Three organizations, different but united

Tres organizaciones en simbiosisThe associates of the EcoSur network have very complex structures, but these structures fit very well among them.

In Nicaragua, the local partner has evolved in three organizations that offer services, products and consultancy in many fields, from social work to private building.

This civil society development organization has been active in Nicaragua since 1980 and among its major contributions has been construction of more than 300 rural school classrooms throughout Rivas, Carazo, Granada and Tola. Several housing projects, as well and post-Mitch reconstruction, involve the bene-clients in the design of their houses. Disaster preventive constructions that use EcoMaterials, ecologically and economically viable building materials, is the unifying thread.

Tres organizacionesDevelopment and dissemination of MicroConcrete Roofing tiles (MCR) has been an activity with an impact throughout Latin America and beyond. In Latin America there are presently some 650 producers, employing more than 3000 people, with a yearly production capacity that results in around 50,000 roofs. Accumulated production has provided elegant, enduring and economical roofs over the heads of more than 2,000,000 people.

Grupo Sofonias in a founding member and coordinates the EcoSouth Network, a dynamic weaving of experiences and expertise among organizations, professionals, research institutes and universities that focuses upon the EcoHabitat. Its experts have provided consulting services as far abroad as Namibia, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, and most recently in Sumatra.

With an eye toward the future, Sofonias Nicaragua is engaged in the development of young Nicaraguans, through its masonry apprentice program with a technical institute and involvement of architectural and engineering students on its design team. Its construction projects provide the place for them to get experience and spread their wings.

Viewing the impossibility of maintaining a viable team and infrastructure through development projects, Sofonias established EcoTec S.A. to engage in commercial activities in benefit of ordinary people, whether through its popular sale of recycled bicycles, its program of housing for the working poor, or sale of equipment to produce EcoMaterials.The innovative quick´-turnover mortgage scheme of "Housing for the Working Poor" provides an opportunity for those outside the system of bank loans to acquire a dignified dwelling.The surplus from these activities, albeit modest, helps keep the entire Sofonias enterprise functioning.

With increasing interest from a more affluent public, EcoTec began to build houses for people with means. Analysis of this upmarket trend has led to the establishment of EcoNic S.A., a commercial firm dedicated to providing housing for a market beyond the working poor and social projects. Profits from this enterprise are destined for development projects and bursaries, as well to SofoNic, the organization that has given birth to a process of providing dignified dwellings that can resist the local climatic conditions, and that leave behind a small ecological footprint.

You are here: Home Past editions Edition 24 - February 2007 Three organizations, different but united


Víctor Martínez
Civil Engineer
MCR tiles, instruction, quality control, project management.


In 2005, SofoNic has started a dual education program for masons in Nicaragua, using its house-building programs as a base. Teaming up with the local technical school in Jinotepe they are graduating about ten masons every year since. Most f them have found jobs in construction or have started a business on their own. SofoNic has contracted several of them as master masons in the reconstruction programs in Haiti.