Who is Asociación Fénix?
Asociación Fénix is a not for profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) which directs its efforts to developing and promoting renewable energy sources and uses of natural resources in a responsible manner. The NGO began 7 years ago. Jaime Muñoz is the director of Asociación Fénix and brings with him over 15 years of renewable energy experience. These experiences include making bio-digesters, solar
ovens, solar driers, solar pasteurizers and installing solar panels. The members of Asociación Fénix are engineers, technicians, students, local professors and community promoters. Asociación Fénix consists of two full time office staff supported by various volunteers. There are two three year volunteers with experience in agriculture and health and a one year volunteer who is an engineer. As an organization, we have provided various rural communities with the following renewable energy projects:
- Electricity using micro hydroelectric plants
- Using solar energy to pump potable water
- Biogas for cooking
- Drip Irrigation Systems using Solar Power
- Wind turbines to charge batteries for energy
- Solar powered ovens
- Energy efficient wood stoves
Aso Fenix does not only focus on doing renewable energy projects, but helping with community development. The projects are a way we enter the community, but once we enter the community we stay to help in other areas; i.e. community organization, income generation, sustainable agriculture, gender, health, education, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, education on the environment, watershed protection, reforestation and conflict transformation. We may touch these areas by providing capacitations with adults and children, doing other small projects or in building relationships in the communities. Aso Fenix´s goal is to help improve the livelihood of the people and the projects bringing water or electricity are only a start.
We also offer other NGOs and institutions technical assistance in the field of renewable energy sources, education and training of technicians, energy diagnostics and rural electrification.
What can you expect?
Nicaragua is the largest and lowest Central American country, but is the least populated one (5.5 million).Managuais the capital and largest populated city (140,000) at an elevation of90 meters. Unfortunately, it is also the second poorest country in the western hemisphere afterHaiti. Most of Nicaragua’s population lives on the western side of the country and the eastern part is made up of two autonomous regions, which is mostly uninhabited rainforest except for the few indigenous tribes.Nicaraguais known as the land of lakes and volcanoes, having an abundance of both.Nicaraguahas the oldest colonial city in theAmericasalong with the largest cathedral in all ofCentral America. Unlike many other Central American countries the national sport is baseball.
Our office is in Managua, but our work is mainly done in the department (think of it like a state) of Boaco, which is located in the center of Nicaragua. There are two municipalities (kind of like a county) in Boaco, where we work, Teustepe andSan José de los Remates. The communities in the municipality of San José de los Remates are Malacatoya, Corozo, El Roblar and La Laguna. Malacatoya and El Roblar are located in a humid tropical forest with mountains that reach between 800 and1000 meters. People here grow coffee, sugar cane and passion fruit to name a few. La Laguna and Corozo are situated in a drier area, but in the mountains. They have a shorter rainy season then Malacatoya and El Roblar. They grow beans, corn, millet and some fruit trees like oranges. The communities of Candelaria, Son Zapote, Bramadero and Potreritos are in the municipality of Teustepe. These communities are located in a seasonally dry area at an altitude of 200 to500 meters. The locals plant beans, corn and millet during the rainy season.
Part of your experience will be working and living with a family in one of these communities, so it would be great if you know some Spanish to enhance your experience. If you don’t know any Spanish we would recommend taking at least a week class when you arrive in Managua, but it is not a requirement. Also, there are three bilingual volunteers that can assist you as you are learning the language and living in the community will also help in your language learning.
Ejemplo de horario:
- Día 1-se queda en Managua en la oficina/casa de AsoFénix a aprender más sobre la organización
- Día 2-Sale al campo a visitar un proyecto realizado de agua potable, dormir en la comunidad
- Día 3-reunir con el comité, empieza un proyecto complementario
- Día 4-sigue trabajando en el proyecto, provee capacitación educativo
- Día 5-termina el proyecto, fiesta de despedida con la comunidad
- Día 6-visita un proyecto de turbina nano hidra, gira de cooperativa de café orgánico, nada al lado de una cascada, se queda en un pueblo cerquita
- Día 7-visita un proyecto de paneles solares, reunir con el comité, trabaja en un proyecto complementario, se queda en la comunidad
- Día 8-regresa a Managua, repasa y análisis
- Día 9-visita unos sitios turísticos
- Día 10-fin de gira
Practicantes de 2009 incluyen:
- Mary Solecki – Estudiante de maestra de negocios, San Francisco USA
- Brett Boissevain- Ingeniero mecánico de la Universidad de Gonzaga
- Karina Navarro – Ingeniera del Medioambiente
- Jocelyn Kluger- Estudiante de ingeniera en la Universidad de Cornell