TASCA (Taller de Salud Campesina) was formed by Joseph Ryan, Frederick Jacob and Robert Harvey in 1991 to continue the work on Nicaraguan rural water systems that they began in 1989 while working in the Cuá-Bocay valley with Veterans for Peace and Veterans Peace Action Teams. The need for our work was epitomized in a single statistic from the WHO: infant mortality (death before 5 yrs) at that time was 68 per 1000 live births in Nicaragua, compared to 3 - 8 in more developed countries. About 25% of this infant mortality was caused by water-borne diseases.
Providing clean drinking water as part of a general improvement in sanitation practices is proven to have a major impact on this infant mortality.
To this end the primary focus of TASCA has been to provide and support the water testing capabilities necessary to ensure that new and existing water systems provide pure uncontaminated potable water. TASCA does not construct water systems; this is done by many other organizations. TASCA applies its expertise in microbiology, laboratory management and public health to the development and support of the laboratory and field infrastructure necessary for the maintenance of these systems.
This remains a major effort but our support has expanded to include many other areas of public health.
Our approach has been to engage in long-term collaboration with existing public health organizations, primarily governmental such as the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health (MINSA) and the earlier with the Nicaraguan Ministry responsible for rural water supplies (ENACAL/DAR). In these organizations we work with people who are intelligent, dedicated and enthusiastic, but at the same time poorly equipped and in many cases inadequately trained. We thus provide laboratory equipment to maintain and strengthen the laboratory infrastructure as far as possible. More importantly we lend our expertise and experience to provide technical consultation and training on a continuing basis and have established a scholarship program to improve the qualifications of public health workers. We try to provide continuity and constant follow-up; at the same time we hope that the collaborative nature of our support will minimize the creation of long-term dependencies.
TASCA was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in North Carolina in 1993, and was granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS in 1995 (EIN # 56-1855167).
TASCA Board of Directors: The board is a diverse group that shares a common interest in improving the welfare of the people of Latin America. The group combines scientific expertise, years of experience in development work in Central America and a deep understanding of Latin American culture. All board members are at least bilingual. All serve without compensation.
María J. Fraser-Molina María García-Moll Robert Harvey Frederick Jacob Joseph Ryan
It is with great sadness that I must tell you that María García-Moll died in September 2013. The loss is immeasurable to each of us personally and to the organization.