This program is aimed primarily at students, both undergraduate and graduate, and faculty who wish to find a supportive ecosystem that encourages and provides assistance for an independent learning project such as a senior thesis or dissertation. As our newest and most flexible professional exchange track, we invite all social sciences, business school and humanities students, from Economics to International Relations, Women’s Studies to Architecture, Marketing to Business Administration, to consider Grupo Fenix and Sabana Grande for their research.

Possible Projects and Opportunities:

Las Mujeres Solares de Totogalpa: This women’s group presents a very unique opportunity for those interested to research how and why female education and empowerment is critical to developing rural areas, improving health outcomes, and poverty alleviation

Natural building: Urban Planning and Architecture students will have the opportunity to study our current natural building technologies, while also taking part in designing new processes, stronger materials, and alternative construction styles

Ceiba de Oro: An entrepreneurship club comprised of local youth and university students that presents many ways for business, marketing, or accounting students to come and share their knowledge, while also learning how to build a small business from the ground up in a developing nation.

Over the years a wide variety of research projects have been carried out in conjunction with Grupo Fenix which have included: 

Viability of waste-based cooking fuels for Developing countries: combustion emissions and field feasibility. Author: Amy Banzaert. Thesis (Ph. D.) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 2013.

North–South partnerships for sustainable energy: Knowledge–power relations in development assistance for renewable energy Author: Lena J. Kruckenberg. School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, 2015.

Renewable energy partnerships in development cooperation: Towards a relational understanding of technical assistance. Author: Lena J. Kruckenberg. School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, 2015.

Mujeres rurales ante el reto del desarrollo sostenible. Análisis crítico de la experiencia de la cooperativa multisectorial "Mujeres Solares de Totogalpa" - COOMUSOT (Nicaragua). Autor: Gemma Botica Sevilla.  Tesis (Master Universitario en Cooperacion al Desarrollo). Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, 2015.

This year we will also be joined by Michael Smith, Associate Professor in History and Environmental Studies and Sciences at Ithaca College, who has been awarded a Core U.S. Scholar Fulbright to Nicaragua for the Fall 2017 semester for his project "Paths to Resilience: A Collaborative Environmental History of Sustainable Development in Totogalpa.". He will be working to compile a regional environmental history of a community working to overcome environmental, social, and political challenges through innovative models of sustainable development.

The fee is US$600 for your first month (or US$20 per day) and US$450 thereafter which is then reduced to US$350 after the third month. The fee covers board and lodging with one of our host families (breakfast, dinner, purified water and Sunday lunch), transportation from our pick-up point in Managua to Sabana Grande and an introduction to Grupo Fenix. Translation is not included in this fee. If you will need a translator, please let us know and we can help to arrange this for you. The approximate cost of a translator is US$50 per day plus expenses.

The first step to considering doing research at Grupo Fenix is to make sure that this is the sort of organisation and experience you are looking for. To do this, please make sure to read all the sections of this website as well as the Grupo Fenix Volunteer Handbook which will give you an idea of what living and working in Sabana Grande is like.  Once you have done this and have settled on an area of research, please fill out the below form with your project statement. Once we have received this a Grupo Fenix member of staff will set up a time with suitable members of the community for a skype call so that we can explore the possibilities for your research proposal.


Name *
Telephone Number *
Telephone Number
Undergraduate thesis, masters’ theses, Ph. D, thesis etc
Level of Spanish Proficiency *
Please include the time of year and expected duration of your research with Grupo Fenix