Before my trip to the Netherlands

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The last headaches, before my journey to the Netherlands begins: have I got all the required paperwork needed for the journey via different airports and countries? Which COVID-test results are needed? Traveling has not become any easier in (post-) COVID times. Each country has its own regulations and could refuse you entry …

Fortunately packing my suitcase is not difficult. I will travel as light as I can, with a ‘ briefcase ‘ only, because I plan to travel a lot to various parts of the country, meeting as many people as possible. The fewer bags I have to lug around, the better. On Wednesday I travel to Managua to fly on and to arrive in the Netherlands on Friday afternoon.

The stalwarts of Vivir Juntos
Of course I also have a meeting with the people of Vivir Juntos, our mother foundation, with members of the old and the new Board. Vivir Juntos was established in 2015 with the aim of helping the Ruach Fundación to establish itself as an independent organisation in the first five years, in charge of the raising of funds in Nicaragua and elsewhere. So the plan was for Vivir Juntos to gradually reduce the percentage they fund of the total budget per year. But almost 7 years later Vivir Juntos still covers about 50% of the total budget. Nonetheless, Vivir Juntos has agreed to the request of the Ruach Foundation to extend their financial help. 
Vivir Juntos has acted as a very reliable and conscientious partner and we are very grateful for their compassionate attitude. Throughout the years Vivir Juntos sought and found funds for the continuation of our work here. We are also grateful to a loyal group of regular donors among friends, family and sympathizers who support our work through Vivir Juntos.

However, it must be said that the Fundación is struggling to fulfill its obligations, i.e. to find more ‘other donors’ and to become less dependent on Vivir Juntos. A change in the composition of the Ruach Board in the middle of last year did not have the desired impact of a more pro-active approach to fund-raising, and the board of the Ruach Fundación even had to request Vivir Juntos to send a regular payment a month early. So it is clear that there are major challenges for this year, both internally and externally.

Since last year the Government has been making increasing demands on NGOs (non-governmental organizations). Financial accountability regulations have been drastically tightened, as the Government fears that ‘foreign money’ will be used against the government (foreign interference). As a result more than 100 NGOs have been closed since last year. In particular poorer people have become the victims as they are no longer able to receive the support that many NGOs provided. This week, another new law was passed that affects NGOs. We still have to study it carefully, but one point is that the assets of a closed NGO will be confiscated by the Government

See you soon Soon I will be back on Dutch soil. It is clear that there is a lot to catch up on. I hope to be able to meet with many of you. For now from a tropical Juigalpa: goodbye!

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