Community committments


How we put back in what we take out

20 years of committment to the local area

Balgue Community watching a local match in the town

Chris Shanks, owner and proprietor of Selvista has contributed to the local community for the last 20 years. Selvista currently employs 13 local staff members and guarantees them a minimum number of hours each month to ensure that they have a sustainable income. We have continued to do so all throughout the current economical and political crisis.

Local Selvista staff using their permaculture skills in the nursery


We are committed by bettering opportunities, skills and access to information to those in the local community:

Project Bona Fide research and education center working alongside Sevista Guesthouses to promote food security and education

Each year the permaculture design course run by Chris Shanks and Mitch Haddad offers free sponsored placements for a globally-recognised certified course.

We are part of a larger farm (Project Bona Fide) that promotes food security and sustainable living systems on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua through permaculture design, agroforestry, research & education, and community collaboration.

They educate and expose people locally and worldwide to the possibilities of multi-strata food production through demonstrative agriculture on our 26-acre model farm.

They aim to provide people with the necessary knowledge and skills to empower them to produce their own food in a more sustainable manner and live more intentionally in their own environments.

Selvista English Classes

Selvista staff and service providers english classes

In Selvista we offer free English classes twice weekly to all staff and local service providers (masseuses, tour guides etc). People can come along and improve their confidence and communications skills, and have the chance to interact with foreign visitors.

We are certified and experienced in teaching English as a Second Language and think that this skill is invaluable in opening a world of opportunity to the Nicaraguan workforce - especially in the tourism sector!

School Tours

We love to welcome school groups and use the farm as our living, breathing classroom. We worked in collaboration with a Peace Corps volunteer, Kari Sandage, in encouraging the interest in gardening and ‘alternative’ cultivation methods  in young students from a local school, in the community of Balgue.


Project Mano Amiga

We support Mano Amiga Project in providing educational materials to their library. Mano Amiga is a community outreach programme, that is locally run.

It has several aspects: a library open to public use from 8-11am/2-5pm Mon-Fri. This requires a paid member of staff to operate.


It has a nutritional programme, that feeds children Monday to Saturday in the mornings. Most participants are between 1 - 8 years old. They focus on healthy eating of local food and educating about nutrition.

Here’s where you come in! The local public library is looking for donations of (preferably bi-lingual) books and equipment.

See our wish list via Pack for a Purpose for specific requests, but any stationary, books and or educational materials for studying and/or childrens art are welcome.

We prefer bilingual or educational books but all are gratefully received, whether new or used.

See their mission statement in Spanish here.

Pack for a Purpose

Putting money back in the community

We use local contractors, buy local materials wherever possible and employ a local work-force who have opportunities to grow within the workplace. We have strong ties and connections to local service providers and suppliers on the island. We organise regular work for local transport providers and vehicle renters, Clandestino Tours in Balgüe. We buy our eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables from local farms and pulperias.

Health Care

IMG_0149-min.jpgBalgue Labratory clinic, sponsored by Selvista

Selvista has been supporting the local health clinic laboratory since April 2018, covering the salary of the lab technician. This allows the people in the local area to access simple testing procedures such as blood and urine samples in the town of Balgue.

Without this on-going service the local residents would have to travel 15 kilometers to the public hospital in Altagracia for these services. For people relying on public transport that can mean a whole day away from work or school.

Health care is free in Nicaragua at the point of service, but the system is underfunded. Commonly used items are always in short supply. It is more important than ever that these systems have clean, functioning equipment due to the nature of the institution: public health.

Donated items always gratefully received and forwarded. You can see the list by following the link below.

Pack for a Purpose


Selvista has provided man-power (labor), cash funds and equipment to the local water committee to ensure quality and consistent service of fresh water to the areas of Pullman, Balgüe, Madroñal and Santa Cruz.

Access roads

Selvista has dedicated resources and labor to assist with works on local roads and access paths within Balgue.  Our team work alongside those from Finca Magdalena to ensure that vehicles and travellers can pass safely and easily to the local tourist destinations popular in the area.

Balgue FC celebrating their goal in the rain in their Selvista sponsored shirts


Selvista has sponsored local and national teams, including the Ultimate Frisbee team and the local football club. Balgüe FC did not have a kit or balls to enter the Island League.

Selvista happily provided a new kit for the team to practice and join, getting people off the streets (and drink) and onto the field.

Any sports equipment gratefully received to be given to the local leagues. Baseball and football are the two most popular sports. Kids often play with homemade balls.

See our suggestions for what to bring via the Pack for a Purpose link below.

Pack for a Purpose

Please speak to us if you’d like assistance in redistributing any cash donations. $100 per month covers the staff at the community library. Donations to sponsor students can be organised via Talica - the teaching and language learning initiative for central america. $150 per month covers the salary of the lab technician. Inanitah accepts donations for their regenerative food security programme.


We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for the projects we support in need, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families.


to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects for the library project at Mano Amiga.

Pack for a Purpose