Its week 6!  We are officially more than half way through our ICS Nicaraguan experience and all the groups are getting just that bit closer to reaching our big target to build 30 eco latrines J The passing of mid-term has made the reality of returning home start to sink in for most of the UK volunteers, and many of us have already discussing our excitement for our end of term trip to Ometepe! We all want to make the most of our 3 remaining weeks in Masaya.

This week, I decided to put my degree to good use and give a talk on International Development to the fellow volunteers. I’ve been nervous about giving this talk for several weeks, so I was pleasantly surprised with the good reception it received from my fellow volunteers. It became even more apparent that all of us chose to volunteer for Progressio for similar reasons; we believe in people powered development. This was a central message in my speech, as I stressed the importance of alternative solutions to ‘development’, in contrast to traditional monetary aid from the Global North. I also highlighted some of the paradoxes of globalization and the negative impact it can have on developing economies in the Global South. 

Preparing for my speech enabled me to reflect on how Progressio’s work in Masaya positively contributes to global social justice and poverty reduction.  It is vital that poverty reduction strategies do not exclude the people they are intending to help from the poverty action process itself. Thus our work in El Pochote actively includes the local community by providing local people the resources to empower themselves. One of the most obvious examples of this is that in our current cycle, we have a substantial amount of volunteers from El Pochete, building eco-latrines in their own homes!

We all have a responsibility to contribute to the alleviation of global poverty. We have to stop thinking of poverty as an inevitable fact, beyond our control and not limit ourselves to passive solutions to eradicate it. But by taking part in the ICS programme, both UK and Nicaraguan volunteers have already taken the first step to being active global citizens. 

Written by ICS volunteer Abi Oyewumi