ProNica Executive Director Yarrow Ries and Administrative Assistant Maxwell Zinsmeister visited Nicaragua in May of last year to distribute 2017 earmarked donations for ProNica’s partner organizations. During the visit to Casa Materna in Matagalpa it was learned that the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health no longer wanted pregnant women to be served in private maternal homes. The government mandated women be cared for only in government run homes so after 25 years of service Casa Materna would be closing her doors. With stricter government regulations and a decline in funding due to political and economic climates in both the US and Europe, private funding for many grassroots organizations in Nicaragua was halted. ProNica herself had experienced a slow decline in financial support, given the turbulent economic environment of the last decade. It soon became clear that in order to continue to serve the growing needs of her partners, ProNica would need to restructure.
ProNica’s presence in Managua included an office known as El Centro, and its dormitory style hostel and gathering place Quaker House. Nicaraguan staff included an in-country Director, her assistant, the Quaker House housekeeper and night watchman. The office was originally intended to provide partner support and cultural exchange. It coordinated witness tours and delegations, and distributed funds to the partners. Because of increasing governmental requirements, fees and restrictions, along with declining support, it became economically infeasible to continue. The Board voted to dissolve the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and pull our physical presence out of Nicaragua. In order to close our Nicaraguan operations the Nicaraguan government mandated we liquidate all of our in-country assets.
After failed negotiations with a number of NGOs, we executed a contract with international NGO El Porvenir (EP). The terms of the contract can be summarized as follows: EP took legal ownership of El Centro – the property is to be sold and half of the profits will go to our partner organizations. ProNica did not have legal title to Quaker House yet our attorney was able to connect with the original benefactor and have the ownership transferred directly to EP. EP will continue to operate Quaker House and has retained our staff with a two-year contract. We are thankful the Managua Worship Group will continue to meet at Quaker House.