The coffees we source from northern Nicaragua are grown in one of the most impoverished communities in Central America. At Falcon we recognise our responsibility to address this, which goes beyond always paying sustainable prices for our coffees. We have established a project with direct investment in the local community and are working with the Fabretto Foundation to fund investment in education and school kitchens in the Nueva Segovia region.
The Fabretto Foundation is a non-profit organisation that aims to address issues of poverty and malnutrition throughout Nicaragua. Raphael Maria Fabretto travelled to Nicaragua in 1948 and set up a network of children’s homes in 1953, having been shocked by the widespread poverty, abuse and neglect of children. Since then, the Fabretto Foundation has worked to address these issues through investment in education at early, primary and secondary school level. Their holistic approach aims to provide a better educational structure throughout Nicaragua, with well trained teachers to inform young children and parents of the importance of nutrition and provide vocational development.
A study found that children entering primary school at the age of 6 from the poorest quartile in Nicaragua had the vocabulary level of a 3 and a half year old from the wealthiest quartile. There is an overall lack of qualified teachers, due to low salary offerings, and consequently schools are forced to hire teachers with little or no training. Fundamental infrastructure gaps within the educational system are underpinned by a general disinterest in education in the poorer communities. Many parents are themselves illiterate, having not been educated, and therefore do not see a need for their children to attend school. In the Nueva Segovia province, where our Nicaraguan coffee grows, malnutrition is endemic, with 27.7% of children suffering from chronic malnutrition, considerably greater than the national average of 17.3%. Malnutrition in children can stunt growth, bone and brain development, and has a disastrous effect on long-term development.
The project aims to address these issues through the construction of school kitchens, hosting parent-teacher workshops to encourage better nutrition and raise awareness of the importance of education, and provide teacher training to improve education standards throughout the area. Funds from Falcon will provide resources to build 10 school kitchens in order to provide children with 50% of their daily calorific needs. Education and nutrition workshops will be provided for 250 parents and teachers across the Mozonte municipality. Primary and pre-school teachers will receive 160 hours of training over the project period, and will be provided with Montessori learning materials, in order to implement the new learning approach. So far a number of parent/teacher workshops have taken place, with 24 teachers participating in the initial training programme and construction of the 10 school kitchens is underway.
Falcon invested $33,400 in this project in 2015, and in 2016 have made a further charitable contribution of $17,500. We look forward to sharing the progress with you as it unfolds. If you are roasting any of our specialty coffees from Nicaragua – washed or micro-lots – then this becomes part of your story and we encourage you to share it with your customers. Together we can make a difference.