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Utopia Nicaragua

Nicaragua is in crisis. Over 400 people have been killed—most of them young people—and thousands have been injured, jailed, and tortured. Non-violent protesters fighting for democracy, human rights, and peace are being denied medical care. Many schools and businesses are closed.


Utopia Nicaragua is a global initiative of InnerCHANGE WORKS (ICW), a US based non-profit organization working in Nicaragua in education and health projects for the last 15 years. We are proud to launch this effort as a global event series in collaboration with artists and friends of Nicaragua, on two continents and six cities, who are bringing awareness to the heroic efforts of so many Nicaraguans to work toward a peaceful resolution of this crisis.

Proceeds from the Utopia Nicaragua fundraiser will be used to provide humanitarian relief in the form of medical services and supplies to those in need who are striving to find a non-violent solution to this tragic conflict. We hope this assistance will aid Nicaragua in its quest to return to a peaceful state in the country. "Utopia" is a word common to many languages, as is the bond of solidarity we hope to show to those who stand up for democracy in Nicaragua. Click here to participate and help!

Community Health Improvement Campaign

Since the conclusion of CHESS Nicaragua in 2009, ICW (through innerCHANGE associates international) has designed and implemented eight Community Health Improvement Fairs in Nicaragua. These Community Health Improvement Fairs have taken place with the Selva Negra and El Quetzal coffee farms in Matagalpa; the Hospital Central Managua, the La Chureca School, the La Esperanza Women’s Prison and La Modelo Men’s Prison in Managua; the Roberto Clemente Health Clinic in Rivas; and the California School in Villa El Carmen. In total, the Health Fairs have served over 1000 children and close to 1000 adults and elders.

ICW’s Health Improvement Fairs involve health assessment consultations and educational presentations in disease and accident prevention for children and adults by visiting US and local Nicaraguan nursing and medical students and health practitioners, as well as exhibits and in-kind contributions from local and international environmental, agricultural, and health-related businesses and organizations.

Key to the success of the Community Health Improvement Fairs are the Community Health Improvement Councils (CHICs), comprised of local students, teachers, and community leaders. Additionally, culturally specific Health Risk Appraisals (HRAs) are administered pre- and post- health fairs to provide community feedback on health issues and needs. After each health fair, ICW analyzes data from HRAs gathered by the CHIC, and then modifies ongoing health initiatives based on this evaluation. CHIC members in each community undergo a comprehensive training to organize and run these fairs on their own, and to employ HRAs as a community health indicator. In addition, CHIC members are trained, in turn, to train community members in safety, injury prevention, and health promotion. The CHIC becomes a grassroots, self-sustaining system to evaluate community health needs and to design and plan future health fairs and programming to address these needs.

Computers for Change

In 2010, ICW coordinated a partnership with Brothers Brother Foundation and ComputeReach to bring 320 refurbished, cleaned, certified, and software-supplied computers to ICW’s Nicaraguan community projects. Once the computers arrived in Nicaragua in January 2011, ICW stepped in to provide oversight and management of the 320 computers. In partnership with ALMORI Foundation, ICW has distributed these computers to need-based communities throughout Nicaragua, including libraries, schools, health clinics, prisons, and seminaries. ICW staff members in the US and in Nicaragua currently provide the project management component, maintenance, and oversight for these computers, and have established computer user groups for training and support.

The objectives of this project are two-fold: 1) To prepare young people in Nicaragua through work skills training initiatives for employment roles throughout the country; and 2) To expand this project to prepare an ongoing workforce for employment opportunities in key work areas of local and global service in Nicaragua and the Central American region. This project seeks to provide long-term educational and employment tracking, and to ensure sustainable technology access and education for its participating individuals and communities. ICW envisions providing improved equipment and expanding the training opportunities in computer technology available to these selected communities. ICW has an in-country Information Technology specialist who is working directly with the communities to provide oversight, training, and equipment repair. ICW is also working to establish a US/Nicaraguan partnership with academic institutions in both countries to set up a quantitative and qualitative evaluation study of the impact and effectiveness of this project on community economic development.

The Starfish Project

The Starfish Project, a special program of InnerCHANGE WORKS (ICW), leverages the power of ICW's networking capacity to connect children in extreme need of medical attention with appropriate treatments and care.

ICW is committed to networking opportunities for exchange between those with expertise and resources and those in severe need. The Starfish children of ICW typically live in rural environments with a condition that couldn't otherwise be treated by locally available expertise. Pursuant with our mission of "building bridges," ICW connects children with urgent health related needs where there is a scarcity of local resources, to multi-national medical resources and an international network of healthcare professionals. ICW serves as an intermediary and manager for these medical intervention projects.

ICW focuses its Starfish Project on one child at a time, providing logistical, medical, and social support for the patient and patient's families pre- and post-treatment. The project is inspired by the belief that by reaching out and making a sustainable difference in just one child's life, you can change the future for good.


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