Follow student blogger Zach McDade in his journeys in Nicaragua, bringing solar LEDs to poor, rural families in hopes of encouraging children to attend school.

June 3

Hi, I’m Zach, a senior at Macalester College, and I’m spending the summer in rural Nicaragua, testing the solar LEDs in homes with no electricity and often no light at all. I have several goals, the most important of which is to bring light to poor, rural families. If families get use of the LEDs conditional on ensuring that their kids attend school 85% of the time, will the lights end up changing behavior? How will they work compared to cash, an already proven mechanism? I just got to Nicaragua and I’ve been in Managua since I got here. Over the next few weeks I will be making my way up north to the rural communities. Stay posted for developments!

Talk to me
June 8

As I moved from bustling Managua to small-town Granada, the smallness of the world smacked me on the face and reminded me why I’m here.

Just when I was starting to feel a bit lonely and wondering why, exactly, I had decided to come to Granada all by myself, the world opened itself for me. more »

What is poverty?
June 29

I’m just about half way done with my time here in Nicaragua, and I’ve now visited two of my three homestays. The experience has been eye-opening, challenging and rewarding. It has been far harder than I ever thought it would to establish those person-to-person relationships I talked of in my last post. This only reinforces my belief that it is the most important means by which I can affect change. more »

July 10

It looks like I’m finally making those connections with people that are so important. I know that now, if we come back with a larger scale light study, we will have the full support of this community. more »


after Mac

Urban Institute, DC

May 9 2009

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