Sleeping for four days in a hammock underneath a large wooden structure, open and exposed to all of the Amazon’s elements beckons for a post. Three of the nourishers (including myself), worked with members in a community on the outskirts of the rainforest to build a greenhouse in order to grow vegetables. Due to the infamous amount of rain the region receives, vegetables are nearly impossible to grow without some sort of roof to grow under, and of course, protection is necessary to deter the large array of pests.
The community was roughly two hours from the city, Puyo, where we were staying. Thus, to be more efficient, we decided to stay in the community with a host family for a week as we helped build the greenhouse.
We painted a mural in our free time:
We played in waterfalls, picked bananas and cocoa beans, hiked in the rainforest, and had our faces painted with tribal art:
But more importantly, we made an impact within a community composed of the most welcoming and liveliest people, all while creating a bond between us three that continue to this day.
We are excited to welcome seven interns to our team this fall!
Anna Graves, Events and Outreach
Anna is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying geography and religious studies. During her time as an undergraduate student, she has been a mentor for three international students and involved with organizations such as United Students Against Sweatshops. As a returning intern from summer 2014, Anna is excited to continue working with Nourish as the Events and Outreach Intern and to participate in their movement, which relies on students and education to create sustainable growth and social development both locally and internationally. In her free time she enjoys exploring, the outdoors, drawing, painting, attending concerts and spending time with family and friends.
Jessika Virtanen, Corporate and Foundational Outreach
Jessika is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in economics and global studies. She is interested in the concept of social entrepreneurship and ultimately intends to utilize her economics degree to help impoverished communities implement long-term changes. After interning with Nourish over the summer, she is excited to further explore nonprofit work this fall as the Corporate and Foundational Outreach Intern. She also works for the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association, an organization which provides resources for high school and college media organizations across the state, is on the Advocacy committee for UNC’s Relay for Life chapter, and has spent time tutoring the children of Burmese immigrants in local elementary schools. Her interests include running, reading and traveling.
Anna Long, Public Relations
Anna is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying public relations and history. After becoming involved with both journalism and nonprofit work in college, she knew she wanted to channel her writing to make a positive impact in the community. She is passionate about sustainability and hopes to see Nourish’s model of social entrepreneurship and community-based solutions gain national attention. As a returning intern from summer 2014, she is excited to continue and further expand upon her work as the Public Relations Intern, which will allow her the opportunity to help raise awareness for the organization. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going to concerts and spending time at the lake.
Tammy Chen, Chapter Support
Tammy is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Public Policy and minoring in Hispanic Studies. She is interested in pursuing a professional path that embraces the intersection of social policy and population health. This past summer, Tammy interned at an NGO in Chile to contribute to the foundation’s efforts to actualize global poverty alleviation/South-South cooperation in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Aside from her internship, she discovered her newfound love for snowboarding while in the Andes mountains. She also enjoys discovering new music, exercising, learning foreign language, and hearing the stories/perspectives of people from all over the world. This fall, Tammy will work with Nourish as the Chapter Support Intern.
Nae Won, Chapter Founders Team Lead
A native of Charlotte, N.C., Nae is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill double majoring in public policy (health concentration) and global studies-global health with a minor in medical anthropology. Nae has served in various executive positions for student organizations, which exposed her to the knowledge of international relations, team management, and organization communication. She recently served as the American Executive Committee Chair for a student-led month long international conference — the Korea-America Student Conference — and is currently serving as a Special Events Coordinator for the UNC-CH Alpha Kappa Delta Phi, International Sorority Inc. Nae developed a passion for public health during her senior year of high school, when she witnessed inequality of healthcare during her mission trip to Costa Rica. Since then, she has dreamed of one day founding her own nonprofit to provide equal access to sustainable healthcare and human rights internationally. Other than taking classes, leading organizations, planning events, and working a part-time job as a manager in the student union, she loves to travel, listen to and play music, walk, and enjoy life to the fullest with the people she loves.
Carson Ledford, Business Consultant
Carson is a junior global health studies major and public policy minor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Originally from Charlotte, N.C., he has been actively involved with the Ronald McDonald House Charity since 2010 and now enjoys exploring ways to give back in the Triangle. He is excited to work with Nourish International as the Business Consultant Intern to help continue the financial growth and success of the organization. One of his passions is international development, an area he hopes to pursue more through Nourish as well as post-undergrad. In his spare time, he likes to travel, spend time with his family, and restaurant hop.
Sam Salvesen, Lead Generation
Sam is a a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill double majoring in economics and Latin American Studies. He developed an interest in nonprofit work while studying abroad in Brazil for eight months, where he witnessed first-hand the profound inequalities that pervade the country. Sam’s passion for nonprofits was solidified after he spent a month in Guatemala City conducting a socioeconomic survey in the largest informal settlement in Central America (more than 60,000 residents living in a ravine). He is eager to work with Nourish to seek out healthy partnerships with community leaders all over the world with the goal of one day returning to Brazil to start his own social enterprise. In his spare time, he enjoys skateboarding, playing soccer and taking spontaneous trips to the beach.
Hello virtual world! It has been a while. Upon return from Bali, half of the team launched right into the summer institute and the other half fell back into normal life in our respective home towns.
This week we are all reunited and are jumping back on the Nourish train. Having the group back together has given us a lot of opportunity to look back upon our time in Bali.
We started off the journey pale but bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. We returned home after an amazing stint in Bali a little road-weary but tanner and satisfied. We were able to teach students of varying ages English skills like reading, writing, speaking and listening. With education, the progress is difficult to see to the naked eye but everyone was able to find worth in students correctly utilizing a pronoun or remembering to differentiate between he and she (there is no gender in Indonesian.)
The last week of our stay was all about launching an environmental program. We talked about this a bit in the previous blog post so I won’t bore you with all of the details again but we were able to make a real and visible impact on the coastline by Slukat and seemingly inspire many students to take initiative in their own communities and make a change for a more environmentally-friendly Indonesia.
As well as working with the students, the Slukat alumni were often around the compound and always willing to sit and chat. They also sought help with academia and English. For example, Agus is a talented young man who is looking to study abroad in Japan to further his hopeful law career in Bali. However, money and a solid application were needed for this so there was editing to be done as well as networking for finances. Check out his Gofundme page if y’all are interested in learning more. http://www.gofundme.com/c3cimk
I think that every team member had interactions with people this summer: students, staff, alumni, local people or other travelers that really widened their perspective on human nature. We were treated with nothing but kindness and respect by almost every single person we encountered. Sure, I would like to think that we made an impact and bettered the lives of our students; but they definitely made a bigger impact on our lives. And we are incredibly lucky to have been given such an amazing opportunity.
Thank you so very very much to everyone who contributed time or thoughts or money to our journey. We could not have done it without you and we appreciate it so much!
Nourish University of Idaho Chapter
We are pleased to roll out our new logo and tagline this month. Nourish International’s new look can be attributed to a partnership with Clean Design, a brand and ad agency based in Raleigh, NC that was recently named the #1 Graphic Design Firm in the Triangle. All of their services were generously donated to support the re-brand.
Our new logo, featured in our August 2014 Newsletter, captures the three elements and synergy of our work to engage students, empower communities, and use business as a tool to impact poverty. In addition, the vibrant colors capture the global reach of our work and innovative spirit of the Nourish Network. Our new tagline, “Impacting Poverty with Ingenuity,” showcases our entrepreneurial spirit and unique model in our field of work.
We are delighted to share our new look with you and hope you will join us in showing our appreciation for Clean Design for their tremendous support in this process.
Kelly Leonhardt Phoenix
P.S. Interested in representing the new Nourish look? Purchase one of our Nourish T-Shirts today! Shirts are just $15. Deadline to order is tomorrow (8/21) at 10PM. Buy one today!
We are honored to announce that six Nourish students will be joining Nourish International staff at the Millennium Campus Conference in Boca Raton in October. Nourish has been named a co-host for this year’s Millennium Campus Conference, and we are thrilled to have Nourish students join us at this transformative conference!
The six Nourish students selected to join us are:
Abigail Mackey, Ohio State University
Anna Zigmond, Indiana University
Annie Finley, University of Idaho
Hailey Lewis, University of Idaho
Dineka Ringling, University of Idaho
Reynel Mirabal, Barry University
MCC will be held on Lynn University’s campus from Oct. 10-12. The conference aims to gather college students from all over the world to voice youth perspectives on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. During the conference, students will participate in workshops and listen to world renowned speakers such as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hassler-Radelet, and President of the US Fund for UNICEF Caryl M. Stern.
Nourish students can still apply to attend the conference: Apply Here to be part of the Nourish delegation representing Nourish at MCC (Note: scholarship opportunities are now closed). Students will also need to complete a separate application directly with MCC at http://www.mcc2014.org/apply/. The registration fee is $65. The Late Application Deadline to apply is September 5.
Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity!
It’s almost half way through our project and things are going well! Both of the water projects are underway. The first, in Kiseeza, should be working by the middle of next week. We helped to build the cement covering a few days ago and we’re waiting for it to dry before we can finish up. Yesterday, we watched the start of the second water project in Mazooba village – in one day the community dug 10 feet! It’s been really exciting to witness the construction of both projects and to see the commitment of the community.
These successes haven’t come without some slight setbacks. The weather, periodic heavy downpours, have definitely delayed the progress at Kiseeza. Many times, due to soil saturation, the sides of the well caved in. This destroyed the work on the day and the well had to be re-dug. The heavy rains also have been affecting our ability to get to and from the site. Our car has been stuck in the mud more than once, but thanks to the ingenuity of the villagers, we have been able to get it out and moving again. This definitely isn’t what we expected when we thought about complications, but thankfully nothing has been able to stop us from pushing forward!
In our free time, we’ve taken on a few more projects at the office to help make an even bigger impact. Tarryn has been working on helping create reports and graphs from baseline data, and teaching the staff how to use the various programs needed. We’ve also been helping to revamp their website to make it more user friendly and to hopefully help them attract more donors and grants! Check it out!
On our way back from Kampala last weekend, we had the honor to stop by another RHCF project – Rural Mama Children’s Home. We found out that it is an orphanage that was created as an offshoot of an HIV/AIDS program that they were running in order to find care for the orphans of the affected persons. While it is still largely under construction, the work that RHCF has done and what they hope to do is inspiring, and we can’t wait to see where it goes.
Probably the hardest experience we’ve had so far is visiting the only school in Kiseeza that services all children in a 6km radius. Being only 2 years old, it serves over 150 students from baby school (preschool) to primary four. Despite being on holiday, most students showed up to greet us and sing us songs. The headmaster and one of the teachers took us on a tour of the grounds and told us about how important education was to the village and the children. Unfortunately, even though there is a need and desire for education, only 100 kids were able to take their exams due to the high cost of school fees. When we asked how much it was, we were devastated to hear that one trimester only cost 15,000 shillings, the USD equivalent of $6. Needless to say, we were inspired to do something to help the children and the school grow, and hopefully we will be able to contribute in the future (keep an eye out, we’re working on a plan!!)
Here are some photos so you can see what we’ve been up to!
This is a kid getting water from the current water source. Not only are these local sources highly contaminated and shared with livestock, they also pose a danger to children who can fall in and drown.
Measuring how deep the well at Kiseeza is. You can see the flooding around the well that happened after a rainstorm.
Thanks to our generous supporters, passionate students, alumni and speakers, the 2014 Summer Institute was our largest to date. The rigorous and rewarding 5-day conference prepared students for the challenges they’ll face as Chapter members this year. Through workshops, mentoring and hands-on training, students learned how to earn money, partner with international communities, and run a successful Nourish Chapter on their campuses.
With each day focusing on a different aspect of what it takes to succeed in international development, students are now prepared to hit the ground running as they start a new and exciting year of Nourish. Here is a glimpse of what was covered at this year’s Institute:
Thursday, July 31- Leveraging Your Passion
It is no secret that it takes passion and dedication to complete a successful international development project. The first day of the conference focused on how to leverage that passion as a tool to create lasting change. Nourish consultant Sarah Miller Frazer discussed how to balance audacity with humility — how to be bold and passionate while understanding that there will be difficulties to overcome along the way. Sam Vaghar, Executive Director and co-founder of The Millennium Campus Network, emphasized the power young people have to change the world now.
Friday, August 1 – Leveraging Your Chapter
The second day of the conference was all about establishing and marketing Chapters. Ed Cheely, Senior Director of Sales and Business Development at Citrix ShareFile, discussed the importance of company culture and how to apply it to motivate a Nourish team. Nancy Woody from CleanDesign, the brand and design agency that created Nourish’s new logo and look, taught students how to establish their Chapter’s brand. Motivating speakers like Zach Ward from DSI, Allie Ahearn from the UNC Admission’s Office, Alexis Tavarez from the UF Chapter and Frank Phoenix from the Fenwick Foundation shared how to effectively leverage Chapters in the media and in the world.
Saturday, August 2 – Leveraging Business as a Tool for Good
The values of the business world and the nonprofit world may appear to clash at first glance. However, business skills are vitally important and can be leveraged as a tool for social good. Carlyle Singer, Chief Operating Officer of the Acumen Fund, led a session called “More Money = More Impact” that emphasized the value of business in international development. Adam Wyrick of Citrix ShareFile shared sales techniques and how to apply them to Ventures. Barbara Jessie-Black, Executive Director of the PTA Thrift Shop, discussed how to scale ventures to fit the needs of a community. Students brainstormed and pitched business models that embodied the values of the triple bottom line — benefitting people, profit and planet. These models will serve as the foundation for successful Ventures in the coming year.
Sunday, August 3 – Leveraging Partnership
The Nourish approach is unique in that it relies on building strong relationships with community partners. By working alongside community leaders, student interns gain insight into how best to implement a sustainable project. Nourish Board of Directors member LaHoma Romocki, a former PeaceCorps Cameroon Director, taught the Nourish approach and the successes and challenges of sustainable development. Hillary Larman of the US Fund for UNICEF discussed advocacy in action and how to create successful partnerships. Board members Evan Ashkin and Ann-Marie Clayton explained what partnership means and how to evaluate impact.
Monday, August 4 – Leveraging What You’ve Learned
The last day of the Institute was bittersweet as students reflected on what they learned throughout the conference. Nourish Board Chairperson Dee Blake talked with students about Nourish’s strategic plan and how to carry it over to their Chapters.
The Nourish staff was thrilled by the engaging discussions and ideas presented by students throughout the Institute. We are confident that our Chapters are prepared for the coming year and we can’t wait to see where it will take us. Thank you to all involved in the conference — it was a huge success! We hope to see you there next year.
Just over two weeks ago we started the work week with finishing the bunny cage that tortured our souls (we tried to upload a photo of finished product, but it repeatedly caused the computer to freeze). It was a great way to begin a week full of completing projects. After finalizing the construction at San Bartolome in the morning we taught all three workshops (accounting, empowerment, and herbs) in the afternoon. The next day (Tues., July 22 if you’re following along), we conducted the accounting workshop at Sumpango and we were treated to delicious local cuisine made by the women of the cooperative.
After lunch and a round of good-byes, we transferred back to Guatemala City and surveyed the site at Junkabalito. Over the next two days, we made, sanded, and sealed three tables, tilled ground and planted mother herbs, installed wire mesh inside a structure (note: getting the wire mesh inside the structure was a task in and of itself), and made two planter boxes from recycled pallets.
The weekend greeted us early – with a trip to Maria’s finca south of Mazatenango. For two days, we were hosted by a fabulous family in a fabulous puebla and stayed in an amazing home built by Maria’s grandfather 60 years ago, who styled it with antique Spanish and Moroccan flair. There was a waterfall, a gorgeous pool, coffee production, vermicompost production, bats, and insanely delicious home-cooked food in a grand hall. It was difficult to leave this wonderland, but we headed back to the city.
After conducting all three workshops for the women of Junkabalito on Monday, we had our first inauguration there that afternoon. It was great seeing the women excited about the work we did and eager to ask questions and provide feedback during the workshops.
We traveled back to Antigua that night to conduct our first follow-ups in Sumpango and San Bartolome. On Thursday, we left early in the morning for a major vacation: Semuc Champey and Tikal. There are no words to describe the beauty and awe of these two places. “The pristine, sky-blue natural pools, waterfalls, underwater caves, cliff and bridge jumping, incredible ruins, and magnificent scenery” doesn’t do these places justice. They seem other-worldly.
We’ve been back in Guatemala City now for the last few days. We visited Sumpango and San Bartolome Tuesday to do a final follow-up and answer questions the women had. We were again treated to delicious food, great conversation, and said our tearful good-byes por ahora – as we are all certain we’ll accept their offers to return. During a debriefing session with Byoearth, we all acknowledged how grateful and positive this experience has been. We are excited to see how next year’s team follows up and are anxious to stay in touch with each cooperativa.
As this trip wraps up, we’re bidding our final adieus and taking in all we can of this amazing country. We’re sad to leave and our good-byes are always tearful, but we’re looking forward to seeing our friends and family back home. Expect a reflective post in the coming weeks, and thanks for all your support, encouragement, and positive thoughts throughout.
Adios por ahora.