Completed Las Lagunas Projects 2002-2012
The following is a list of projects conducted in Las Lagunas in the last ten years. Many of these projects are ongoing.
Square Meter Gardens: The first project in 2002 was to teach school children the concept of square meter
(kitchen) gardens. Students learned how to make compost, construct the gardens and plant appropriate seeds. The project was moved forward by students teaching their parents how to plant gardens at home.
Seed Saving: This project, a follow-up project to the gardens, taught a method to gather seeds, dry them and save them for the next growing cycle. The idea was well-received. However, the humid climate made it difficult to keep the seeds dry. This project was not as successful as hoped.
Nutrition: School children learned about balanced diets and proper nutrition. The material was presented in grade school classes using an interactive puppet show.
Construction of Las Lagunas Learning Center: The center was built in 2010 with funds from an anonymous
donor. The opening ceremony was attended by a delegation of travelers from several areas of Wisconsin. The
center continues to expand its programs and provide opportunities for community members of all ages.
Installation of Lending Library: The concept of checking out a book to read at home is fairly new in Nicaragua. In
2004 Jane Mirandette founded the first lending library in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. The following year W/NP began to open libraries in established learning centers. In 2010 La Estrellita (little star) lending library opened in Las Lagunas. La Estrellita is staffed by scholarship students. Expanding the book collection is an ongoing project.
Youth Leadership Training: A group of adolescents elected to the Scholarship Board of Directors received a one-day leadership workshop using the 7 habits of Highly Effective Teens.
Scrapbook Exchange:The Las Lagunas secondary scholarship students created a scrapbook about their community. The scrapbook was exchanged with Appleton middle school students who made similar scrapbooks about life in Appleton.
Grade School Presentations: The beginning of the school year in Nicaragua is the first week of February. Since this often coincides with the Appleton Partners winter trip, we have presented opening day ceremonies at the grade school.
Presentations have included a carnival, stations games and community competitions.
Repairs for Health Center: Appleton Partners worked together with the community of Las Lagunas to renovate the health center. El Centro de Salud was painted inside and out and wired for electricity. Medical volunteers continue to in-service designated community volunteers regarding health issues.
Plastic Project: A method to iron recycled plastic and use it for making back packs and other products was introduced in 2009. The idea was to have a way to reuse plastic bags and to help the community earn money by selling recycled plastic products. Appleton Partners felt this would be a good project. However, it was not well-received by the community and future plans for this project were discontinued. Learning from this experience, we discuss new projects with Las Lagunas to make sure they are wanted and needed by the community.
Water Filtration Project: Paul Flickinger (Kalamazoo, Michigan) of Clean Water For The World donated a water filtration system. Water is brought from the well and passed through the filter killing bacteria by ultraviolet light. Before the installation of the filter, children often suffered from diarrhea. The water filter has made a big improvement in the children’s health.
Swing sets for grade school: During the 2006 visit, Appleton Partners constructed two sets of swing sets at the grade school.
Eyeglass Mission: Appleton Partners joined forces with the W/NP Martin Eyeglass Mission in 2008 to conduct a two-day eye screening and distribution of glasses.
Health Screening/consultation: Medical volunteers consult with members of the community regarding minor health concerns. The volunteers also direct patients to La Clínica Verde in Boaco. Clínica Verde is an
environmentally sustainable health clinic in Nicaragua for women and children living in poverty. This clinic has a minimal or no fee for rural patients living in poverty.
Bead project/jewelry making: This successful ongoing project is allowing Las Lagunas women to earn money for the first time. Since starting the project in 2011, the process has been refined and lessons in quality control are proving beneficial. It is hoped that a wider market for jewelry sales will soon become available.
Chicken Project:This project was initiated by the Las Lagunas women in 2006. A proposal was written and submitted to Appleton Partners. With seed money provided by Wilson Middle School, the first group of Las Lagunas women received ten chickens and a rooster. Each participant was required to gift ten offspring to another woman within a year. In this four-phased program, based on the Heifer Project, the community was able to provide a source of food and income for many families.
CICO: The Centro Infantil Comunitario (day care) is an award-winning project initiated by the youth of Las Lagunas. With seed money to purchase start-up materials, a birth-to-five year’s program was established in the community. The program is run by scholarship student volunteers. Training received at CICO has enhanced child development and has provided a jump start prior to entering first grade.