. After the meeting and some contemplation about the visit, Gloria Ordoñez- director of ANIDES and the hands-on godmother of the women members- drafted a thoughtful reflection about both the progress of the women and the challenging road ahead. It’s worth reading, as excerpted with her knowledge and blessing, below:
For some five years we proposed to deal with this challenge in a joint way with the women, using tools for knowledge management, so that they might learn some of their good and bad practices, improving their self esteem, and the importance that the roles that each one performs have for making their organization stronger, working on the recognition of different leaderships that each one exercises within their organization.
For us the application of methodological tools seem important (Results Oriented Management), for their recognition as human beings and through them that they might recognize their skills, abilities and capacities. Likewise that they might recognize the medium in which they can “exploit” or apply those skills. These tools help to recognize what I am now, what I want, a balance in life, the personal values and how through learning to build their path toward the personal and organizational vision.
These tools not only help the growth and personal development, but also the organization, all the members working together to recognize themselves not only as individuals but as organization, the construction of this path toward the vision from the systemic approach helps them to take more ownership over the organization and to work, putting into practice solidarity as a fundamental principle of cooperativism. We know that putting this into practice, or the implementation of a good attitude toward the members, is a long and steep path that we need to walk. In these years the members have shown an openness to change and are involved in the processes, more and more in a conscious manner.
… So we have grown together little by little, we started with 15 very fearful women that would arrive at the workshops in the company of their husbands or sons; now we have grown in number and active participation; maybe we needed to not move too quickly through stages, so that everyone might participate at the same level….
The communal banks have been the space for learning to set the foundation for the development of trust among the members, strengthening their self esteem, formation and skill development. Making a sieve in order to create cooperatives with the members that show better strengths, identifying and strengthening the common elements of institutionality (system of values held in common for governance).
We see that the role of ANIDES is still very important for STRENGTHENING THE INTERNAL SELF MANAGEMENT CAPACITY of the incipient cooperative organizations. Through accompaniment processes so that they themselves might facilitate them with knowledge acquired in previous processes, GUIDING the comprehension of INSTRUMENTS FOR COLLECTIVE ENTREPRENEURIAL GOOD GOVERNANCE (these documents already exist for each cooperative) in this new stage we will teach their leaders to use and apply them.
Precisely through this we think that strengthening a promoter group of leaders, we will expedite (in a cascading manner) the training process of the different cooperative organizations from within, being accompanied by ANIDES, so that the grassroots cooperatives might be able to continue strengthening themselves FROM THE IDENTIFICATION OF THEIR OWN STRENGTHS AND COMMON IDENTITIES, (like what you call the institution, that has to do with their roots, values and common commitments as women who are living in similar circumstances, learning to get ahead with their families in the midst of adversities).
Thanks for your multiple perspectives and contributions to continue going more in depth to make a different in the cooperative organizations, which is the strong commitment of ANIDES.
This memorandum is a complete and focused organization development roadmap, as holistic, sophisticated and ambitious as any strategic document I’ve encountered. Its focus includes the health and strength of the organization, its current and future leadership, the well-being of the individual members, a sensitivity to collaborative realities, courage to take on enormous difficulties and a vision which exceeds the boundaries of sight. It’s a document of hope and expectation, and one that any U.S. business organization would be challenged to achieve and proud to own.
When people occasionally ask me whether there is good news in Nicaragua, whether there is cause for optimism for the future, I will use the words above to state the unequivocal answer, yes….