The first week, we worked with them to provide training on business plans, specifically details on Mission Statements, SWOT Analysis, and Marketing plans. I admired their lovely baskets in their show room, and commented about the Easter colors on some of them, and how an Easter basket would be nice. They were not familiar with Easter baskets. Since we had free wi-fi from the park next door, I showed them some Easter baskets on line. They said they would have the woman who could make baskets the quickest make an Easter basket. They asked a lot of questions about size, colors, etc. On my last day with them, they had the Easter basket! They gave me the Easter basket as a thank you gift. I tried to get them to keep it as a model, but they insisted that I take it. They had taken several photographs of the basket as well as of the whiteboards where we wrote plans for their coop. We provided training on business plans, specifically details on Mission Statements, SWOT Analysis, and Marketing plans. The women were very receptive and developed their Mission Statement which they now want to put on their products. They plan to review their by-laws and bring up changes at the next annual meeting. They also have plans to be more active in marketing their products domestically and with Fabretto Foundation and plan to introduce 3 new products per year. We had the women re-write their Mission Statement at the top of the write board. They we took it outside and made photos with all of the women holding their baskets.
The second week I worked with two other groups in Somoto, Nicaragua which are also sponsored by Fabretto Foundation. I met with a group of 7 tutors at Fabretto Foundation who work with beekeepers and tomato producers and other groups. Juli, who was a volunteer from Germany did a fantastic job. Noel had already translated most of my Power Point Slides into Spanish.We covered an overview of a business plan and worked on a SWOT analysis for beekeeping. The second day with 7 educators I had hoped to show some of the EMWOFA e-learning videos, but the internet didn’t work well enough at Fabretto to show them. So, I gave the educators the website. We worked on a Mission Statement for the beekeeping coop and covered marketing plans. I reviewed a business plan that the tutors had developed for their greenhouse producing greenhouse.
My last group was 5 students who grow greenhouse tomatoes with the help of the tutors. I worked with all of them to develop business plans. After the students had developed their own plan, I reviewed the business plan that the tutors had started for the tomato greenhouse, with them. We added the tutors ideas to the students’ plan. I think all three groups made progress and all feel proud of the Mission Statements that they developed. I feel that they will keep developing their coops and taking more control of their marketing.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to travel and work in such a beautiful country. I am sad to hear about the political developments since I left, and hope they are resolved quickly. I have made many friends in Nicaragua with kind and hardworking people, and I hope their country will continue to progress economically, and more tourists will discover its natural beauty and wonderful people. I was very impressed with the insights of Noel Diaz and Xenia Castillo. If they continue to receive support, they will guide these groups and others into coops that provide for many families in Nicaragua and will build a better future for the members, their families, and their communities.