The Rise of the Internet: Heightened Global Consciousness

Globe In the 1990s the athletic shoe monolith Nike faced a public relations nightmare when activists harnessed the power of the newly available mass medium of the World Wide Web to expose company abuses in Vietnam, Pakistan and Indonesia. Not only did the resulting boycott hurt the company's bottom line, but from thenceforth, consumers from economically rich countries could no longer turn a blind eye to the injustices that rampant consumerism imposed on economically poor countries, oft referred to as the Third World.

The Voluntourism Explosion

In the 21st century the Internet has played an increasing role in information dissemination; that, in combination with more accessible international travel, has created a global village. Options to help the world's economically depraved are no longer limited to watching infomercials with Sally Struthers and subsequently stroking a check.

According to idealist.org director Erin Barnhart, U.S. citizens "are seeing things happen in real time and saying I want to help." Individual participation in development has gone mainstream, evidenced, for example, by CNN Travel's entire category dedicated to "humanitarian travel."

Yet, as one nongovernmental (NGO) director pointed out on a recent trip to Nicaragua, citing an old adage, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." It is the intention of this site to provide U.S. Americans with information not only on volunteer opportunities in Nicaragua, but also to paint a realistic portrait of what volunteering entails and how one can have a truly positive volunteer experience in Nicaragua.