Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua

   Paths to Progress:  Lo que está pasando en Ciudad Sandino

Community Partner Highlights

environment.gifCentro de Salud Jinotepe provides patients with low-cost healthcare. Services include basic health exams, tests, and vaccinations--as well as community health visits and rural workshops.

health.gifMasaya Sin Fronteras (MASINFA) takes a technical, human, and financial focus on sustainable living for low-income populations in urban and rural areas of Masaya and supporting over 40,000 people in 53 communities.

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An Introduction to the Land
of Lakes and Volcanoes


Ciudad Sandino is a densely populated city of roughly 75,000 people, located outside of the country's capital, Managua. Although sixty percent of Nicaragua's population lives in urban areas, much of the country is comprised of rural farmlands, lakes and volcanic features. Nicaragua's economy is based on agricultural exports, mainly coffee, sugar, beef, and seafood. With over 50 percent of the 5.5 million residents living below the poverty line, Nicaragua remains the poorest country in the Americas. FSD's community partners in Ciudad Sandino work to combat the city's poor infrastruture, high unemployment, and extreme poverty. FSD Ciudad Sandino supports projects in Ciudad Sandino, Masaya, Jinotepe, and Chagüitillo. Ciudad Sandino has the special distinction of being FSD's first site, established in 1995.

Ciudad Sandino,

Managua Department

    Population:  est. 74,238

    Avg. temperature:  Low 62ºF / High 82ºF

    Local time: 

    Local language:  Spanish


Organization: MASINFA
Topic: Nutrition
Intern: Caroline White-Nockleby

Masaya Sin Fronteras (MASINFA) is pioneering nutrition through urban container gardens. Caroline worked with MASINFA to train 20 women in farming techniques to start their own agricultural collective. Caroline says, “I think of this project as the coming together of resources that already existed: food waste, empty containers, enthusiasm...everyone feels ownership.”


Organization: Fundación Fenix
Topic: Human rights

Fundación Fenix has taken great steps to combat human trafficking in and around Ciudad Sandino. The organization’s project, “Prevention of Human Trafficking amongst adolescents and young schoolchildren,” focuses on informing their beneficiaries about the definition of trafficking, including how it happens in their own communities, and how they can prevent it as teachers, parents and youth scholars.

Maria de Jesus Zepeda, Program Director


Maria's impressive educational and professional background in social work, psychology, and leadership training prepared her well for her position at FSD. Most recently, she received her master's degree in Social Politics, Rights, and Leadership for Children and Adolescents. While she has worked on a wide variety of development projects, her passion is empowering women, promoting community development, and supporting local organizations.

A day in the life of an FSD Intern

Barrio Health

Christine White participated in Northwestern University's GESI summer program with FSD Group Engage. The group partnered with local organization Masaya Sin Fronteras (MASINFA) to initiate a health curriculum in Ciudad Sandino's technical high school.

After spending the better part of eight weeks thinking and thinking and pensando some more about each and every aspect of our project, I hardly know how to feel at the (almost) end of the process. I'm relieved at the participation, proud of my GESI group, excited to have experienced Nicaragua, hopeful for the students’ futures….and absolutely overwhelmed by it all. The many different kinds of projects MASINFA, our host organization, directs are diverse and difficult to incorporate into one project. Our focus is health, salud, and we offered a series of six classes to high school students that culminated in their sharing information about cancer health in the barrio of San Fernando.

The three main facets of MASINFA--the technical high school, the CIPO health center, and the housing projects--all combined in this project. The community identified need of health education was met with the community assets of the existing health care and the students as promoters. We simply connected the dots that already existed. During the process, big questions were asked and answered, although sometimes the decisions seemed small. Inspiration comes in slow, seeping realizations rather than in spurts. Yet, at the end of this experience, I treasure the quality time I’ve spent with the project and the people it involves. GESI_18.jpg The barrio visit was physically and emotionally the perfect finale to our project, although hopefully not a true finale. Sustainability, while difficult in any situation, is definitely possible in this case. I can honestly say that my group of students stole the show. They shamelessly walked up to houses and spoke about breast cancer and Papanicolaous (Pap tests). Even if I wasn’t able to fully communicate it to them, I could not have been prouder when they went off script, adding their own spin to the information. One kid sprinted down the street to give out one last brochure before we left. “Is this part of your curriculum?” one woman asked them. “Oh no”, answered an alumno. “This is to spread education. This is to help people.”