Arbor Assets is proud to work with and support the following partners:
NICARAGUA – COACOV
The Savings and Credit Cooperative of Orfilia Vasquez (COACOV) was our first partner in Nicaragua. Operating as a rural women’s co-op in the northern part of the country since 1997, they administer one of our micro-lending funds and loan out to their members In addition to microlending, they work with their members in developing many critical capacities, including: financial principles, market opportunities, home skills, greater environmental consciousness, and a greater awareness of women’s health, gender, and family concerns.
Beyond training, COACOV meets many of the technical, business, and land stewardship needs of their members, including: planting and preparing seedlings for use in food gardens and reforestation projects, assistance in bringing produce to market, installing ovens that use less wood from the surrounding countryside; and the propagation of important farming and land management practices. In administering microloans, they use solidarity groups.
The Federation of Rural Associations for Integrated Development (Fedicamp) is another important Nicaraguan partner. Fedicamp consists of eleven regional associations in northern Nicaragua where they operate one of our micro-lending funds on behalf of their members. In addition to administering the micro-loans, field technicians from Fedicamp assist and train their members in various capacities. Fedicamp places a unique emphasis on sustainable water solutions, including: rain harvesting systems, community water-filter construction, wells, and cisterns.
HONDURAS – ARSAGRO
The Regional Association of Agricultural Services of Eastern Honduras (ARSAGRO) is our first partner in Honduras. ARSAGRO formed as a bean producer cooperative in 1993, and has grown in size to represent and assist over 1,600 small producer families. These members generally farm parcels of land 1-3 acres in size for subsistence, and then sell their surplus back to the co-op after harvest. Their biggest purchaser is the United Nations World Food Program. They also sell their beans, including heirloom varieties, in numerous markets both domestically and abroad.
In administering their micro-loans, ARSAGRO practices a group-lending methodology as well as making individual loans available on a collateralized basis. ARSAGRO works with their producer associates year-round in a great many capacities, including: various training, machinery and technical assistance, as well as a variety of health and social programs.
When measured by the Human Development Index (a statistic which combines data on life expectancy, literacy, education, and standard of living), Nicaragua and Honduras stand out as difficult places to live. They have both experienced decades of turmoil, an internecine war, and sustained government corruption which has been exacerbated by massive drug trafficking. Altogether this has pushed hundreds of thousands of migrants out of the region. Recent droughts and weather events have further aggravated the situation.
In addition to these economic and political problems, significant ecological and environmental challenges exist as well, as evidenced through the Environmental Performance Index (another composite measure focused on environmental health and ecosystem vitality). Climate change is hitting the region hard, bringing sustained droughts. Citizens of Honduras and Nicaragua operate under the cruel paradox of being among those least responsible but most affected by the global climate crisis, which altogether becomes another significant cause for regional migration.
At Arbor Assets, it is our plan to continue working with poor, rural communities in Honduras and Nicaragua in their efforts to achieve sustainable water and food provision while increasing economic opportunities. We welcome any support or collaborations.
We encourage any communications and are open to many types of collaboration. Please contact us if you have any questions or ideas.