LONDON, 30 June 2017 – Adding one more country to its twelve-country portfolio, Opportunity EduFinance (OEF) is set to launch in Nicaragua, where teachers and school directors are performing “miracles” daily.
Operating in the Latin American country since March 2017, OEF has been collaborating with two microfinancial institutions (MFIs) – FDL and
Fundenuse – to launch products such as School Fee Loans and School Improvement Loans for schools and parents.
The loans will enable Nicaragua’s schools to build better infrastructure, expand teaching capacity, and upgrade education quality too. Parents will use the loans to smooth their income levels and pay for affordable schooling.
“I’m excited to see this country project move forward, consolidating our presence now on three continents,” said Nathan Byrd, who manages the OEF project.
“As in Africa and Asia, we expect to demonstrate how microloans offer an innovative and invaluable means of channelling funds to education and increasing access to education around the world,” he said.
Economic stability in Nicaragua has allowed the government to focus more on the long-term reduction of poverty, dropping it from 42.5 percent in 2009 to 29.6 percent in 2014.
But poverty remains high. With a population of 6.1 million people, Nicaragua remains one of the region’s least developed countries, where access to basic services can be a daily challenge.
“Nicaragua’s schools are working hard to keep pace with the ever-tightening education standards, at the same time they must also operate as businesses in a very competitive environment,” said Juan Vega, OEF’s Senior Advisor for Latin America.
“On a daily basis, they are performing miracles,” he said.
Besides working with the two MFIs to finalise details of the financial products to be offered, OEF will also offer to train school directors in financial management skills and education quality.
Final details of the loans include compliance with Nicaragua’s regulatory requirements, before they go on offer at the end of 2017.
The non-profit is also preparing for launch in Mexico.