Update on the national crisis
- In mid-April, President Daniel Ortega upset the nation with unexpected tax and social security reforms. Nicaraguans took to the streets in protest.
- In early May, protests turned into violent encounters between protesters and military officials.
- By June, the economy stalled. Businesses and banks closed. Many of Opportunity's services were temporarily restricted.
- After more than 300 deaths, the conflict continues. Little headway has been made in peace talks mediated by the Catholic Church and the situation remains uncertain.
Despite these setbacks, Opportunity Nicaragua continues to operate its school, yucca processing plant, and training services for farmers and small businesses. Thanks to your support, our well-developed and resilient programs continue to empower families and communities, even in a time of instability.
Students are back in the classroom
After closing for several months due to safety concerns, the Emprendedora Technical School is now open again. Throughout the conflict, 94% of the student body has remained enrolled in school, largely due to the creative problem-solving and hard work of Emprendedora teachers and staff. Working closely with parents even when the school grounds were closed, staff moved lessons online and created internet hotspots so children could continue to learn from the safety of their homes. Teachers also regularly followed up by visiting families to check on student progress and household safety. Now that students are back in class, produce and egg sales from the school's agribusinesses are helping the school to reach 41% sustainability, despite lack of sales to Pacaya Lodge & Spa, which remains closed. Students continue to learn and remain on track to graduate as they attend Emprendedora with consistency once again.
A robust planting season for yucca farmers
This summer, 310 farmers still planted 727 manzanas (equivalent to more than 1,200 acres) of yucca throughout the Pacific South and Nueva Guinea. Despite the increased difficulty in accessing seeds and fertilizer and financing for their yucca, our clients committed and followed through, even utilizing new farming techniques and planting multiple seed varieties. Between these techniques and adequate rainfall, the yucca crop looks promising for a good harvest this year.
Processing plant is certified and ready to go
Opportunity Nicaragua staff expertly braved roadblocks and barriers to ensure the processing plant could undergo food-grade recertification. In Nicaragua, the Safe Quality Foods certification requirements were updated, prompting the plant to undergo certification again. The staff worked tirelessly to ensure the plant was prepared for the new requirements and that auditors could travel safely to the plan amid roadblocks and ongoing conflict. The plant scored 97% - an extremely high score that proves its quality to our buyers and will allow the yucca products to be sold in more markets for a higher value. We rejoice in this good news and in the hard work of our processing plant staff that made this a reality. The plant already has the inventory to fill orders for clients in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Thank you for your continued support of Opportunity's programs and clients in Nicaragua as they continue to navigate their uncertain circumstances. Your continued support is bringing positive transformation, hope, and assurance.