WATER: Powering Rural Development


Mathias Craig, the co-founder of blueEnergy, describes the nonprofit’s efforts to bring electricity and clean water to remote communities on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast.

Bluefields is the capital of the poorest department in the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere: Nicaragua. Located on the country’s Caribbean coast, Bluefields is both geographically remote and economically marginalized. A lack of roads limits entry to those traveling by air or by sea and residents lack access to many basic services. As a child, Mathias Craig, the executive director and co-founder of blueEnergy, accompanied his mother, an expert linguist, on research trips to the region’s indigenous communities. Dedicated to helping improve the poverty-induced conditions he experienced there, Craig kept returning to the same question: “How do you put together a suite of solutions that can help change lives?” blueEnergy is the solution he came up with while still a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The nonprofit’s mission — “to work for a more equitable, sustainable world” — reflects both Craig’s early preoccupation with social justice and the organization’s ambitious approach to development.

Jess Joan Goddard
Publication date: 
January 15, 2013
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article