The camping and hiking gear is assembled, and the food packs are almost ready as final preparations are underway for an epic hike along the final stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, made famous by the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
In a few short weeks, I’ll embark on this hiking journey along the final 700 kilometres of the famous trail, from Trout Lake, Washington, to the Canadian border. I’ll join Peter Thorpe, the founder of Walking People out of Poverty, and John Mach, Board Chair at Opportunity International Canada (OIC). We are hiking to raise support for our work of poverty alleviation in Nicaragua.
With a population of 7 million, Nicaragua remains one of the least developed in Central America. It is also the second poorest country in the Americas by nominal GDP. Over the past five years, the situation has worsened due to political unrest, a recession in 2018, back-to-back hurricanes in 2020, and the devastating impact of livelihoods lost due to the pandemic. Families living in poverty in Nicaragua now face rising food and energy costs, making basic necessities increasingly out of reach.
The situation would seem dire — unless something changes.
At Opportunity International Canada, we have witnessed the transformative power of financial literacy, microloans, and support for enterprising men and women.
When provided with these tools, individuals can build better lives filled with dignity and hope. Lives where they can take control of their own outcomes.
Our mission is to see Nicaraguans achieve lasting success on their journey out of poverty.
As is the case for each country where OIC engages in the fight against poverty, we work in Nicaragua with a local implementing partner who shares the same values and mission.
In Nicaragua, that partner is ASODENIC. Together, we are dedicated to helping people along their journey out of poverty by establishing sustainable livelihoods through financial resources, knowledge, ability, and thriving networks.
Nicaragua holds a special place in the heart of OIC. It was the first country to receive a loan from us in 1998, shortly after our founding, and only three years after ASODENIC was established. The founding Executive Director, Juan Ulloa, was a remarkable individual known as the Dean of Microfinance in Latin America.
I had the privilege of meeting Juan in August 2019 and working directly with him to chart a path for ASODENIC to increase its impact amidst the economic crisis. Sadly, we lost Juan to COVID-19 in June 2020.
I made a commitment to him to work with ASODENIC, which I have since renewed with the new Executive Director, Diana Montoya, one of the strong female leaders mentored by Juan.
This commitment is deeply personal and is why I am hiking 700 kilometres this coming August to help raise funds in the fight against poverty in Nicaragua.
Throughout the hike, I will be reflecting through this blog on different aspects of our work in Nicaragua and many of the clients I have met whose stories deeply inspire me.
I invite you to join us on this journey.
Let’s make a lasting impact and bring hope to those on their journey out of poverty in Nicaragua.
Dan Murray, CEO
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