La Isla Network is dedicated to ending the epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of undetermined causes (CKDu) through a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach.

We are improving working conditions, standardizing research protocols, supporting responsible transitions to modernized industrial practices, and providing data-driven policy recommendations to address the CKDu crisis.



We are generating, supporting, and executing evidence-driven solutions to end the fatal CKDu epidemic by understanding the scale and impact of the disease and its causes. In the process, we are improving working conditions and supporting the creation and enforcement of policies required to protect those affected.


We envision a world in which all workers at risk of CKDu are protected and what we have learned through our efforts is adapted to protect other groups facing public and occupational health crises.


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 CKDu 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 CKDu 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 CKDu 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 CKDu.

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.