August 8, 2008
Nicaraguan Local Education Development Plans Improve Health Indicators at the Municipal Level
Local Education Development Plans (PEDL), a planning methodology created and supported by the LMS PRONICASS project, has led to the alignment and mobilization of planning and resources within multiple governmental and non-governmental agencies to confront health, education, and environmental challenges in Tuma La Dalia, a rural municipality in the mountainous department of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Following a series of interventions focusing on water quality, diarrhea cases among those who consume water from the seven principal rivers in the region were reduced on average from 92.5 to 34.9 cases per month between October 2006 and March 2007. A Municipal Development Committee (CDM), consisting of local police, elected officials, members of the Ministries of Health and Education, and local organizations, was established by those who completed the PEDL methodology to lead river cleanup efforts and enforce new regulations. Efforts of the CDM were focused on local coffee plantations that were dumping fermented byproducts of coffee processing into the rivers. Through an aligned effort across sectors, 35 coffee plantations have been monitored (90% of which have complied with new regulations), and farmers have received education on filtration efforts, water quality management, and improved living and health conditions for their workers. Enforcement has continued until the present, now expanding to other areas within the municipality and possibly neighboring departments.