Where We Work Nicaragua
Despite its progress over the last few decades, Nicaragua remains one of Latin America’s least developed countries. Additionally, the political unrest that broke out across the country in 2018, some of which continues today, has drastically slowed down the country’s progress and has severely affected job prospects for families living in poverty. For Nicaraguan families, community-based economic development initiatives are working to leverage each community’s assets to improve livelihoods. Yucca, for example, is a crop commonly grown by rural famers—but it often earns low prices. For yucca farmers, the ability to sell their crops in higher-value markets, combined with the ability to give their children a quality education, gives them the option to build better and more resilient livelihoods.
Nicaragua by the Numbers
- 6.55M total population
- 41% of Nicaraguans live in rural areas, and 31% of the labor force is employed in agriculture
- 24.9% of Nicaraguans live below the national poverty line
- 28% of adults have an account at a financial institution
- 71% of children complete primary school
Opportunity in Nicaragua
Opportunity’s innovative Community Economic Development initiatives in Nicaragua address the needs of farmers, youth, and families. This integrated approach connects farmers to markets, encourages students to complete their educations, and empowers neighbors to become community change agents.
Opportunity’s Community Economic Development initiatives include:
- Helping farmers earn a fair income for their crops through the yucca processing plant.
Opportunity Nicaragua equips rural yucca farmers to improve their yields and incomes by training them in good agricultural practices and linking them to Opportunity’s food-grade certified processing facility, which turns raw yucca into yucca flour or starch to sell to higher-value markets.
- Ensuring children get a good education at the Emprendedora Technical School.
Opportunity Nicaragua started Emprendedora Technical School in 2012 to provide relevant education to rural youth, training students in hospitality, agriculture, and English, to help them develop marketable skills for their future.
- Deploying financial resources and loans to fund community projects.
Opportunity also supports community development projects in Nicaragua, such as equipping communities to install wells, build churches, repair roofs, and host livelihood trainings in health and wellness.
Jacqueline was in the first class of students to graduate from the Emprendedora Technical School in 2016. After diligently studying at Emprendedora for five years, Jacqueline graduated with honors and a 96% grade average, and she became the first person in her family to earn a high school degree. Guillermo, Jacqueline’s father and a day laborer, was especially proud of her.
Over the years, Guillermo worked hard to ensure that Jacqueline could keep going to school. In fact, when she was just a 13-year-old walking an hour to and from Emprendedora every day, Guillermo focused on acquiring a handlebar; then a gear; then a tire—until one day he could build Jacqueline her very own bike so she could ride to school safely each day.
Now armed with a high school diploma and a technical degree in hospitality, Jacqueline is excited for her future. In fact, she’s already manifesting the meaning of emprendedora (“entrepreneur”) by selling some of her artwork to other students and her neighbors.