what is it you're doing again?

schools- i'll be working primarily with three teachers in two schools doing some follow-up work from what the previous volunteer did. my main role is meeting with the teachers outside of class to go over planning and course content.  i also check in on the courses throughout the year to make sure things are staying on track and provide feedback for the teachers. 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. as a motivation tool, we have a national competition at the end of the year where the student groups compete for seed capital to continue thier business. sounds simple right? it's not, but that's the idea of what we're trying to do in the schools.

ngos- i've also been assigned to NGOs working in the community. the first, movimiento comunal nicarag├╝ense (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.

i'm working with another NGO called INPRHU as well.  we were doing a course similar to the high school course with kids who aren't in school.  they came into a nearby community for the course.  it went alright.  we're currently putting the program on pause as my counterparts are being moved around and the cycle of the project we were doing it underneath is coming to an end.  so basically we need to reevaluate what will be happening there. 

a few things i'm hoping to work on in the next few months:

- my buddy gonzalo and i applied to a fhi360/USAID sustainable tourism grant and were approved!  we'll be organizing a summer camp for private and public school kids to "develop potential" using the north of the country as a backdrop.  a lot of kids don't ever get to leave their region of the country, so it is hopefully helping to develop local tourism a bit.  we'll be working on that with a few other partner orgs over the next few months and hopefully implementing by august.

  - i did a small needs assessment of the women's credit groups i've been working with for MCN and through that have learned they want a manual that actually explains how things work.  crazy idea huh? the more i talk to people though, i'm realizing that there is already a manual... it's just not being used apparently. i'll be working on developing that as well as creating a curriculum of financial literacy combined with basic business skills that each group will need to complete.  we'll probably have some cool certificate at the end that says they've completed it.

the guides
- gonzalo also has a tour agency based here in somoto. he's probably my closest friend here in town. we're going to be working on several projects with him over the next few months to try and grow his business starting with customer service trainings for the guides he uses. then we'll work on an accounting system and a better marketing strategy.

- i'm hoping to get connected with Plan International here in Somoto and start working with their monitoring and evaluation officer to help improve their community based monitoring systems. i'm really hoping this pans out.

- i'm working with another org started by a former pcv that does emergency preparedness stuff in the rural areas.  we also deliver cheap water filters that last up to five years to help reduce water-born illnesses. i specifically am working with the firefighters to help them start selling extra filters to anyone who is interested as a way to raise funds for the station.

- i'm working with my bosses from peace corps to work on re-doing the monitoring and evaluation plan for the biz program. i'm pretty excited about this, but it's a bunch of work.

that sounds like a ton of work an no fun. well it is, but there still is always time for going to the beach, hiking, and spending time with friends.  it just gets all blended in with the other activities going on. 

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