Goal: To support and protect indigenous communities and cultural and ecological resources negatively impacted by climate change and environmental exploitation, particularly using the arts, education, and sustainable development as tools for advocacy and resilience.
From the Nicaraguan Youth Troupe for Community Transformation to the Starfish Project, ICW's focus has been primarily in Nicaragua since our founding in 2010. We are excited to launch a new project that would engage indigenous communities in the United States and internationally.
One of ICW's founding principles is the belief that the most effective models of development are those that are both imagined from within and developed in collaboration across cultures. With the ever-increasing threats to our environment and natural resources due to climate change and deregulation of energy production, we need more than ever to work across local, international, and intercultural borders to create a sustainable future for our next generations.
Indigenous communities across the globe carry a disproportionate weight of environmental burdens. Indigenous lands and territories are consistently exploited for oil and mineral extraction, toxic waste management, and as sites for dangerous, contaminating, and environmentally destructive industrial, agricultural, or transportation infrastructures. This historical exploitation continues to go largely unnoticed and undocumented, while indigenous communities are increasingly denied rights to manage their traditional lands.
ICW is committed to addressing this inequality. Our 2017 objectives will include working with indigenous communities in designing, developing, and implementing programs to improve their resiliency against climate change and unjust environmental exploitation.
ICW is developing its new project, EarthChange, with the following as its goal: To support and protect indigenous communities and cultural and ecological resources negatively impacted by climate change and environmental exploitation, particularly using the arts, education, and sustainable development as tools for advocacy and resilience.
This project goal is in alliance with ICW's mission to design, develop, and implement culturally congruent, sustainable, and community-based programs that meet the basic human needs of health, education, and economic opportunity, both locally and globally.
Jennifer Foerster will serve as the Project Director for EarthChange. The first activities involve working with the youth and teachers of the Mni Wichoni Nakicizin Owayawa - Defenders of the Water School, which is based on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. ICW will be partnering with a collective of Native Women Writers and the Defenders of the Water School to develop and offer Zine-making workshops for the youth. The first workshop is scheduled for February 2017 in North Dakota, and will be followed up by a public presentation with the Native Women Writers Collective and the participating youth in New York City in March 2017.
Zine-making activities are also being considered with other Native communities across the country. The Zine project will be shared with the Nicaragua Youth Troupe, and we are excited for the possibility of a multi-country youth collaboration.
Please visit back regularly for updates on EarthChange and ICW's other ongoing projects. If you are interested to learn more about EarthChange, please contact the Project Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Nicaragua Youth Troupe for Community Transformation is a youth-mentorship-based project of InnerCHANGE WORKS (ICW) that employs theater and the performing arts in creating healthy and empowered communities.
In 2013, ICW formed a partnership with the local after-school community organization, Podcasts for Peace, to create the pilot project of the Nicaragua Youth Troupe for Community Transformation with the youth and children of Alemania Democratica, a sector of Barrio Acahualinca, which neighbors Managua's municipal garbage dump, La Chureca.
In partnership with Podcasts for Peace and theater students from the Universidad Americana (UAM) and Universidad Catolica de Nicaragua (UNICA), ICW initiated a series of theater classes every Saturday in Acahualinca, and inspired the children to create and perform the play, "Animal of Paradise" for the community in July 2013. For more information about this successful community celebration, please visit our media publication in Nicaragua Community. Click here for article
To support the Youth Troupe project, ICW, in partnership with Cierto Guis Producciones, has been creating a documentary, featuring the participating youth and teachers. The documentary, Paradise Creatures (Criaturas del Paraiso), was premiered in Managua, Nicaragua in September 2014. The full documentary is publicly available on our ICW YouTube site.
To view the documentary in English, click here
To view the documentary in Spanish, click here
Click here to watch the trailer for the Paradise Creatures!
The Acahualinca community's Youth Troupe performed its second play at the inaugural opening of Managua's new bi-national cultural center, on February 15, 2014.
The Nicaragua Youth Troupe is now being expanded to communities around Nicaragua, and offers ongoing teacher and youth leadership trainings. Click below to see interviews of our NYT teachers, trainers, and workshops:
Interview with NYT Volunteer Teacher Trainer, Amy Rebecca Marsico
Interview with NYT Volunteer Teacher, Myrna Báez
Interview with NYT Volunteer Teacher, Maria Rámos
Interview with NYT Volunteer Teacher, Adela Davalos
Interview with ICW Director of Operations, Javier Quinto Re
ICW's Youth Troupe for Community Transformation theater workshop is designed to provide for the children and young adults a creative and dynamic environment rooted in the experiences and skills of each participant. Working with university students as mentors, the children and young adults are creating stories from their life experiences, while learning acting, writing, movement, and other techniques to develop these stories into plays that address key social, cultural, and environmental issues.
Join us on Facebook through our Nicaragua Youth Troupe page
Since the conclusion of CHESS Nicaragua in 2009, ICW (through innerCHANGE associates international) has designed and implemented eight Community Health Improvement Fairs in Nicaragua. These Community Health Improvement Fairs have taken place with the Selva Negra and El Quetzal coffee farms in Matagalpa; the Hospital Central Managua, the La Chureca School, the La Esperanza Women’s Prison and La Modelo Men’s Prison in Managua; the Roberto Clemente Health Clinic in Rivas; and the California School in Villa El Carmen. In total, the Health Fairs have served over 1000 children and close to 1000 adults and elders.
ICW’s Health Improvement Fairs involve health assessment consultations and educational presentations in disease and accident prevention for children and adults by visiting US and local Nicaraguan nursing and medical students and health practitioners, as well as exhibits and in-kind contributions from local and international environmental, agricultural, and health-related businesses and organizations.
Key to the success of the Community Health Improvement Fairs are the Community Health Improvement Councils (CHICs), comprised of local students, teachers, and community leaders. Additionally, culturally specific Health Risk Appraisals (HRAs) are administered pre- and post- health fairs to provide community feedback on health issues and needs. After each health fair, ICW analyzes data from HRAs gathered by the CHIC, and then modifies ongoing health initiatives based on this evaluation. CHIC members in each community undergo a comprehensive training to organize and run these fairs on their own, and to employ HRAs as a community health indicator. In addition, CHIC members are trained, in turn, to train community members in safety, injury prevention, and health promotion. The CHIC becomes a grassroots, self-sustaining system to evaluate community health needs and to design and plan future health fairs and programming to address these needs.