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Chicago, IL 60607

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© 2020 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit. EIN: 540907624.

Nicaragua Emergency Update

By Dave Wiegman

In the midst of ongoing national turmoil in Nicaragua, our staff and clients have demonstrated remarkable resilience.

The crisis, which began in mid-April, has caused dramatic economic, political, and social upheaval for people throughout the country. The roadblocks that prevented people from moving throughout the country have been removed, but it is still unsafe to be out after 7:00 p.m. Economic activity has slowed dramatically, and tourism—a major driver for many industries—has all but dried up.

But while the national population struggles for peace and stability, our staff is more cohesive than ever. They are dedicated to our work and are doing all they can to serve our clients during this uncertain time.

We are grateful that our team remains safe in spite of the continued violence, and we are pleased to report a number of positive updates from the field.

The students at the Emprendedora School are back in class!

Previously, roadblocks and the risks of travel made it difficult for children to travel to and from the school. Our staff responded to these risks by implementing an online learning platform using local hotspots, allowing students to continue studying from home. In addition, teachers traveled to students’ homes weekly to check in on their learning, and this led to the unexpected benefit of improved relationships between teachers and families.

After several months of remote education, 94% of our students are back at school. They have also re-launched their school farm—and they just made an agreement with the largest breakfast restaurant in Granada to purchase eggs from the school.

Farmers have been continuing to plant in spite of the crisis.

Our yucca farmers are filling orders in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and are looking to expand into new markets. With their new food-grade certification, they are hopeful that they will be able to export their yucca flour and products beyond Latin America. And as a result of the crisis, the team has begun market research for new products and crop diversification with the intent of better protecting the farmers and the soil in the future.

Our loan lending through ASODENIC is at 25% of their pre-crisis amount—but this is six times more than it was two months ago.

The ASODENIC team is being particularly careful with their lending to ensure that clients are not using loan funds to flee the country. It is a testament to their staff and the relationships they have built that their loan repayments remain remarkably high.

The team reports how grateful they are for the relief funds that we have mobilized, and they are working tirelessly to maintain relationships and continue their work.

On behalf of all of our staff and clients in Nicaragua, thank you for your prayers and support. We are committed to standing alongside our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters as they continue to weather this tumultuous time, and we are grateful for your partnership. 

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