Guanacaste Community Fund
Restoring Our Watershed
Greening the Nandamojo
The Asociación para la protección de la cuenca del río Nandamojo, also known in the área between Junquillal and 27 de Abril de Santa Cruz as Restoring our Watershed, or ROW, is a non-profit organization that has been active in the Nandamojo River Valley of Guanacaste, Costa Rica since 2001. ROW is working to create a “green valley” with a healthy ecosystem and abundant opportunities for people to live and prosper. The efforts are focused in two areas: 1) Reclaiming the health and resiliency of natural areas identified as critically damaged or threatened (about 5-10% of the watershed), and 2) Reinvigorating local, sustainable food production to create green jobs.
A signature project of ROW is its “Bees for Trees” initiative, whereby it works with families to help them become expert beekeepers and stewards of their land. The excellent honey they produce is marketed in hotels along the Guanacaste coast and in the central valley.
The Guanacaste Community Fund has supported ROW with two matching grants. The first was to work with landowners to implement erosion control measures on their lands and, more recently, to expand a forested biological corridor along a portion of the banks of the Rio Nandamojo. The GCF is also partnering with the Rio Nandamojo Donor Advised Fund to sponsor a series of hands-on symposiums for landowners to share knowledge and experience in sustainable farming and erosion control.
- 8,000 saplings planted
- Helped 6 watershed families increase their incomes through beekeeping. The honey company established by ROW is on track to collect $20,000 in honey in 2015
- Planted 2km of water-harvesting contour line barriers
Matt Rosensteele, Executive Director
Children’s Education and Health
Creciendo Juntos (Growing Together), is a nonprofit organization that has worked for over twelve years supporting the elementary and high schools in the northern region of the Nicoya Peninsula. It was founded as the social responsibility program of Ecodesarrollos Peninsula Papagayo, the company which developed the Papagayo Peninsula, an enclave of exclusive homes and hotels, including the Four Seasons Resort. Today it operates independently, with a great deal of support from the residents and visitors of Papagayo.
In addition to supporting 18 public elementary and high schools with materials, books, transportation and improvements in infrastructure, Creciendo Juntos also operates the Children’s Clinic in Comunidad de Carrillo. The clinic provides preventive care for over 3,000 children a year through an innovative partnership between Creciendo Juntos, private funders and the Costa Rican Social Security Agency (the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social), which operates the country’s public clinics and hospitals.
The Guanacaste Community Fund has worked with Creciendo Juntos to provide funding for the Children’s Clinic, and has also supported Se Quema el Cielo, a program to raise awareness of the dangers and prevention of wildfires, a serious problem in Guanacaste during the dry season. In 2015 it is working with Creciendo Juntos to implement the Solar Schools Project, which will place solar panels on public schools and teach children about energy conservation and climate change.
- Over $650,000 has been donated through volunteers to schools and families in need
- The Carrillo health clinic takes care of 350-400 kids per month
- 19 communities and 21 educational institutions are in the circle of influence of the NGO
Elsa Bonilla, Director
Water for Guanacaste
ASADAS, which are community organizations responsible for building and operating potable water systems in rural areas, are in great need of assistance. Throughout Guanacaste, several unusually dry years in succession have led to springs disappearing and wells running dry, while population growth in many areas has increased demand.
ASADAS are voluntary organizations that provide a vital service but receive minimal assistance from the government. Among other needs, they need help in improving their capacity to administer resources, designing expansions of aqueducts, drilling wells, and increasing storage capacity.
The GCF is working with ASADAS in the watershed of the Rio Nosara to provide help with planning, design, training, technical support and investment in infrastructure. In this, the GCF is receiving assistance from the Harmony Donor Advised Fund, the CRUSA Foundation, the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center (CEDARENA) and the Boston Chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Most recently, the GCF is working with other partners and the ASADAS to create a Union of ASADAS and a support center for Rio Nosara Watershed and surrounding areas.
Opportunities for Kids
CEPIA, an acronym that stands for Culture, Education and Psychology for Children and Adolescents, is a nonprofit organization that promotes education, health and opportunity for children and their families in Guanacaste. It works extensively with volunteers and with the support of local businesses to provide learning activities, training, psychological and legal counseling and other opportunities to disadvantaged children and families.
CEPIA recently inaugurated a community center in Huacas, Santa Cruz, which provides a wide range of services and activities in one place, and as part of a completely integrated program of support the population it serves.
The Guanacaste Community Fund and the CRUSA Donor Advised Fund has assisted CEPIA with the organization and expansion of a library, the equipping of a computer laboratory and with operating support for Casa Brasilito, a project that it operates together with Abriendo Mentes, another GCF grantee, and the La Paz Community School. Most recently the GCF and the CRUSA Donor Advised Fund supported the installation of an elevator in the community center.
- 1000 children and 500 adults benefit from CEPIA’s programs
- 145 volunteers participated in programs in 2014
- 2 beginners computer groups started in the new computer lab supported by Guanacaste Community Fund
Laetitia Deweer, Director
Río Nosara Biological Corridor
Water and Biodiversity
The Río Nosara Biological Corridor initiative is a new project involving a number of local nonprofits, government agencies, community associations and businesses to conserve and regenerate natural forest and protect biodiversity along the Río Nosara, from its source in the Monte Alto Natural Reserve in Hojancha to its mouth at the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. The project also seeks to protect sources of water and prevent erosion throughout the watershed.
The Project includes four principal areas of activity:
- Biodiversity conservation
- Support for Community Water Management Associations (ASADAS)
- Promotion of sustainable agriculture and markets for local products
- Environmental education
The GCF played an active role in the development of the initiative, and is participating on the local commission which coordinates the project´s activities. The GCF’s Harmony Fund provided seed funding to develop the project and hire a coordinator.
José Mario Gonzalez,
Tel. (506) 8313-9736
For Costa Rica income tax deduction through the CRUSA Foundation.
For U.S. tax deduction through our partner Amigos of Costa Rica.