MCC began its program in Bolivia in 1960, sending agriculture workers to two recently settled Mennonite colonies. Today, MCC works alongside communities in rural Moro Moro to build water systems, dry latrines and community gardens and to help farmers find ways to better support themselves. MCC provides librarian training and support for community libraries in and around Santa Cruz, as well as supporting peace, education and income generation efforts in this area. MCC continues its relationship with Old Colony Mennonites, with workers in agriculture and with a center that promotes education, health care and farming practices.
MCC work in Brazil was concentrated in the eastern half of the states of Pernambuco and Paraíba through partnerships with Catholic and Protestant churches, nongovernmental organizations, rural workers’ unions and local government and grassroots organizations. Efforts included assisting with cistern construction at sites including local public schools, teaching students about organic agriculture through a school garden, constructing biodigestors and supporting churches’ work to offer preschool and afterschool programs. A family peace project provided seminars and workshops to local church groups on communication, mediation and conflict resolution.
In a country torn by long-running armed conflict, Colombian Mennonite, Mennonite Brethren, Brethren in Christ and other churches courageously reach out to people affected by violence. With MCC assistance, churches provide food, household supplies, job training and medical care to displaced people and host trainings in trauma healing, conflict transformation and peace theology. MCC also supports a documentation project to track human rights abuses against members of Colombia’s Protestant churches. A sister church program links churches in Colombia with churches outside the country. MCC also invites congregations everywhere to pray and work for peace in Colombia.
In Costa Rica, MCC has partnered with the Costa Rican Convention, an association of Mennonite churches located in different regions of the country, working in themes of peace and conflct transformation, disaster prevention and emergency response, and currently places worker with a center for adults with different abilities.
MCC began work in El Salvador to respond to the tremendous needs of people forced from home by civil war in the 1980s. Relief efforts expanded into housing, medical care, income generation and other areas, and MCC worked through human rights networks and supporting churches to urge an end to the war. MCC has responded to numerous disasters in El Salvador, including Hurricane Mitch in 1998, earthquakes in 2001 and Tropical Storm Stan in 2005. Today, MCC continues to meet urgent needs, to promote peace work and supports efforts to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS and to diminish discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS.
MCC began work in Guatemala in 1976 in response to an earthquake and continues to meet emergency needs and support long-term efforts to rebuild after disasters such as hurricanes and mudslides. MCC works with K'ekchi' and Ixil indigenous communities and K'ekchi' Mennonite churches in improving education and agriculture; helps with HIV and AIDS prevention work by youth; and supports efforts to build peace and trust shattered during Guatemala’s civil war. MCC supports Central American Study and Service (CASAS), a cross-cultural educational program of the Latin American Anabaptist Seminary (SEMILLA). MCC also hosts work-and-learn groups each year.
MCC engineer James Mwangi, of Paso Robles, Calif., trains masons and construction workers in Kenskoff, Haiti, in how to repair structural damage such as cracks caused by the January 2010 earthquake. Mwangi was one of the volunteer structural engineers who came to Haiti to inspect buildings in the weeks after the January 2010 earthquake. Inspired by Haitian builders' interest in learning new techniques, Mwangi committed to serve a one-year term with MCC, working alongside Haitian construction personnel and training Haitian masons and construction workers. (MCC Photo/Ben Depp)
MCC supports the work of Anabaptist organizations in Honduras in education, food security and peace work. Global Family supports a Honduran Mennonite organization in improving the educational opportunities for low-income students. MCC partners work at advocacy and meditation trainings. MCC also partners with Honduran Mennonite and Brethren in Christ agencies in agricultural development and income generation initiatives.
MCC works in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero to develop water sources and agriculture and to support the construction of latrines and wood stoves. Through Global Family, MCC supports a preschool and a tutoring program in Cuernavaca, Morelos. MCC works in communities of Low German-speaking Mennonites in Chihuahua state by supporting a facility for people with disabilities and a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. MCC workers also teach adult education classes in these communities. MCC promotes peacemaking and social service among Spanish-speaking Mennonites and Brethren in Christ in the Mexico City area and among religious leaders in Chiapas.
MCC focuses on community development in Nicaragua in areas such as renewable energy and solar projects, environmentally sustainable agriculture and income generation. MCC began work in Nicaragua to respond to a 1972 earthquake in Managua and continues to meet urgent needs after disasters. A growing priority, though, is supporting efforts to help prepare for storms, lessen their damage and empower local church organizations to quickly respond. MCC works alongside Anabaptist organizations in education, income generation, agroecology, water and peace. Each year, learning tours, work-and-learn teams and other exchanges help build relationships across cultures.
MCC funds education projects and development programs through ASCIM, the Asociación de Servicios de Cooperación Indígena Mennonita or Inter-Ethnic Mennonite Association. This includes work in Yalve Sanga, an indigenous community and a center which provides services to 10 other communities in the Chaco region. Through Global Family, MCC provides support to a Mennonite church program for children of single, working mothers and to a boarding school that is operated by Mennonite colonies and reaches out to students from surrounding areas, including indigenous communities.