GET TO KNOW NICARAGUA!
El Porvenir invites you to share the life and work of a Nicaraguan community. We offer volunteer experiences for small groups (7-8 people) to work alongside Nicaraguan families in a variety of water and sanitation projects that help improve the standard of living in rural areas. You do not need to have experience with construction or building. You will be accompanied by a bilingual guide at all times, so Spanish proficiency is not required. Each trip is customized for the participating group and can be between one and two weeks in length. The group's particular interests and abilities will be considered, as will the needs of the villages.
There will also be an opportunity to see a bit more of Nicaragua before or after the project work is complete. Groups might have a weekend at the beach, or visit a live volcano, a cloud forest, a crafts market, or attend a Nicaraguan concert or dance performance, allowing time for some fun and reflection.
who travels with us
The majority of our service trip volunteers are part of a larger organized group, such as a faith community, a university program or a service club like the Rotary Club. A group leader rallies the volunteers to attend the trip and works with the El Porvenir Trips Coordinator to plan the details.
We do occasionally have individuals or couples who would like to join a trip, but are not part of a larger community group. In order to accommodate these volunteers, we are happy to create an "open enrollment" trip which will be available for others to join. If you are such a person, please chat with the Trips Coordinator about options for your inclusion. We appreciate everyone's interest in working with and learning from Nicaraguans, and will do everything possible to make your trip happen.
WHAT YOU'LL DO
Our service trips are working trips where volunteers work hand in hand with Nicaraguan community members and El Porvenir staff. Tasks include digging holes, carrying materials, building structures, pouring concrete, and more, depending on your assignment of one of four types of projects.
Community wash stations
Women in rural Nicaragua typically wash their family's clothes on rocks in contaminated streams. These same streams are also where they and all community members bathe. Volunteers help build community wash stations to provide clean, concrete facilities where women can wash clothes without having to carry water or clothes long distances. They also include two or three shower stalls where people can bathe in privacy - a true luxury for rural people. Washing clothes and bathing with clean water also reduces the incidences of skin infections.
double pit latrines
Our sanitation initiatives increase dignity and hygiene. Studies have shown that improved sanitation can add up to 20 years to the average life span. By working to end open defecation, streams and the environment are cleaner, communities are healthier, and children are able to attend school more regularly. Our double pit latrines offer a sustainable, dignified way for families and communities to improve health on all these levels.
fuel efficient, vented stoves
Indoor air pollution by traditional smoky wood burning stoves is as detrimental to health as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. Our cook stoves vent the harmful smoke out of the house and require 60% less firewood. Stoves that require less firewood help prevent further deforestation, and therefore contribute to reforestation and watershed management efforts.
tree nurseries and reforestation
Nicaragua has lost 49% of its forest in the last 50 years. El Porvenir is concerned with the full cycle of water, from where it originates to how to keep it flowing. We improve water quality and quantity through a variety of methods in order to restore stream flow, decrease erosion, and recharge groundwater. A big part of that effort includes planting seeds for seedlings and transplanting larger seedlings once they are big enough.
EXPENSES AND PROJECT COSTS
Trip costs range between $1300 and $1500 depending on the type of project, length of stay, and off-time activities. Trip costs include meals, lodging, in-country transportation, translation, and recreation. It also includes costs for the materials for the project you work on. Participants are responsible for round trip airline tickets, airport taxes, and Nicaraguan visa fee of $10. Some participants might want to budget for additional expenses, like beverages, snacks and souvenirs.
Meet Our Guides
Catalina has a degree in Educational Science and a master's in Business Administration with a specialization in tourism. Already experienced in international partnerships and community development programs, she promotes eco-tourism and community development in rural areas. She co-authored Nicaragua un Destino Turistico: Historia del Turismo y Ecoturismo en Nicaragua (Nicaragua, a Tourist Destination: The History of Tourism and Ecotourism in Nicaragua).
Jimmy Membreño Rivera
Jimmy studied English Translation at the University of Central America. He has worked with U.S. groups since 1991, supporting community development programs, international partnerships, and eco-tourism. He co-wrote the book Nicaragua un Destino Turistico: Historia del Turismo y Ecoturismo en Nicaragua.
Tania studied Tourism Development and Communicative English at the Central American University. She has worked with U.S. groups since 2011 for various Nicaraguan nonprofits supporting community development, food security, and medical issues. Currently, she works as a group coordinator for El Porvenir as well as other organizations.
Jose Solis Ruiz
Jose studied Engineering in Agricultural Production Systems at the Central American University with a specialization in bovine artificial insemination. He has worked with U.S. groups since 2011.
visit our FAQs page to learn more.
If you're ready to sign up or connect with the Trips Coordinator, just click below.
We hope you'll join us!
We promise you AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE
This video was put together by a group of engineering students from North Carolina State University who travel to Nicaragua regularly with El Porvenir. Please watch as they share their volunteer work trip experience.
Photos courtesy of El Porvenir staff, Lynn Gleason, Marissa Jaross, Regis University, and Travis Tidmore