Human Resources for Sustainable Development
in Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast
project focuses on a unique and innovative institution worthy of Canadian
support. The University of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean
Coast of Nicaragua (URACCAN) was set up in 1992 to respond to the particular
development needs of the poorest region of Nicaragua - its Caribbean Coast.
Unlike most universities in Latin America, URACCAN has its origins in the community it seeks to serve, and was created through the efforts of local community organizations. URACCAN's teaching programs are designed to enhance the capacities of the people of the Caribbean Coast, to foster sustainable development (in forestry, fishing, and mining), to improve the quality of health care and of primary and secondary education (through nurse and teacher training programs), and to foster community development (through a curriculum oriented to community needs and involving specialized activities, such as workshops).
URACCAN is an indigenous, multi-ethnic institution, designed to respond to the ethno-cultural and linguistic diversity of the Caribbean Coast, a region which is populated by indigenous peoples (Miskitu, Mayangna [Sumu], and Rama), descendants of African slaves, and Mestizos (descendants of indigenous peoples and Spanish settlers). Several languages are spoken in the region, including Miskitu, Mayangna (Sumu), Garifunu, English, Creole and Spanish. URACCAN is led by a Board of Directors elected from the local community in such a way as to promote ethnic, gender, and regional representation.
Because it is a relatively new institution with limited resources, the first phase of URACCAN's institutional development plans have called for significant enhancement of the quality of its faculty, programs and curriculum, establishing of technology-based information and communication centres in each of its three campuses, and development of its community outreach programs. This project is intended to assist URACCAN in precisely these areas of institutional development. The successful completion of the planned activities of this York-URACCAN project will ensure URACCAN's sustainability and allow it to continue supporting the social and economic development of Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast region.