Investing in Our Community
Pacaya Lodge & Spa was developed in partnership with Opportunity International Nicaragua as a vehicle to transform underdeveloped communities in Nicaragua and invest in sustainable solutions for microentrepreneurs, their families, and their communities.
Opportunity leverages a unique model of community development that builds upon the local assets in a community and develops strategies to grow the local economy through the development of small and medium enterprises. With our investment, over time, healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities can be achieved and people are equipped to break the cycle of chronic poverty.
A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out
We work with local leaders who bring projects that are requested by their communities to Opportunity. By supporting and funding community-led initiatives, the poor become both the producers of results and the beneficiaries of the community improvement project. We believe this approach is the key to local ownership and long-term sustainability.
Our 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.
Who We Serve
Our programs support four core constituencies: young people, farmers, community leaders, and artisans. Our investments in these groups is helping develop the foundations for strong communities and breaking cycles of generational poverty.
- Young people: We believe in investing in future generations. In Nicaragua, where less than 10% of rural youth finish high school, we have invested in a rural technical high school model helps students develop skills in tourism and agriculture. The technical high school model is unique in that it provides students with both a traditional high school diploma as well as a technical vocational certificate in either sustainable agriculture or tourism. By promoting sustainable development and encouraging youth entrepreneurship in these two promising industries, lasting transformation in rural Nicaragua is possible.
- Farmers: Agriculture initiatives focus on providing financing, training and technology for farmers to engage in sustainable agricultural practices. Secondly, we assist in adding economic value to farm products through our agricultural processing plant, reducing the risk of poor farmers’ dependence on just one crop. By diversifying the products processed through the plant, farmers are increasing their incomes and accessing new market opportunities. Currently we are processing yucca grown by our farmer clients to produce starch, flour, and waxed yucca. From the field to the market we are with our farmers every step of the way.
- Community Leaders: Opportunity works with groups of micro- entrepreneurs, cooperatives and community groups to build their capacity to identify issues, create plans for action, mobilize community members and make successful change to improve their communities. By supporting and funding community-led initiatives, the poor become both the producers of results and the beneficiaries of the community improvement project. We believe this approach is the key to local ownership and long-term sustainability.
- Artisans: Many Nicaraguans are gifted in traditional skills such as painting, textiles, wood and ceramics. Opportunity created NicaWorks, a best practice group that serves as an organizing vehicle to bring microentrepreneurs together to share best practices, learn new production and quality control techniques and to share lessons learned. Artisans in Nicaragua have developed generational expertise for hand-crafted products. However, microentrepreneurs often lack knowledge on how to develop a business plan or improve products for export. In response to these needs, Opportunity has been working with artisans to identify ways they can access knowledge, design assistance, financing, training and new markets.
How Your Stay Supports Nicaraguans
When you stay at Pacaya Lodge & Spa, you are helping to support underdeveloped communities across Nicaragua. We created Pacaya Lodge & Spa as an investing in education and employment , as a way of sharing the dignity of helping people help themselves—a hand up, not a hand out.
Pacaya Lodge & Spa is contributing to this in the following ways:
- We are supporting a portion of the operating costs of a technical high school for rural youth located just down the road from the Lodge
- We are providing hands-on training opportunities for our high school students through internships in each of the Lodge’s operating departments, including front of house, food and beverage, maintenance, finance and management.
- We engage services such as laundry and purchase produce from businesses operated by Opportunity International and our technical high school
- We source all of our art, furniture, fixtures and décor from local artisans, many of whom live and work in the communities immediately adjascent to the Lodge
- As a part of Opportunity International Nicaragua, a portion of all of our revenue goes directly to offsetting the operational costs of the organization.
We are always looking for passionate volunteers to support our programs in Nicaragua. For current volunteer needs, click here.
Your investment of $25 provides training in agriculture quality control and production to increase net income by 20-25%. To learn more about how you can invest in our programs, click here.
For more information about our programs or how you can get involved, contact Opporuntity International Nicaragua