EEP’s workshop began in the La Chureca community. Set on the outskirts of Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, this is Central America’s largest rubbish dump. This community is made up of some 2000 residents who make a living from the rubbish thrown out by the capital cities’ inhabitants. La Chureca residents collect rubbish and re-sell it to make a living.
Whilst generating an income this way, the La Chureca community is not using this raw material to gain the full potential value it held. The EEP NGO – trading arm model was developed to maximise this value; one that countless communities in Nicaragua and internationally could benefit from.
Our trading arm CHURECA CHIC started as the art programme of EEP. The idea from the beginning was for our charity to be able to generate its own source of income. We sold the original products, stationary products, under the NGO to fundraise. Between 2010 and 2013 we experimented with different products and sale strategies and we realised we needed to set the products up under a separate label to gain more clients. In 2013 we launched the fashion label CHURECA CHIC. Whilst we still produced under the art programme the marketing was done separately and the label took off. At the end of 2015 our artisan programme CHURECA CHIC registered as a not-for-profit business and acts as the trading arm and an income-generating project for EEP, raising funds for our scholarship programme. In January 2016 CHURECA CHIC could start offering full time employment for graduates from the EEP training programme as artisans.
The fact that we ourselves across our NGO and our trading arms are employing EEP graduates to develop the team, community impact and make the model grow is proof that our model works. We truly are setting an example in Nicaragua and beyond as to how a social enterprise and NGO can work with the private sector to create lasting, effective change that facilitates community development.
Social issues surrounding education, particularly for girls, often means that they do not finish school. This ultimately prevents many women from securing formal employment. As a result, they join the informal labour force, have unstable incomes and do not have access to basic protections and services.
Women invest 90 cents of every dollar they make back into the health, nutrition and education of their families. Investing in women is creating a future of opportunity for their children and supports overall community development.
Female education has been linked to higher wages; reduced mortality rates; and better communitywide health and education.
HOW OUR PROGRAM WORKS
EEP offers a financial scholarship which gives women in disadvantages communities the opportunity to be educated, employed and empowered. The scholarship provides them with a steady source of income with which they can support their families whilst they are part of our programme. We know that through access to income and skills development women can break poverty cycles – not only for themselves but for their families, communities and countries too.
OUR PROGRAMME WORKS WITH THE COMMUNITY’S SKILL SET AND PRIVATE SECTOR NEEDS TO CREATE A SKILLED, EMPLOYABLE WORKFORCE
If you want to learn more about the reality of education here in Nicaragua we suggest you take a look at the incredible recent documentary made by IEEPP, CEPS, and CaLé productions film; a production that received backing and financial support from the European Union. View