American Studies ETDs

Publication Date



This analysis examines the women's organization Casa Materna- a national women's pre-natal health and reproductive education program in Nicaragua. While there are nearly twenty branches of Casa Materna throughout the country, this thesis concentrates on the pilot project in Ocotal - a municipality located in the northern department of Nueva Segovia. Founded in 1987, "El Centro Educativo para la Mujer Casa Materna" offers a variety of services such as medical, counseling, and habitation, to women who are considered high risk pregnancies from rural areas.

in December 2006 and January 2007, I conducted an evaluation of Casa Materna's organizational structure, outreach methods and daily activities to assess how Casa Materna-Ocotal impacts women's lives. My analysis includes many interviews as well as personal observations. During my research, five issues surfaced as prominent concerns regarding Casa Materna. These issues are finances, client sustenance, medical services, education, and the facility's environment. Additionally, there appear to be internal inconsistencies among the staff and clients regarding how these issues are perceived. While this lack of consistency may be the result of external circumstances, structural constraints, or other governing variables, Casa Materna exists with two conflicting stories - what Casa Materna claims to be doing versus what it is actually doing.

After discussing and examining the five issues according to these contradicting theories of action, I ask the following: How can Casa Materna address these theoretical inconsistencies through organizational recommendations? I then propose a variety of recommendations and suggestions founded in non-profit organizing and planning literature to assist Casa Materna with fulfilling their Integral Health Program objectives as well as improving their organizational structure.

By examining a current Nicaraguan women's organization such as Casa Materna, I assess how social mobilization and grassroots organizing manifests in an international and gendered context, contributing to academic discourse and hopefully improving the altruistic efforts of this specific organization.



Document Type


Degree Name

American Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

American Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Claudia Benoit Issac

Second Committee Member

Teresa Cordova

Third Committee Member

Susan Tiano

Fourth Committee Member

Ric Richardson