Known as the ‘land of lakes and volcanoes’, Nicaragua’s tropical climate makes it a popular tourist destination. But very few of its abundant water sources are safe to drink or use.
With a third of the country unable to access clean water or proper toilets, ICS volunteers focus on improving access and encouraging change in health, hygiene and sanitation practices.
In these rural areas, enterprise is key to lifting people out of poverty. As an ICS volunteer, you could be working on projects to help young entrepreneurs develop their businesses.
Supporting health initiatives
A lack of investment into infrastructure following Nicaragua’s turbulent political past and history of natural disaster has left 800,000 people without drinking water and 2 million without access to adequate toilets.
As a result, families get ill, children miss out on an education, and the economy takes longer to grow. As a volunteer with Raleigh you will be working to directly address the root causes of these problems.
You could be carrying out research into community members’ current living situations to work out what needs to be addressed to make sure they have access to information and services they need.
Raleigh volunteers train members of the community in promoting good practices in hygiene and water resource management or working with entrepreneurs to develop the business skills they need to supply households with ecological toilets.
Or you could be helping to build demonstration toilets or water systems to help protect local water resources and promote the need for community investment in sanitation.
Helping people to support themselves and their families
Nicaragua is the second poorest nation in the western hemisphere. Young people are struggling to find work.
Raleigh supports these young people to set up small businesses in their communities which benefit them and the people around them. In turn, their communities can become more resilient to social and environmental change.
As a Raleigh volunteer, you could be working with these young entrepreneurs to develop business plans, access finance, link up with mentors and run their businesses.
Living in Nicaragua
There are multiple project locations in Nicaragua in rural villages across the Matagalpa and Nueva Segovia regions. All volunteers in Nicaragua live with host families, usually with one other volunteer.
Volunteers living with host families will be expected to eat like a local. Nicaraguan food is based around corn, with cassava, beans and chilli pepper used widely in their cuisine.