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MANNA PROJECT INTERNATIONAL

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Education, Educational Services, International, Philanthropy, Promotion of International Understanding, Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: Mission: To foster communities of young adults and encourage them to use their passions and education in service to communities in need.

Vision: To establish a global network of Manna Project communities where young adults live and work alongside one another in underserved communities to initiate positive change.

Programs: Currently, MPI has one international site in Managua, Nicaragua and is developing a second in Quito, Ecuador. In addition, we have five college campus chapters which support MPI and raise awareness of the need for young people to take part on a global level. In Nicaragua, our community-based programs include a literacy program, feeding program, English classes, sports teams, preschool, women's exercise group, microfinance and child sponsorship.

Community Stories

8 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 carleyra

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so happy to have made the decision to live and work in Ecuador with Manna Project International. The two years that I spent with the organization were truly transformative and unforgettable. From a personal standpoint, the experience pushed me outside of my comfort zone every day as I worked with community members and grew my Spanish skills. From a professional standpoint, even years later I still speak extensively in job interviews about how I grew professionally while working abroad and gaining experience in diverse areas of nonprofit management - it helped me land my current job!

This program is set apart from all the others for the uncompromising focus on community and integrity of service, while also building up volunteers and giving them the unique and personalized opportunities they need and desire to grow. I would highly recommend Manna Project to all that are interested in becoming a part of the life-changing mission, and experiencing life in Ecuador!

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have absolutely loved my time serving with Manna in Ecuador! Through my 7 months with Manna, I've been able to work on community projects and programs that are very needed and appreciated by the community and that have helped me grow as a leader and improve my Spanish. Our days here in Ecuador are so varied, between programs at the Centro to helping out community partner organizations in the Valley, that I've never been bored. My favorite programs have been our nutrition classes like Kids and Adult Cooking and Antorcha, a swim-therapy program for kids with special needs, because they challenge me to be creative and flexible and the people that we serve are so full of joy! Beyond the programs, one of my favorite things about working with Manna is the relationships I have made with the community members and with the other Program Directors at our site. The community has been very welcoming and is always willing to show us around the Valley and take us on day trips so that we can see as much of Ecuador as possible. I know that I have made some lifelong friends in the community here and among the other volunteers on site.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My position as a volunteer for Manna exceeded my expectations in every way. I originally applied to be a volunteer for Nicaragua, but was unable to do so because the political situation in Nicaragua made it unsafe. I didn't know what to expect from the change in my role, but I firmly believe that things turned out for the better. Ecuador is such a beautiful country and the community we serve is filled with incredibly warm-hearted individuals that you can feel good about serving. The type of volunteers that Manna attracts are driven, passionate leaders who you will benefit on a personal level from spending time with. The level of autonomy that Manna volunteers are given is incredible. Volunteers are regularly challenged and given numerous opportunities to gain valuable, hands-on professional experience. I applied to law schools during my time with Manna and admissions officers from several top 14 law schools were very impressed by my experience with Manna and noted in their acceptance letters that they would like to learn more about my time here. This role is not only a wonderful resume booster, but also a wonderful life changer. Living in Latin America teaches you to be fearless, flexible, and adaptive. Life in Ecuador is very different from the United States and there is something to be said about learning to live in a culture that is very different from your own. Something that I think is really special about Manna is there are many different length positions that they offer! You don't have to commit yourself to spending two years in a position within a country you know little about.

Some tips for those interested in joining Manna:
Be flexible and adaptive! Latin America is very different from the United State. You cannot expect things here to work the same as in the US. People here are much more laid-back and operate on very different schedules. It takes a little time to adjust but you just have to be patient! Additionally, if you are interested in becoming a member of the Manna team, you should know that good teamwork is absolutely necessary. Good communication skills and a commitment to helping out are essential!

Review from Guidestar

1 Victoria B.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I served as a Program Director with Manna Project International from August 2018 to December 2018 at their Ecuador site. As a Program Director, I had the opportunity to lead several community programs including Kid's and Adult English and an English class for aspiring English teachers. I also worked at Manna's local community center and with several community partners, including a shelter for teenage mothers, a program for adults with disabilities, and a local university. One thing that I really loved about my experience with Manna is that I could tailor my experience based on my interests. I am very interested in education so that was the focus of most of my programs. However, other program directors did more health and economic development-based programs. I also helped with organizational roles within the non-profit, including running their social media pages and writing grants. These roles are great resume builders! I think that being a program director is a great post-grad experience- you get to experience another culture (and not just as a tourist- Manna really inserts you into their local community), learn/practice your Spanish, and have many invaluable professional development experiences. Also, the Manna staff was very supportive during my experience as a Program Director. Sometimes it can be difficult living and working in a foreign country, but the support I received from Manna helped me navigate these challenges. I really think the large support network you receive separates Manna from other similar programs.

Review from Guidestar

Deborah D.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Manna is a fantastic organization that aims to have a positive impact on the communities it serves by letting those being served lead its activities.

Review from Guidestar

1 Dana H.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a former volunteer Program Director with Manna Project International and personally had an amazing experience with the organization. Volunteering with Manna is a great opportunity for recent college graduates to gain hands-on development experience and develop other job skills. Program Directors are in charge of planning and executing all of the organization's community development programs, which is a level of responsibility rarely given to recent college grads. While this means the position can be very challenging at times, it is an amazing opportunity to develop personally and professionally while also making a positive difference in communities in need.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Demonstrated impact on underserved international communities, as well as on expat volunteers and staff. Very committed and supportive team, with lots of great networking opportunities. Moderate size allows organization to be innovative, resourceful, and personal. Inspiring mission and programs that give personnel very meaningful work. Very ethical and transparent, so builds trust and enables personnel to learn many aspects of operations and programs. As a moderate size organization, limited career growth opportunities. Most of team enjoys working remotely, but not for everyone.

Review from Guidestar

3

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I first volunteered with Manna Project during my freshman year of college at Vanderbilt University. They were offering short-term service trips to Nicaragua, and I was lucky enough to join without knowing what I was getting into. From there I was hooked on international development. Seeing people just out of college working full-time in Latin American countries inspired me to get more involved in service back in the States, and eventually led me to Guatemala, where I now work full time for Manna. The organization gives its employees a significant amount of early responsibility, and has a good volunteer development program in place that pushes us to put the community’s wishes first in our work. Instead of strict protocol there’s flexible dialogue, and instead of consultants and oversight, there’s encouragement and freedom. On the ground we provide dedicated service to the communities where we work and push ourselves to create sustainable initiatives that utilize existing strengths, work through partner organizations, and highlight positive deviants to motive other residents.

Review from Guidestar