Building upon our 40-year track record of success in microfinance, Opportunity International has developed a program to tailor the next generation of microfinance interventions to address holistic development and take our transformational work to the next level. In Nicaragua, our work is referred to as “Community Economic Development.” The program provides both individual and community-level investments to address sustainable solutions for microentrepreneurs, their families and communities.
Opportunity builds upon the local assets in a community and develops strategies to grow the local economy through the development of small and medium enterprises so that over time, healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities can be achieved and people are equipped to break the cycle of chronic poverty. Once trust is established with the microentrepreneurs through successful economic initiatives, social and spiritual initiatives can be jointly undertaken to bring integrated and holistic change to the community.
Opportunity’s work in Nicaragua targets rural communities where poverty is greatest. Opportunity empowers the poor to use their own talents, skills and abilities to develop long–term, innovative solutions to alleviate poverty. We begin by assessing clients’ talent and capabilities and match these assets with careful analysis of economic opportunities in the region. The resulting assessment allows us to focus our investments on the most promising industries for the poor to exit poverty, which in Nicaragua are tourism and agriculture.
Our work is organized into four investment areas. The first two are our Agriculture and Artisan Support Programs which create immediate economic impact with the poor. The other two investment areas—Community Leadership/Infrastructure and Technical High School programs—are investments in long-term, sustainable transformation at a community level.