The purpose of InnerCHANGE WORKS (ICW) is to design, manage, and evaluate culturally appropriate, sustainable, and community-based humanitarian development programs, or Socially and Culturally Responsible Services (SCRS).
The model for InnerCHANGE WORKS grew out of 25 years of projects managed by Janet J. Foerster through her intercultural training and consulting company, innerCHANGE associates international, llc (iCHai), which she founded in Vienna Austria in 1990.
iCHai works in partnership with businesses, educational and healthcare institutions, and governmental and non-governmental organizations to develop their human resources through understanding, valuing, and leveraging cultural differences.
iCHai began providing intercultural project management services in Nicaragua in 2007 when it designed, directed and managed the Children, Health, Education and Supporting Services (CHESS) project in Villa El Carmen, one of the poorest rural areas of Nicaragua.
Working with key Nicaraguan staff, community facilitators, and education liaisons, iCHai developed a model of culturally and linguistically adapted social services for international consortiums, associations, and linkages – this CLASSICAL approach forms the basis of all InnerCHANGE WORKS projects.
Since the conclusion of the CHESS project in 2009, iCHai has been continuing to develop partnerships for the long-term development goals of the Villa El Carmen municipality and other Nicaraguan communities. InnerCHANGE WORKS was founded in 2010 to support the continuation of these projects in Nicaragua, and to replicate them in communities around the world.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere, and its rural population in particular lacks adequate access to health care and education. The Children, Health, Education and Supporting Services (CHESS) project was established in 2007 to assist the municipality of Villa El Carmen, Nicaragua in achieving community empowerment through improved primary school education and health.
As the project management partner, iCHai implemented, coordinated, and evaluated the contributions and activities of an international partnership, which included the U.S. Agency for International Development and its Nicaraguan subsidiary, Alianzas para la Educación y la Salud; Gran Pacifica Resorts; and various Rotary clubs and other donors.
This 28-month community development program worked in 12 elementary schools and 3 health posts, reaching close to 2,000 primary school children and over 4,000 adults. Principal activities included training workshops for teachers, parents, and families in health, hygiene, and clean water; training for primary school teachers in English language skills and teaching methodologies; and establishment of computer labs and reading libraries.
InnerCHANGE WORKS continues to sustain the improvements achieved through the CHESS project through the long-term participation, contributions, and interconnectedness of the partners living and operating within the Villa El Carmen municipality.
President - Janet Foerster, M.Ed. is a cross-cultural training manager who brings to her work more than thirty years of experience in education, human services, and health promotion. Since 1990, Janet has run a successful intercultural management and training company that has worked with intergovernmental organizations, U.S. government agencies, large-scale NGOs, and international businesses. In 2006, she developed the Children, Health, Education and Supporting Services (CHESS) project based on feasibility studies and needs assessments in the rural communities of Villa El Carmen, Nicaragua. As CHESS Project Director, Janet recruited, trained, and managed a team of in-country Nicaraguan staff. Following this project, Janet founded InnerCHANGE WORKS to sustain improvements and replicate similar community developments projects internationally.Janet received her Masters of Education degree from Vanderbilt University, and later completed several courses in health services management at Harvard University. Janet taught as an adjunct faculty member at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, the H. J. Heinz College of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University, and at Webster University in Vienna, Austria where she taught graduate level courses in Intercultural Management. She also authored textbooks and taught on the faculty of the International College for Hotel Management in Vienna, where her work emphasized cross-cultural human resource management, and communication and presentation skills for multicultural managers. Janet also served as a Visiting Senior Research Associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, where her responsibilities included coordinating the development of a new center for global health, and introducing minority populations within the Pittsburgh public school system to health career opportunities.
Director of Operations, Nicaragua - Javier Alejandro Quinto Re graduated in Law Science in 1996 with more than ten years of experience on the human rights field. He has been involved in regional management processes on institutional reinforcement and capacity building with civil society organizations. He has participated on sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Commission and the International Coordination Committee for National Offices for Protection and Promotion on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.Javier provides consultant services to non-governmental organizations, offering services focusing in intercultural training and working with private sector, educational institutions, and governmental and non-governmental organizations developing their human resources. Javier has also had been in charge of management development processes and cooperation agreements with national and regional organizations, as well as managing strategic alliances. Currently, Javier is the Director of Operations for ICW in Nicaragua.