TecNica Volunteers in Nicaragua
TecNica placed over 600 North American and international volunteers in Nicaraguan ministries and agencies, ranging from engineers to attorneys, and from health care specialists to skilled tradespeople. TecNica Volunteers worked in the National Bank and the National Library, on coffee plantations, in rural machine shops and health clinics, in academic research centers, and the Department of Education and in cultural centers in the capital, Managua, to name just a few.
TecNica Volunteers arrived in Nicaragua monthly for two- to three-week stays. With pre-arranged project assignments, volunteers could bring relevant materials with them, where applicable, to make their work time more productive. Housing was also arranged in advance, either by TecNica staff in Nicaragua or by the host agency.
Near the end of their stay, TecNica Volunteers traveled to other, rural locations in Nicaragua to meet Nicaraguan people impacted by the ongoing war and hear, first hand, of the consequences of US government aid to the Contra army.
Upon their return, TecNica Volunteers shared their experiences in talks and slide shows, providing vital education to the North American public about the realities of daily life in war-torn Nicaragua.
TecNica Volunteers in Southern Africa
TecNica’s work in southern Africa stemmed not only from a desire to support the dismantling of apartheid, but also to assist the people of the region in attaining their economic self-sufficiency and development. In the late 1980’s, the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC), then in exile in other African nations, approached TecNica about expanding the technical assistance program to training centers for South Africans in exile. The ANC, founded in 1912, was the leading organization struggling to end the racist system of apartheid in South Africa.
TecNica sent early groups to Tanzania and to the ANC headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia, to discover what types of assistance were needed and explore ways to collaborate.
Subsequently, TecNica Volunteers worked on ANC projects in Zambia, both in Lusaka and at the ANC’s 3000-acre farm outside Lusaka. Tecnica Volunteers worked in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Zambia on projects such as training 25 people to repair and maintain medical equipment and photo-copiers.
In Namibia, TecNica Volunteers helped Namibians produce voter education materials for the historic elections in Namibia in November, 1989. They also helped to set up a communications infrastructure linking regional centers in Namibia with the capital, Windhoek. For TecNica, it was a great honor to be of assistance in the birth of a free and democratic Namibia.
In Zimbabwe, TecNica Volunteers trained members of the collective cooperative movement in computer applications, financial management, and accounting, as well as with the Training Aids Development Group to bring educational materials in adult literacy and self-help training manuals to all Zimbabweans. In all, TecNica Volunteers assisted in more than a dozen work projects in Zimbabwe.
In Mozambique, as South African-backed Renamo “contras” waged a desperate campaign of terror, TecNica Volunteers assisted the Bureau of Public Information (BIP) in producing educational materials about the crisis facing the Mozambican people. TecNica consultants assisted in the testing and installation of a computer network system for information management, literature production, and communications, as well as training in the software applications that would increase the information flow to the outside world about the country-wide emergency.
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