Participating in the Global Leadership Program at blueEnergy Nicaragua this summer was a great opportunity for me to grow academically and personally.
My project was to create and analyze a market study of ecostoves in urban neighborhoods in Bluefields, Nicaragua. In Bluefields, the majority of families use open fire charcoal stoves that release smoke that is harmful to the family’s health and the environment. My role in addressing this complicated issue was to understand the social and technical aspects of cookstoves in this area so that blueEnergy can provide families with the models of ecostoves that are best suited for the communities they are working in. In this process, I conducted and analyzed about 80 surveys of Nicaraguan families in Bluefields to understand their current cooking behavior, health, and economic situation and characterize their interest and willingness to pay for the ecostoves. The skills I learned such as need-finding, designing and implementing surveys, cross-cultural communication, statistical analysis, and market analysis, will be useful as I continue to seek and contribute to projects with impact across the world.
The internship also offered me opportunities to venture out of my comfort zone and grow through new experiences and reflections. Whether I was learning about ecostoves and solar energy, spontaneously participating in soccer and meringue dancing, or exploring the communities in the area, my experiences this summer were academically, culturally, and personally enriching.