Women’s Basket Weaving Cooperative

In the mountains of northern Nicaragua, communities suffer from a lack of job opportunities and economic growth due to a scarcity of electricity and other infrastructure. One thing that is plentiful in this wooded region, however, is pine needles. Seven women in the area learned the skill of basket weaving from a local volunteer and later formed a cooperative to sell their products. Opportunity began working with the women’s cooperative in 2010 to help them achieve three goals: 1. develop new markets; 2. increase sales; and 3. increase membership in the cooperative. Opportunity’s partnership with the cooperative has achieved all three goals. Today, the cooperative’s products are sold in over 20 stores in the USA, which resulted in revenue growth of 80% along with expanded membership to 45 women this year. In addition, the cooperative has created 15 local jobs for sub-contractors to gather the raw materials for their basket weaving. “We used to gather, clean and bundle the needles ourselves, but now we are so busy we hire others to do that work.” Kenia shared. When asked what their future holds, one member responded, “Our dream is to save money and purchase a used truck so that we can distribute our products and take on new buyers!”