The Graceland University Enactus team has a longstanding relationship with the global nonprofit Outreach International (OI). For the past several years, the Graceland Enactus team members have traveled to Nicaragua with OI to learn about their Participatory Human Development Paradigm. In January 2014 and 2015, the team worked closely with a group of local business owners to teach them financial literacy and general business ideas. The business owners were then empowered to begin to save small amounts of money at a time, focused on the ultimate goal of increasing their capital. Eventually, the Graceland Enactus team received a proposal for a revolving loan program, composed by the business owners, and they were granted $1,500 by Graceland Enactus.
One year later, the business group now calls itself "Unity and Strength," and has inspired another group of business owners to start on their own journey toward financial stability. Members of the initial business group have used the revolving loan fund to increase their capital and access to immediate funds. One member has been able to expand his shop and send his daughter to college, another has hired and trained new workers, and a third was able to afford physical therapy for his wife who, after a government surgery, was paralyzed, but is now walking.
Nicaragua is one of the defining projects that helps the Graceland Enactus team to see the sustainability and longevity of our project work.