Tola, Nicaragua

      Paths to Progress:  Lo que está pasando en Tola

Community Partner Highlights

education.gifLos Pipitos is a group dedicated to enriching the lives of disabled children and their parents, providing various therapies and practical technical training to generate income.

health.gifPuesto de Salud Las Salinas provides healthcare to an estimated 5,000 residents through its clinic and field visits. The organization leads information sessions on preventative measures and healthy lifestyles as well as holds nutritional cooking classes and walking groups for the patients.

Internship Opportunities in Tola click here

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Introduction to Tola's coastal communities


Tola is a municipality (like a US county) with a population of 20,000 on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast. Tola is also the name of the biggest town in the municipality, the head of the local government and services. The municipality is home to more than 60 communities of subsistence farmers, salt miners, and fisherpersons; it's also known for surfing, beaches, and dramatic coastline. These rural communities are challenged by poor infrastructure, low socioeconomic indicators, and health concerns–particularly childhood malnutrition and Dengue Fever. Hearteningly, many small businesses are developing to provide services to the local market. FSD is proud to support many of these local coops, including:  Cooperativa Servicios Múltiples which sells affordable food staples and has started a revolving loan program; Cooperativa Buen Diseño, a sewing cooperative that provides uniforms for local schoolchildren; and Cooperativa Grupo Genesis, the first female-led enterprise in the Tola region, providing fresh-baked goods locally.


Rivas Department

    Population:  est. 20,000

    Avg. temperature:  Low 62ºF / High 82ºF

    Local time: 

    Local language:  Spanish


Organization: Casa de la Mujer
Topic: Microfinance
Intern: Joshua Connor

Casa de la Mujer addresses women's rights through outreach and promotion of gender equality in political management and economic decision-making. Of his internship, Joshua Connor says, “The best aspect was just having a chance to participate in something that has the potential to make a lasting difference, as well as the opportunity for personal growth.”

Centro Salud Jinotepe.jpg

Organization: Centro de Salud
Topic: Health
Intern: Matthew Hing

Nicaragua has the highest incidence of teenage pregnancy in the Americas, as well as a maternal mortality rate 50 percent higher than the regional average. Centro de Salud Jinotepe and Intern Matthew Hing improved access to reproductive health education and built the capacity of family planning services in the community.

Ramiro Adoni Rocha Rodríguez, Program Director


Ramiro has been involved with NGOs focused on sustainable community development since 1999. His educational and work experience cover a range of topics from education and social work to community organization and conflict resolution. Ramiro brings his passion for development to our Tola site and continues to expand FSD's community network.

A day in the life of an FSD Intern

Doors to Knowledge

Cristina Tono partnered with Biblioteca Puertas del Saber in Limon 2, Tola from September to December 2012. The focus of her internship was environmental education.

“What am I supposed to do?” Upon arriving in Limon 2, Tola, Rivas, Nicaragua, a small community of 500 inhabitants on the coast of Nicaragua two hours south of Rivas, I found this question frequently creeping into daily conversation with the FSD Site Team. My voice itched with anxiety as I felt orientation abruptly coming to an end, simultaneously marking my official release into the community, and the start of my project: encouraging environmental awareness and establishing alternatives to burning trash by implementing a recycling center and reusing trash to produce crafts: making piñatas and cultural masks with paper, knitting with plastic bags, and making jewelry with recycled trash all supported and taught through my host organization Biblioteca Puertas del Saber or Library Doors to Knowledge.

Everyday was a new adventure that followed a similar routine, but ultimately brought me closer to my project goal. At my home stay, I would usually wake up to the roosters outside my window at around 5:30 in the morning, but after developing immunity to the ruckus, sometimes until 7 am. At first I felt out of place without a role in the daily routine of the house. But I caught on quickly drinking coffee and eating the infamous Nicaraguan Gallo Pinto (mixed rice and beans) every morning enjoying a brief period of relaxation before a long but productive, tiring yet fulfilling, sunny day.

I would always report back to Sonia, my supervisor at my host organization, but most days I would venture off making my own connections and starting my personal list of contacts. Nearly everything I did involved either Sonia or one of the librarians at my host organization ensuring the sustainability of the project. One of the most amazing things to see by the end of the project was not only the groups we had formed, and the different activities that the children at the library would do with trash, but also hearing how the librarians and Sonia would talk about the project and about the benefits of reusing trash. Through the process of completing the project, the librarians and Sonia had developed a new perspective on trash themselves and grew an appreciation for all the things they could do with it instead of burning.fsdpainting.jpg For the first time in my life everything felt right. I was completely focused on a goal that was bigger than myself, and bigger than philosophical qualms that typically consume my young adult thoughts. I was working towards a project where I and my host organization Puertas del Saber were equally invested and passionate about building environmental awareness in the community of Limón 2 through introducing alternatives to burning trash such as establishing a trash collection system as well as forming and educating groups on making crafts from recycled materials.