Promoting Public Health and Female Empowerment in Nicaragua

Tiffany Smith ’15 spent the summer in Managua, interning with the Acahualinca Women’s Center, which serves women in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

Biology major Tiffany Smith ’15 traveled to Managua, Nicaragua, this summer to explore the relationship between women’s health and empowerment through an internship with the Acahualinca Women’s Center. Established in 1992, the Center provides medical care, legal aid, and job-retraining for women in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Smith’s self-designed internship was sponsored by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship.

Over the summer, Smith supported all three of the Center’s operations: a medical clinic, small pre-school, and library. She also worked on a major fundraising project for the organization, which lost 90% of its funding last year due to the withdrawal of a donor based in Spain. In order to spread awareness about the significance of the Center and its possible closure, Smith collected stories from staff members and clients for publication in monthly ProNica newsletters shared throughout the U.S. and Nicaragua. ProNica, a Quaker organization that helps create and support community programs in Nicaragua, is currently the Center’s only source of aid. Most of the Center’s staff have foregone salaries in order ensure that women of the community still have access to the clinic’s essential services.

“I am incredibly honored to have had this opportunity to learn from such strong health advocates, inspired, and feel even prouder to be a woman,” Smith says. “[The staff’s] presence has saved the lives of many.”
—Sam Fox ’14