In Mary Gilbert’s article in this issue, you learned what QEW Mini-Grants are, but you may be less familiar with ProNica. ProNica is a Quaker-founded NGO that currently works in solidarity with nine Nicaraguan projects. The organization began under the guidance of Southeastern Yearly Meeting (SEYM) in 1987, and later evolved into an autonomous NGO. It is still a Quaker organization: six of the seven board members are Friends, and all involved are expected to hold Quaker values. ProNica is funded primarily with donations from SEYM, individuals, and from Friends Witness Tours and other service tours from educational institutions.
ProNica has no projects of its own; rather, it forms solidarity with those in the country who have work and need support. ProNica follows along the lines of Eduardo Galeano’s ideas:
“I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person. I have a lot to learn from other people.”
Or, as shared by one Friend on the QEW discussion listserv:
“If you have come to help me, you are are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Lila Watson, Aboriginal woman of Australia.
Recently, QEW and ProNica have found two projects that overlap in mission and vision. One was the inventory of the flora and fauna within the planned route of the Nicaraguan Transoceanic Canal (which is thankfully now on hold), which was supported by both a QEW Mini-Grant and ProNica. The second is the current project with the Acahualt Women’s Center.
The Acahualt Women’s Center had excellent family planning materials, produced in Spanish, but they did not have the funds to reprint and distribute them. As the QEW Population group will tell you, population growth is a concern and focus for reducing impact on Earth and family planning is one path to alleviation. Their materials were vetted by several people in QEW and found to be rich and accurate.
With the help of ProNica and one of its board members, the Acahualt Women’s Center and ProNica put together a project proposal to reprint the materials, distribute them, and have a short workshop for their people on how best to use them. The QEW Mini-Grants committee found it well within its parameters and funded the project for $500.
ProNica provided the matching requirement for the QEW Mini-Grant and has posted the information in its newsletter and on its website. ProNica makes a specific appeal for donors to give to the project and thus double the money, via the grant, in much the same manner that public radio fundraising campaigns do.
Individuals who wish to help with this fundraising specifically for the Acahualt Women’s Clinic Family Planning Project, can do so on the ProNica site (http://pronica.org/donate). Also please feel free to share this with others as you feel so led.