Sustainable Development Begins with Community Engagement

A sustainable model for development

The 2015 UN Sustainable Development Summit presented a historic and unprecedented opportunity to bring the citizens of the world together to embark on a new path to improve the lives of people the world over. The 17 goals announced at the Summit will guide the global course of action to end poverty, promote prosperity and well-being for all, protect the environment and address climate change for years to come.

With objectives closely aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) envisions a world where poverty caused by rural isolation no longer exists. We work with communities to create access to essential healthcare, education, and economic opportunities by building footbridges over impassable rivers, focusing on local engagement in each step in the process to ensure sustainability, and replicability, with each new project.

young boy wearing blue shirt and hat, looking at bridge in nicaragua

The importance of community engagement

Strong partnerships with municipalities translate to local investment, and a lasting dedication to maintaining the bridge. Support from local leaders increases trust from families and individuals, and encourages participation from capable volunteers and builders. Active participation during site preparation and bridge construction solidifies a sense of ownership by community members, a vital component to the sustainability of Bridges to Prosperity programs. A bridge ultimately belongs to the community it serves, and the bridge-building process presents a pivotal opportunity for the community to own the bridge from the very beginning.

Local investment

Municipal partners help to source materials and labor, help to organize community meetings, and take responsibility for monitoring and maintaining the bridge after completion. Community partners are equally important. Individuals and families often donate land for bridge construction, volunteer to work on bridge site preparation and construction, offer shelter and resources for traveling volunteer teams, and participate in bridge maintenance efforts.

Little girl leaning against her mom on a bridge, next to a suspended bridge in Nicaragua

The lasting impact of a bridge

By engaging local community on all levels, from regional governments to individuals, Bridges to Prosperity advances a sustainable model that puts the focus on people and the opportunities that make it possible for them to thrive. Through connection, we create the foundation for opportunity.

Boys riding bikes across suspended bridge, next to a boy leaning on the fencing on a bridge in Nicaragua