Va Pue Magazine

Peace Corps Nicaragua stories of service.


Peace Corps Projects

From the worlds of TEFL, ENV, EEP, and HE, to secondary projects galore.

6 reasons why Peace Corps blogging is meaningful work

Emily / Nica 64 / TEFL

“As countries around the world seek to advance and connect, Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) of the 21st century have access to technology than their predecessors never dreamed of.

But with the power of access comes great responsibility; the Peace Corps blog was born. Volunteers often start blogging strong. Their excitement fuels updates, committing cultural faux pas provide easy and hilarious content, and everything seems so new… for a while.

Then an incredible transition happens. Through integration, gaining cultural understanding and the simple passing of time, a PCV’s host country becomes a little more like home. Volunteers might say later that this is when they really started to feel like they hit their stride, but it is also often where their blogging faded away. It doesn’t have to be though.” (read more)

Support: Help Girls Shine Bright at Camp GLOW 2017

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Project Highlight

Nicaragua | Let Girls Learn | Youth Girls Gender Equality Camp GLOW

Kelsey / Nica 66 / TEFL
Volunteer from Illinois

The gist: “€œMachismo,” which roughly translates to “€œmale chauvinism,”€ permeates Nicaraguan society. The national government recently passed Law 779 to tackle gender-based violence, but work remains to confront gender inequality within families and communities. Empowering Nicaraguan female youth to challenge existent social frameworks, exposing them to a wealth of opportunities, and capacitating them to create change in their communities, is essential to this strategy.

Building on the success of four previous camps, we are moving forward with an evidence-based camp focused on gender equality education for girls ages 12-17. “€œGLOW,” an abbreviation of “Girls Leading Our World,” embodies the camp goal: empowering female youth to promote gender equality in their communities and become positive role models…  (read more)

The goal: $10,203.64

The PCVs: “At Camp GLOW, young women attend engaging workshops on topics such as sexual reproductive health, gender equality, gender and global human rights, and strategies for future planning. The camp promotes leadership skills and encourages the girls to return to their communities to implement projects that stimulate gender equality amongst their peers. Staffed by our fabulous PCVs and Nicaraguan counterparts, Peace Corps Nicaragua aims to continue a sustainable and interactive model empowering the nation’s young women. But to make this camp a reality, we need your help.

Still not convinced?  Head to our GAD Nicaragua blog to see for yourself the joy and power that is camp GLOW.”

The link: Donate here!

Support: Primary Stove Kickoff Project

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Project Highlight

Nicaragua | Primary Stove Kickoff Project

Seibel, T
volunteer from South Dakota

The gist: This project will provide 15 stoves and 3 ovens in 5 communities to benefit at least 20 women and over 50 children. The 5 communities are categorized as experiencing “severe poverty€.” …Given the current economic, health and environmental realities, community leaders proposed to build more efficient stoves and ovens. Compared to traditional cooking methods, new stoves and ovens decrease firewood by 60-70%, reducing money spent and mitigating the impact of deforestation. The new stoves and ovens also decrease smoke emissions into households by nearly 100%. The benefits directly advance the economic, health and environmental situations…(read more)

The goal: $2160.86

The PCV: “Three cheers for the environment! And empowerment! And rosquillas! We are thankful for the opportunity to work alongside community counterparts, business partners, and families to 1) construct improved stoves and ovens and 2) build small business ideas utilizing the new technology. This project offers the opportunity to target the environmental impact of traditional fire stoves, engage in a reforestation campaign, reduce the health effects of smoke inhalation, and provide small business opportunities for women in 5 small rural communities.”

The link: Donate here!

Support: Youth Leadership Camp 2017

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Project Highlight

Nicaragua | Youth Leadership Camp 2017

Gray / Nica 65 / HE
Volunteer from New Hampshire

The gist: Youth Leadership Camp 2017: Be the Change is a four-day camp for 54 Nicaraguan youth between the ages of 16 to 19 who have demonstrated themselves to be outstanding students and peer leaders and who could benefit from a more focused training in leadership and community project planning.  (Read more)

The goal: $9990.02.08

The PCVFriends, family, and people who love empowering youth:

Please consider donating to help me put on Youth Leadership Camp 2017 in Nicaragua. This year, Youth Leadership camp will take 54 Nicaraguan youth from across the country, and using the Design for Change curriculum, will teach project management and design. We hope to put our Peace Corps technical skills to use and train youth to implement projects in their own communities.

Remember that every U.S. dollar you donate is worth 30 bananas here, so just imagine your donating as the mountain of bananas we’re trying to build and consider pitching in. We need $8,000 USD to fully fund our camp, but every bit helps!

So spread the word, chip in, or follow us on Facebook to hear what’s going on with Youth Leadership Camp! – Alexandra Morgan

The link:
 Donate here!

Support: National Business Competition 2016

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Project Highlight

Nicaragua | National Business Competition 2016

Devin / Nica 65 / EEP
Volunteer from New Jersey

The gist: Beginning in the September of their eleventh year, [Nicaraguan] students are given opportunities to present their business plans and products to judges at the local, municipal, and regional levels, before culminating in a national entrepreneurship competition. This experience not only allows them to refine their business plans and practice their communication skills, but also generates energy and interest around engaged learning while expanding students’€™ horizons by providing them with experiences and relationships that would otherwise not be possible…This year, the theme of the National Congress translates to “€˜Building a Better Tomorrow”€™ which reflects an emphasis on the pro-social components of the eleventh grade Technical and Vocational Orientation (OTV) curriculum.  (Read more)

The goal: $13,355.68

The PCV: “The business plan competition is essentially the culmination of the largest portion of our work as Entrepreneurship Education volunteers in Nicaragua. In it, students have the opportunity to share the products and business plans that they have worked hard throughout the year to bring to fruition. As volunteers, it’s an especially rewarding experience because we can see first hand the concentrated amount of hard work and creativity exercised in the student projects, with the expectation that the students will be better prepared for their prospective futures.”

The link: Donate here!

Dancing Queens

Traci / Nica 64 / TEFL

A while ago my friends Emily and Andrew Nilsen invited me to a Noche de Ruben Dario (Ruben Dario Night). I accepted the invitation with the thought that it’d be a night of poetry, as Ruben Dario is a famous poet from Nicaragua. Once I arrived at the event with Emily and Andrew I knew it couldn’t just be a poetry night because of the turnout. The line went down the block and once everyone entered the school, it was completely full. We soon came to realize that it was a cultural night filled with dances, costumes, and poetry.

So far in Nicaragua when I had attended a cultural night, I had seen performances that included people talking on the stage, people stopping in the middle of the dance to laugh, or simply people leaving the stage when they forget the dance. I was shocked, however, because this event was nothing of the sort. All of the dancers had costumes, they smiled while they danced, they didn’t talk or laugh, and they had a professional composure. I immediately was drawn in and felt an ache for art and performance. It reminded all of of the times I have performed on a stage. The lights that block out the faces in the audience, the loud music, your heart racing right before you enter the stage, the beautiful and colorful outfits, and the culmination of all of your hard work.

Right then and there I knew I would need to put something together in my own town. Continue reading “Dancing Queens”

Peace Corps Nicaragua, TEFL Project

Produced in 2012, this provides a glimpse into the lives and work of TEFL Volunteers here in Nicaragua.

Instagram: College Fair

via @peacecorpsnicaragua: High school students from San Marcos, Diriamba and Jinotepe attended a College fair organized by Business volunteer Liz. (@tarshiiii) She received help from some of the new one week old volunteers and more “veteran” volunteers.

Support: Clean Cooking and Baking for Reforestation

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Project Highlight

Clean Cooking and Baking for Reforestation

Liz / Nica 64 / ENV
Volunteer from Virginia

The gist: The project aims to reduce deforestation and respiratory illness from smoke inhalation by constructing seven fuel efficient stoves that use 50-60% less wood than traditional stoves and by funneling smoke out of the house through a chimney. This project also aims to assist women in improving or starting a baking goods business through the construction of seven fuel-efficient ovens.

Additionally, participants will attend “€œHealthy Cooking” and “€œStarting or Improving a Small Business,” workshops and will plant trees on their property.  (read more)

The goal: $1033.08

The PCV: “I’ve lived in a small town for almost 2 years and would so appreciate your support on my biggest project yet to build fuel-efficient stoves or ovens for 14 women of my community! The community members are invested, paying 37% of the cost of the project. New stoves will result in healthy families and less suffering from smoke inhalation (imagine a campfire inside all day every day). The oven recipients will start/improve a baking business to improve their economic status. All recipients will plant 5 trees each, too! I would appreciate any support, financially or a share on FB would be great, too! Thanks!”

The link: Donate here!

Wanna be a camp counselor? GAD Update: March 2016

GAD Committee / Nicaragua

GAD Nicaragua

If you’re a PCV in Nicaragua but not on the GAD committee, I can imagine that you’re wondering why you would even read this update. Sure, GAD does cool camps like Camp GLOW and CHACA, but what does that have to do with me?


In order to reach our vision of a world where power, respect, and opportunity are no longer gendered, we need passionate individuals and groups actively working to reduce inequalities, bridge differences, and broaden understandings. We want to help you do just that.

This July break for Camp CHACA (July 2-6), the GAD Committee is piloting a new structure for staffing its gender equality camps. The planning team will be made up of a small amount of GAD members, but the majority of the counselors will be PCVs from outside of the committee.   Counselors will be selected through an application process. We are piloting…

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STAR Update – Feb 2016

Eric Insler / Nica 63 / SBD

We Want You to Work with the Nicaraguan LGBTQ Community!

Coming from the United States, we sometimes convince ourselves that our country and Europe are some of the most socially progressive countries in the world, and most other countries are “religious and conservative.”

However, as I spend more and more time in Nicaragua, I have come to realize that my original suppositions were unfounded, and there are many liberal aspects of Nicaraguan society and culture.

One of these areas is LGBTQ awareness, acceptance, and rights. Continue reading “STAR Update – Feb 2016”

Camp GLOW 2016 Video

GAD Committee / Nicaragua

Support Camp CHACA 2016

GAD Committee / Nicaragua

GAD Nicaragua

Camp CHACA (Chavalos a Caballeros, or Boys to Gentlemen) needs your help! 

For the last 20 years, the world has made great advances on the issue of gender inequality through women’s empowerment programs. With a whole generation that has grown up with this mantra, we can see there has been progress, but sadly severe prejudice persists, evidenced by continuous domestic violence and gender discrimination in the workplace. The questions now are, “What is the problem? Why has it not worked like we wanted?”

Gender inequality has been addressed from the perspective that it is a women’s issue. Here with GAD Nicaragua, we host Camp GLOW to empower young women to confront the specific issues and challenges facing them as women in a culture of machismo.  But this only addresses one side of the coin, one aspect of the greater issue.

It’s time to flip the coin.


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