Team Nicaragua

The Center for Non-Violence and Prevention Programs (CNVPP) and the Protestant Community at MSU are dedicated to broadening students’ global awareness, experience, and education in order to empower them to create change in their communities and the world.  Both organizations have come together to form Team Nicaragua,  a unique opportunity to build upon classroom experience by applying existing knowledge and new discovery to a challenging real world environment.

 One of the many learning objectives is to gain a better perspective of the various systems that keep developing countries like Nicaragua from achieving economic and social stability.  In addition, individuals will have the opportunity to build relationships, network, and learn and work alongside our Nicaraguan partners to help them achieve their community goals.

 This international service learning project, a first of its kind for MSU, will send 13 students on an intense 10-day educational mission to Nicaragua, from May 28th to June 6th, 2008.  The project represents the collaboration of the following individuals and organizations:


  • Jhon Velasco, Director of the Center for Non-Violence and Prevention Programs and adjunct professor in the Health and Nutrition Sciences department;
  • Reverend Ann Ralosky, the Protestant Chaplain at Montclair State University;
  • The MSU administration;
  • Witness for Peace (, a politically independent, nationwide grassroots organization of based in Washington D.C., committed to non-violence and social justice.  

 The staff at Witness for Peace has tailored a program specifically for Montclair State University.

Witness for Peace has provided a site for us in Nicaragua to establish an education/learning community to better understand the country’s economics, politics, and most importantly, education and health-related challenges, as well as disparities with developed countries. 


The theme of this project is education for action.  Some of the learning/work experiences will include meeting with a variety of organizations to learn about issues surrounding women's and workers' rights, human rights, education, and most importantly health and the environment. We will also have the privilege and unique opportunity to help educate the children of a certain community. We will be learning first-hand about alternative developmental projects including the effect of Free and Fair Trade on the garment and coffee industries. We will also have the opportunity to tour a “maquilardora,” which is a foreign-owned factory, to learn about unsafe working conditions and help take action to promote healthier and safer working environments.


 Upon returning, we are committed to educate and create change within our communities.  A  classroom lecture series for the Fall 2008 semester will be created that will include themes regarding societal disparities, including public health education, awareness, and promotion as they relate to developing countries. Our ultimate expectation is to acquire tools and skills needed to help educate our community, raise awareness among consumers, and influence U.S. policymakers.