Winds of Peace Foundation (WPF) Programs

Worker-owned Enterprises

Nicaragua is the Central American country with the largest number of cooperatives in the region with nearly half of all in the region. WPF began to work directly with cooperatives, focusing on grassroots producer cooperatives, by lending them money to collect the harvest. Many of these cooperatives were not subjects of credit from other institutions. Since 1997 WPF has lent more than $4.4 million dollars directly to grassroots cooperatives, with an average loan of just over $24,000 and a loan loss rate of 7%. (Continued)


Community Social Enterprises

While we continue to work to help cooperatives in their attempts to bring about needed changes, this experience has led us to study and explore other forms of community organizations which do involve local initiative and investment – community social enterprises. We are also studying traditional forms of community collaboration, like sharecropping and “mano vuelta” [shared labor]. (Continued)


Accompaniment

Since 2011 WPF has provided ongoing accompaniment to cooperatives and community organizations, whose purpose has been to support the ability of local populations to reflect on and resolve their own problems. But the power imbalance inherent with the presence of an international development organization is an enormous challenge to having an open and frank discussion of available options by the “beneficiaries”. (Continued)


Global/Local Network of community-based organizations

Our research on the ground in Nicaragua shows that alternative trade structures – fair trade, organics, cooperative organization – have largely been coopted to reinforce in practice the hacienda system (control and information in the hands of a few) and neoliberal market relations. As a result, our work has focused on helping local communities reflect on their experience and work together to promote truly participatory forms of organization, where key information, profits and leadership are shared. (continued)


Rural Credit

WPF approach to credit has evolved over time. Impressed with the microcredit movement, WPF initially invested in multinational microcredit organizations like Accion and Opportunity to get capital into the hands of the poor. But WPF moved quickly into supporting Nicaraguan microcredit organizations reaching the agricultural sector, where most poor Nicaraguans make their living. (continued)


Educational Fund

The purpose of the initiative is to create and fund a research, development and implementation initiative, under the auspices of Winds of Peace Foundation, which will contribute to the transformation of Nicaraguan education by increasing practical access to and quality of education, and utilizing development of Nicaraguan ideas, programs, educators and strategies toward those ends. Elements of this program may include scholarship funding, education research, collaboration with Nicaraguan entities engaged in education development, creation of seminars or workshops, teacher training or other related activities. (continued)