XtraOrdinary Women – Nicaragua
Location – Managua Nicaragua
The Project – In 2009, the founders of XtraOrdinary Women (XOW) met women living in La Chureca, Central America’s largest landfill and home to 2000 of Nicaragua’s poorest citizens. These women had few opportunities to move off the rubbish heap that had become their home, earning on average $US5 per day for a 14 hour shift. XOW decided to create a programme that would teach them the skills they needed to get a job and support them with their job search afterwards.
Since 2009 they have been empowering disadvantaged women in Nicaragua through financial independence. By offering job skills training, psychosocial support and job placement programs, XOW provide the women with the tools they need to break the circle of poverty and domestic violence in their lives and bring positive sustainable change.
XOW run two programmes aimed at women between the ages of 18 – 45, living on an average income of US$40 per month.
- XtraOrdinary Job Skills Training: Soft skills training for women looking to go into a job for the first time. This course focuses on communication, self-esteem, conflict resolution, CV building and interview practice
- XtraOrdinary Bootcamp: Aimed at base-of-the-pyramid entrepreneurs who are struggling to make ends meet. The bootcamp focuses on cost structure, sales and quality control.
The courses last 8 weeks and are offered cost-free to participants. They include a stipend to enable the women to attend and provide them with the training and course materials. Having completed the course, each participant is supported for 6 months with a personalized mentoring and evaluation programme which consists of weekly follow up calls and home visits from the XOW team.
Our support – In 2020 the LATA Foundation sponsored XOW’s first ‘Bootcamp for XtraOrdinary Entrepreneurs’ which enabled 30 low-income women entrepreneurs from Managua to participate in the course and gave them the practical training required to grow their businesses and make them sustainable. We also provided emergency funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing 25 families with cleaning kits and extra psycho-social and business support to help mitigate the economic impact of the crisis on their businesses and homes
In 2021 the Lata Foundation will support XtraOrdinary Women with two new initiatives in Masaya and Bilwi:
Artisan business support and development, Masaya, Nicaragua. This initiative will support a community of 20 female artisans in Masaya, who have suffered severe economic impact because of the COVID-19 pandemic, to rebuild their businesses and regenerate their livelihoods. Following an evaluation visit from the programme director, each beneficiary will receive a personalized 3 month business growth plan that includes budgeting for sustainability, drawing up a sales plan, setting targets, branding and selling via social media.
Adapting the Bootcamp curriculum to support indigenous artisans in the Northern Atlantic Region of Nicaragua. Having worked with the artisans in Masaya and evaluated the support plan specific to small artisan businesses, XOW will adapt the Bootcamp curriculum for a group of 15 female indigenous artisans living in the Caribbean port town of Bilwi, which was severely impacted by Hurricanes Eta and Iota in November 2020. The Bootcamp will teach them how to establish sustainable businesses and connect them and their products to new markets in Nicaragua.
How you can help? – £25 provides a woman with course material; £50 provides a family in disadvantage with a home visit by a psychologist; £100 sponsors a woman to participate in the 8-week job skills training course. Donate here.
Further information – XOW has set up an online talent platform which connects the artisans to local and international markets. XOW are hoping to develop its reach and promote their products to local markets in Managua, Granada, Leon and San Juan Del Sur, which are areas that receive more national and international tourism.