Volunteer Tourism in Nicaragua (Part 2)

 Every year more and more travelers are taking vacations not just to sightsee, but also to work in orphanages, teach English, install solar paneling or build houses. With more than 1.6 travelers, volunteer tourism is one of the fastest growing trends in travel today.

Being the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Nicaragua has plenty of opportunities to lend a helping hand before climbing Isla Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua or surfing in San Juan del Sur. In a four-part series, the Esperanza Market will highlight four organizations needing volunteers. GRID Alternatives' International Program brings solar power to rural communities in Nicaragua, which is right up our alley! For those who want to volunteer with this organization they have two upcoming trips in October and November. 


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GRID Alternatives’ International Program brings solar power to rural off-grid communities
in Nicaragua, providing electricity for schools, health clinics, farms, and homes. They have installed more than 70 solar systems in Nicaragua, and continue to work with the communities to ensure long-term benefits to residents. GRID’s vision is a successful transition to clean energy. GRID has over 8 years of experience with sustainable rural electrification projects in Nicaragua, in addition to a 12-year record of providing solar power and job training for underserved communities in the United States. To date, GRID’s International Program has installed and maintains off-grid PV systems in 25 communities in Nicaragua, powering 23 schools, five health clinics, three drip irrigation systems and 40 homes. Their model also includes a Solar Lighting Program which provides high-quality affordable solar lighting solutions to families living in rural areas while supporting micro-enterprise for women.


1. What type of volunteer opportunities do you have available? We have spots available on our October Solar Powered Drip Irrigation trip and November Solar Home Systems trips. 
October Trip: Volunteers will be installing a solar powered drip irrigation system on family-run farms in rural Nicaraguan communities. Volunteers will contribute to a productive-end-use application of solar, that affects farming families by increasing both the volume and diversity of the crops they grow.
November Trip: The Solar Home Systems project will transform a rural community through opportunities made possible by light and electricity in their homes. Clean energy improves quality of life for families and improves health by displacing toxic kerosene.
2. What special skills do you look for in a volunteer?  Volunteers are not required to speak any Spanish, as our guides are bilingual. Solar experience is not required to go on a trip. Some volunteers have a lot of solar experience, while many have no solar experience at all. As a volunteer you can get your hands in as much or little as you want during the project. 

3. What do the volunteer get in return for their time/work? Travelling with GRID gives you the opportunity to be immersed in Nicaraguan culture and experience life in a rural community, while contributing to a solar project that leaves a lasting impact on the people you’ll meet and work with. Before and after the installation, you’ll enjoy a variety of  activities  like hiking, exploring an eco-resort, touring the architecture of a colonial town, swimming in a volcanic crater lake, and experiencing the country’s food, music, and culture. travel volunteer projects in Nicaragua


4. If some wants to support GRIS Alternatives, but do not have the time to join a volunteer trip, what else can they do? 
  • Donating to our program, ensuring the success of future projects in Nicaragua. Visit our website, click "Donate Now" and select "International" from the regional drop-down menu.
  • Corporate Sponsorships: Show your company's support for clean energy and poverty alleviation by sponsoring a project, sending employees on a trip with us, or making an in-kind donation. For more information, please contactmmcknight@gridalternatives.org 
  • Follow GRID on social media and sign up for the International newsletter to learn more about our program, receive updates, and attend local events to meet volunteers and staff. 
  • Supporters can help us Power Up Nepal! One year after the devastating earthquake, Nepali people are still rebuilding, bringing hope and resilience to their communities. To aid in a sustainable recovery, GRID Alternatives is leading a project to install a solar micro-grid to bring solar power to new local businesses, homes, and a school in Dhapchung, Nepal- one of the communities most damaged by last year's earthquake. This project is made possible by crowdfunding, so anyone can help by donating and sharing the crowdfunding page!

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