Running to fundraise – seven steps to help you succeed

Posted by Rosie Iron


Two years ago my brother completed Arch to Arc, a triathlon from London to Paris covering over 460km, including swimming the channel. He raised more than £35,000 for charity. People’s generosity struck me, along with their recognition of both the challenge he was doing and the charity he was raising for. This immense achievement motivated me to take up running and fundraise.

Millions of pounds have been raised by people running marathons. And not just the 26.2 mile-kind. A ‘marathon’ is personal, unique to you, unique to me. From a 5k Park Run to the multiday, 250km Marathon des Sarbles, everyone has their challenge.

Running to fundraise creates a symbiotic relationship benefiting both charity and runner. Runner gets fit, but it also brings an immense sense of achievement. If like me you have a feeling of helplessness towards causes you are passionate about, this is your help. Large charities have the benefit of marketing power to publicise and even run events. Smaller charities with equally worthy causes have a quieter voice. This is one of the reasons why I continue to support Nuevas Esperanzas. Not only have I witnessed the work they do, I understand how much a contribution of any kind can mean.

Posted by Nick Bartholdy


Feeling valued as a human being is an essential pillar of human happiness and fulfilment. We all crave it, and we search to achieve this in a variety of forms such as friendships, parenting and work. For some, it is about leaving behind a legacy: a link to this world of substance before we return to the realm of everything and nothing. For others it concerns self-worth; a need to know that we are contributing something positive to this world in the form of our subjective and unique individual conscience, be it through art, science or love.

It is undoubtedly this yearning for self - and general - validation that pushes many young Western individuals to cross the great seas of this world in an attempt to offer everything they have to people who seemingly need help that otherwise would not be forthcoming. At the prospect of being able to contribute a part of ourselves to create a better world that we envision, we dive head-first into this challenge that could, at last, satisfy our desire to be valuable to this world.

Posted by Rose Martersteck


A sunny afternoon in Agua Fría became the site of a medical emergency as a group of four people arrived bearing an improvised stretcher. Comprised of a sturdy tree branch with an affixed hammock, the stretcher required two men to balance the pole on their shoulders with the patient suspended in the hammock between them. The patient in question was a woman who had abdominal surgery the week prior and subsequently suffered ripped stitches. Managing both the uneven trail and swinging motion of the improvised stretcher, the group arrived to where the Nuevas Esperanzas team waited.

Posted by Joe Smith


On Friday 19 September, two powerhouses of world religion entered the sporting arena in Canterbury, England to decide once and for all which is best at cricket. On its Light of Faith tour, a visiting Vatican XI took on an Anglican XI in a match, the like of which has never been seen before.

Posted by Rosie Iron


Volunteering abroad. What do you think of when you read those words? When I am asked by friends and family what I was doing in Nicaragua, they seem slightly confused when I tell them that I wasn’t carrying out the usual volunteer roles of teacher, construction worker or conservationist. Volunteering with Nuevas Esperanzas has been very different from my other volunteer experiences. When I contacted the team last year, I had no idea that a few emails and a skype call would lead to volcano hikes, beehive visits, canyon abseiling and fascinating agricultural training sessions.

Posted by Joe Smith


To mark World Literacy Day on September 8, I am taking a look at the issue of literacy from a Nicaraguan perspective.

For much of the 35 years since the 1979 Revolution, literacy has been a central concern in Nicaraguan education policy. After four decades of the Somozas’ dictatorship which had seen it as unnecessary for the majority of the population, the Sandinista government set about a mass literacy campaign within months of coming to power.

Posted by Joe Smith


In a recent entry, I looked at how beans – as well as rice and corn – dominate the rural Nicaraguan diet, often at the expense of almost everything else. Despite its ubiquity, producing this staple is not without its problems.

Nicaraguan subsistence farmers on the slopes of the Telica Volcano tend to favour beans over all other crops. Only maize is given anywhere near the same amount of time, energy and investment. Unfortunately, despite the fertile volcanic soils, making a living from the humble bean is far from simple.

Posted by Joe Smith


Why do the poor make decisions that seem to keep them in poverty? Sometimes they might not know the best path to take, the perceived risk involved may force them to make bad choices, or cultural and religious norms may forbid the sensible alternative. Often, however, they know exactly what they are doing.

Posted by Joe Smith


A few years ago we were working on an organic gardens project in the community of El Ñajo. We introduced a range of different vegetables, some of which the community already ate but did not necessarily know how to produce. Some of the other crops, including radishes, were entirely new to the women planting them. Amongst the older generation in particular there was some skepticism about these small root vegetables. But after a bumper crop, a group of three women saw their potential to make a bit of money. They gathered together their harvest in three sacks and set off to the market in León.

Posted by Joe Smith


In 2009 Nuevas Esperanzas wrote a five-year plan with a shopping list of potential projects. Many of these have been completed, some are underway, and others are no longer necessary. Then there are a few other projects that do not appear on this list, but that have been carried out anyway. These are the accidental projects.

Posted by Joe Smith


A gastronomic tour of Nicaragua can be as varied as in any other country. From lobster ceviche and fried plantains, to corn tamales steamed and served in a banana leaf, there is plenty on the menu.

In a typical market a foreigner may find a whole range of foods they never knew existed. And the ‘exotic’ fruits they pay through the nose for back home are much more affordable. Pick the right season and you could buy a pineapple or a watermelon for under $1, or a dozen mangoes for 20 cents.

Posted by Joe Smith


What does someone living on under $1.25 a day really need and want? Some would say a lot of things. Perhaps a reliable water supply, or latrines, or four sturdy walls, or a library, a new set of clothes, a hospital, or a road to get to that hospital. So if you think they need everything, you could make things simple and pick one option out of a hat.

Posted by Joe Smith


A charity should fly in, solve a community’s problems, and be home in time for tea and medals. Sounds a little utopian to me, but people are terrified of the dreaded ‘D word’.

Here are two stories about Dependency.

Posted by Joe Smith


Understandably a charity donor is always keen to see their money go as far as possible. Helping 1000 people is better than helping 100. If a charity can do that by spending $100 instead of $1000 then even better. The most tangible indicators of success – the ones that are measured in ones and zeros – are seen as the most important and the most reliable.

Unfortunately, ones and zeros do not always tell the whole story, and can even be misleading. If you cannot always rely on the tangible, could there be indicators of development which are a lot harder to quantify, but no less real?

Posted by Joe Smith

When I returned to the UK after spending six months volunteering with Nuevas Esperanzas I had a good understanding of their work, the communities they work with and the country they work in. Now as the organisation’s UK Coordinator, returning to Central America for the first time since April 2011, I asked myself how much do I really know?

Yes, I still understand our model of development. I still believe in the importance of joined up thinking, a holistic approach, and community ownership.

But I started wondering what might have changed. Would I still finish a day in the field dirtier than anyone else? Would it still be impossible to buy a notepad for work without skateboards on the cover? And would I, now supposedly with a degree in the language, still struggle with the intricacies of Nica Spanish?