Community Involvement in Nicaragua
One of the core values of ECI Development is our commitment to giving in the neighborhoods where we build. In our community around Gran Pacifica, there are so many ways to give back.
Our goal as a community is to reach as many different sectors as we can to provide the greatest impact.
Whether it is through the giving of funds, or the giving of our time – we know that we are doing our part to help our community thrive!
Our Corporate Social Responsibility Team is continually looking to expand our reach, so if you see a project in need, let us know and we’ll find out how to get involved.
Gran Pacifica’s beaches are home to giant sea turtles, who come to shore to lay their eggs. Although sea turtles are “protected” in Nicaragua, poachers (or hueveros as they are known locally) are one of the greatest threats to their survival, along with boat propellers, plastics, and fishing nets. After noticing the turtle eggs being stolen to sell in the markets by the hueveros, the Gran Pacifica Social Responsibility Team implemented a program where they purchase the eggs from the poachers at a rate of $20.00 per turtle nest. By purchasing the eggs from the hueveros, we are supporting the hueveros in a more ecologically friendly way, and helping to preserve the precious turtle eggs so that they can hatch. To accommodate the growing number of turtle eggs being collected, a turtle sanctuary was built to house the collected turtle eggs and allow them to hatch safely. By placing the eggs in the sanctuary, it increases the turtles level of survival by 90%. Turtles hatched on these beaches will come back to the shores of Gran Pacifica for years to come to hatch their eggs, so it is our duty to ensure that they have a safe place to do so.
Gran Pacifica has been partnering with Los Pipitos, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults with disabilities. The Los Pipitos program collects recyclable paper, cardboard, and plastics, which are then made into a variety of handicrafts by the children and young adults enrolled in the Los Pipitos program. Los Pipitos sells the handicrafts, which allows the organization and the individual to earn an income, as well as a valuable skill that they will have for a lifetime.
Led by ECI Development employee, Ruth Vado, Gran Pacifica has collected and donated 2,703 pounds of paper, 108 pounds of plastic, and 291 pounds of cardboard to Los Pipitos.
Beach Clean Up
Helping to keep our oceans clean is a priority and throughout the year. Regular beach clean-ups take place with the help of Gran Pacifica residents. During beach cleanups, plastics and other items that can be sold or recycled are separated from the waste and donated to help support the local economy.
San Diego River Clean Up
Each year, Gran Pacifica collaborates with the local government (alcaldia), along with volunteers to clean up the San Diego river bed. In addition to removing traditional garbage, we cut back on the tree limbs and brush, so that water can move freely through the river bed.
The Seed Project
In July 2018, as many businesses in Nicaragua began laying off employees or closing down, the Seed Project was started as was started to address the financial limitations of many families.
Started by Corporate Social Responsibility Committee of Gran Pacifica, this Project involved talking to community members about planting small gardens in their homes to grow food. Alejandro Mendoza, Holly Wilson, and Esperanza Angula prepared seed packets, as well as an educational program that taught people how to grow their own fruits and vegetables, how to compost, and why growing your own produce is beneficial. The program has been very popular to date with many gardens popping up. The goal of the program is to encourage families to continue to grow their own food, as well as extras which they can either give to neighbors or sell in markets, as well as passing this skill down to their children and grandchildren.
Gran Pacifica residents and guests give annual support to the schools, teachers, and students in the communities surrounding Gran Pacifica in a number of meaningful ways.
For many years, residents, guests, and volunteers have visited local schools to help teach English to the students. Local school teacher, Helio Alfaro, was hired by ECI Development to act as Gran Pacifica’s “Community Liasion”. He was also selected as the “Best Secondary Teacher” in Nicaragua in 2015. In addition to teaching school children English, many Gran Pacifica employees have learned English with the assistance of residents and volunteers including Kent Payne, Help Them Help Themselves, Holly Wilson, Ruth Hiebert, and the many groups who have come to volunteer.
School Improvements and Donations
Through programs such as Pack for a Purpose, Gran Pacifica has been able to collect school supplies to donate to the elementary schools in the Villa El Carmen municipality. In addition to traditional school supplies, other items donated to schools have included televisions and laptops which have helped Nicaraguan students connect with other students around the world.
Throughout the years, Gran Pacifica staff, volunteers, and guests have been instrumental in making much need improvements to schools in the area. Repairs have included furniture repairs, installation of wells and latrines, painting of the interiors and exteriors of school rooms, internet connections, landscaping, and garden beds. All of these improvements have helped to improve the learning environment for both students and teachers, as well as provide them with new skills, in the case of the garden beds.
The health of our community is very important to Gran Pacifica. Gran Pacifica has provided support and education of health services to the communities of Villa El Carmen and beyond in a number of different ways.
Roberto Clemente III Clinic at Gran Pacifica
Construction of a clinic near Gran Pacifica has been a goal of many people for years and became a reality in 2016. The clinic was built to offer health services to the rural communities surrounding Gran Pacifica, as well as for employees, guests, and residents of Gran Pacifica. To date, the clinic has been utilized by several medical and dental mission groups who provided free healthcare to hundreds of community members.
Dog and Cat Sterilization Clinic
Together with Fundacion ADAN, Orprovet, and Julie Burke, Gran Pacifica hosted its first two dog and cat sterilization clinics in 2018. These clinics are geared toward minimizing the overpopulation of dogs and cats in the area, as well as educating pet owners on the importance of sterilization. Nearly 100 dogs and cats have been sterilized as a result of the clinics, which will greatly reduce the stray animal population in the area.
Read more in our Blog Post – For the Love of Animals
Well and Clean Water
Access to clean drinking water is not something that is readily available in rural Nicaragua. Over the years, Gran Pacifica has assisted community members to build new wells or improve existing wells to allow access to potable drinking water. Gran Pacifica has been instrumental in installing wells at schools in the nearby villages of San Bartolo, San Diego, El Zapote, California, and Piedras Pasadas. Without access to a well, community members must travel long distances to get access to clean water.
We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few pounds of space in your suitcase and take supplies for the projects we support in need, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects.