Building Hope and Health Through Dialogue:
A Story of Company-Community Dispute Resolution in Nicaragua
This is the story of how a dispute-resolution process convened by CAO resulted in a company and community working together to solve their issues. It is also the story of what seemed at first to be a dispute between a specific company and former workers, soon proved to be a local manifestation of a much larger public health issue.
In March 2008, 673 residents of communities in Nicaragua filed a complaint with CAO—with the assistance of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) based in Washington DC—against their former employer the San Antonio Sugar Mill. The complainants were former sugar cane workers who were suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) of unknown origins. In their opinion this was related to their labor conditions and work as sugar cane cutters. Here is what happened when the two parties decided to engage in the CAO-convened dialogue.