Update from the Field
Suraya Arslan, CAN field intern

27 October 2014: The digital revolution has come late to Nicaragua. The country ranks last regionally and 114th globally in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development according to a 2013 report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Despite this late start, Nicaraguans have quickly embraced mobile devices and 3G networks are increasingly being used to access the internet.

A key goal to CAN’s Youth Leadership and Education for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Sovereignty Project (YLFS) is to empower youth in rural communities with marketable skills in an effort to reduce outmigration and strengthen pride in agricultural livelihoods. In line with these goals, youth leaders have received computer training and led the annual monitoring and evaluation of YLFS. However, lack of regular use has prevented these trainings from being effective in building their technological capacity.

Suraya and youth leader Bismarck practicing survey taking with a tablet in La Pita, Nicaragua.

This year, in collaboration with the Everett Program at UC Santa Cruz, UCSC graduate Suraya Arslan is teaching eight cooperative youth leaders to use 2-in-1 laptops (tablets with keyboards) in the field data collection instead of paper questionnaires as in the past. Suraya has worked with youth leaders to learn how to use the tablets, manage the UserForm and database in Excel, as well as how to login and post updates on Facebook. These hybrid tablets will remain in San Ramón so youth leaders can continue to use them to take minutes during weekly meetings, conduct other field research, communicate with CAN’s International Youth Network for Food Sovereignty—Jóvenes SSAN—and increasing their digital literacy.