BUILD: Nicaragua

Building Understanding through International Leadership and Development (BUILD) is an interdisciplinary student-led program that immerses students in the...

Show More

Building Understanding through International Leadership and Development (BUILD): Nicaragua

Building Understanding through International Leadership and Development (BUILD) is an interdisciplinary student-led program that immerses students in the theory and practice of sustainable development through partnerships with rural communities in the developing world. BUILD members study and implement projects for human, social, and economic development generated through focus groups with partner communities. 

BUILD: Nicaragua creates mutually beneficial long-term partnerships with local, socially minded organizations in Nicaragua through summer internships with these organizations. During the school year students prepare for their experiences through intensive study in development theory, with a special focus on the process of design, monitoring and evaluation, and through the sharing of the experiences had by students returning from a summer working with an organization.

For its first six years (2002-2008), BUILD participants spent a semester learning about international development, cross-cultural exchange, and the history and politics of Nicaragua before spending their winter break working in the field with the community. In 2008, BUILD shifted its work from Nicaragua to a project in Santa Anita, Guatemala that focused on income generation, sustainable agriculture, computer learning, and eco-tourism. BUILD's work in Guatemala culminated in a viable fair-trade social enterprise selling coffee that can be read about at the IGL Archives here. Returning to Nicaragua, BUILD: Nicaragua projects now follow an internship structure, giving students the opportunity to coordinate their academic interests and capabilities with the various projects implemented by our various NGO partners in the Matagalpa-Jinotega region of Nicaragua.

There is no standard profile of a BUILD: Nicaragua student. We integrate undergraduates from diverse majors within the liberal arts and other schools, combining methodologies and analytical approaches from engineering, anthropological, political, economic, literary, cultural and medical perspectives. Regardless of career path, all BUILD students are motivated to learn through practice in sustainable development, understand that their work is high stakes, and prepare themselves to use sensitive and innovative methods to effect sustainable growth in the developing world.

To get involved with BUILD: Nicaragua, contact one of our group leaders or plan to come to an early-semester general interest meeting.

Program At-a-Glance

Program Size


Year Founded



BUILD: Nicaragua

BUILD: Nicaragua Projects & Events

view more + view less -

We Are All BUILD

“We are all BUILD,” mused Janani Duraisamy, reflecting upon her position as Learning Center administrator for the past year.   Janani is a student and resident of the village of Thottiyapatti, ...

BUILD: India

See BUILD: Nicaragua's sister program, BUILD: India.

Video: Meet the BUILD Team

Watch a short video from the BUILD team in Guatemala.