Arne Hoel, World Bank

Nicaragua: Years After Dialogue Concludes Community and Company Work Together to Prevent COVID-19

April 30, 2020 - From 2008 until 2015, CAO worked with ASOCHIVIDA, an association of 2,000 former sugarcane workers and their families, and Nicaragua Sugar Estates Limited (NSEL), a leading sugarcane producer in Nicaragua, to address concerns related to the health, environmental, and livelihood impacts of sugarcane production on NSEL’s workforce and on local communities. The main concern raised by ASOCHIVIDA was related to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), a disease from which many of its members were suffering and dying. NSEL and ASOCHIVIDA initiated and sustained a dialogue process focused on finding joint solutions on the cause of the disease and ways to improve livelihoods and living conditions for the complainants, their families, and communities. The CAO case was closed in 2015 after monitoring implementation of the agreement.

Several years after CAO’s intervention these parties have continued to work together. Now, as a result of the global pandemic of COVID-19, ASOCHIVIDA and NSEL have taken their collaboration to the next level and came together again to design a joint strategy to prevent the spread of the virus among ASOCHIVIDA members, staff and their communities. With the support of NSEL, ASOCHIVIDA members disseminated basic information about COVID-19 and related health preventive measures. As part of the strategy, they also engaged in presentations and discussions with doctors about COVID-19 to understand the potential impacts and risks involved, acquired and distributed alcohol gel, soap and gloves to community members, put up informative material and adopted preventive health measures to avoid infection of community members. ASOCHIVIDA and NSEL are a model for how communities and companies can collaborate and use dialogue platforms to find joint solutions to a common issue, in this case, COVID-19. CAO has published the parties’ joint statement about this effort here to shed light on their remarkable collaboration.

Joint Statement from the Parties

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Access the Case Study – Building Hope and Health through Dialogue: A Story of Company-Community Dispute Resolution in Nicaragua