Community Leaders’ Perception Regarding Practices And Outcomes Of Child Sponsorship Programs Implemented By International Non-Governmental Organizations Towards The Improvement Of Their Communities In Leon, Nicaragua.
Child Sponsorship Programmes (CSPs) were created in the late 20’s as a response to the adversity and havoc resulted from I World War’s in central Europe; in this scenario, these programmes helped the orphans by offering improvements to their vulnerable life conditions such as: shelter, meals and clothing (Watson 2014). Nowadays, CSP type of work in developing countries has evolved worldwide by adjusting to the foreign culture and developing tailored programs to meet the needs of the communities they work at; for example- as described by Watson and Clarke (2014)- some INGO’s CSP work directly with children and other work in advocacy and assistance for disadvantages groups. Also, their number in developing countries (i.e.: Nicaragua) has increased as well. INGOs in Nicaragua flourished in the 80s, these worked in rural areas negatively affected by Sandinistas-Contras war and natural disasters (Hasse 2011); in order to develop communities of direct influence through education, INGOs use CSPs as tools to reach this goal. In this research, I explore the perception of community development from the perspective of Community Leaders (CLs) from rural areas in Leon, Nicaragua. It will highlight positive aspects perceived from the CLs regarding CSPs; such as support to the poorest families in education, medical attention and nutrition. On the other hand, this investigation will describe what CLs observed as challenges associated with the relationship between the INGOs and the community (unequitable distribution of aid, creation of tensions and divisions within communities and no coordination with CL); also, how CSP are implemented (creation of dependency and Non-continuity and unsustainability of CSP). More involvement of CL is suggested in order to improve the positive impact of CSP.