Saturday, July 07, 2012

site assignment!

training continues day by day. i am counting down the days until i become a real volunteer, or it kind of feels like until i become a "big kid." 20 left, if anyone wonders.

last week we had our site assignment session where we found out where our new homes will be for the next two years.  we all were very anxious about where we would be going.  i got my first choice! it is a department capital in the north of the country. a state capital in the states would be a good way to give a reference point for it's role in the country.

i'll be working primarily with three teachers in two schools doing some follow-up work from what the previous volunteer did. from what i am told, this will be maybe 4 classes a week or so (there are more but i don't have to go to every class) plus some meeting with the teachers outside of class to go over planning and course content. just to be clear, the course i'm talking about is emprendendurismo (entrepreneurship), a course that used to just be a peace corps thing, but now has been folded into the national curriculum and is required of all high school seniors.  the idea is that we can help give them some skills to start their own business, and thereby create an income source, or have some other skills to be a good employee for someone else's business. sounds simple right? it's not, but that's the idea of what we're trying to do in the schools.

i've also been assigned to main NGOs working in the community. the first, movimiento comunal nicaragüense (MCN) is a national network of community-based organizations that provide training, accompaniement, and legal advice to community groups (the spanish challenged can read here). specifically they want help with designing and conducting training workshops on business management skills, establishing a participatory methodology to provide technical assistance, design promotional materials, and help strengthen current credit policy for the microcredit program.

the second, acción contra el hambre (ACH) is an international ngo working on a comprehensive natural resources manangement project in the region to reduce the impact of climate change and increase the resiliency of vulnerable families (again, english version here).  my responsibilities will be identifying groups with potential income generation activities, coordinating with other agriculture volunteers in the area to build 20 improved ovens to start bakeries, SWOT analyses and feasibility studies, market research, and assistance writing simplified business plans with the beneficiaries. i am really excited to start baking classes. :D

that's the big update on where i'll be. the rest of training continues to just chug along.  i've finished the 6 classes of required teaching in the schools, we just have a business competition left with our youth group, and a few more tech sessions.  things are starting to wind down!  or up i guess depending on how you look at it...  on monday i meet the principal of the school and the MINED (ministry of education) technical coordinator for the department and then travel with them to somoto on tuesday.  i'll be there until saturday checking things out, meeting other people, and just getting a lay of the land.  i can't wait!

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