La Isla Network evolved from La Isla Foundation in 2016. The organization’s name comes from a community in Nicaragua where so many men have died of CKDnT that locals call it ‘La Isla de Viudas,’ or The Island of Widows.
For eight years, a team of La Isla Foundation specialists in public health and human rights have worked in Nicaragua to generate knowledge about the causes of CKDnT and develop strategies to confront it locally. These strategies include disease prevalence studies and labor rights assessments, clean water well installations, and alternative skills training programs. Simultaneously, the Foundation brought the world’s attention to the CKDnT crisis, facilitating reports by major media outlets including The New York Times, The Guardian (UK), Al Jazeera, and National Geographic.
In 2014, La Isla Foundation assembled a multi-stakeholder team under the banner of the Worker Health and Efficiency (WE) Program. WE is a collaborative initiative that brings together the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), leading occupational health experts, policy-makers, universities and sugar producers to find and execute solutions to the problem of CKDnT.
After publishing the first results of the WE Program in 2015, La Isla Foundation split into two organizations: (1) Fundación Comunitaria Isla, the local Nicaraguan NGO that independently remains focused on local community development; and (2) La Isla Network, the international civil society organization focused on achieving macro-level change across continents.