J. Antonio Baltodano,
President, Seeds for Progress Foundation
2020 Annual Report
J. Antonio Baltodano,
Although 2020 was a year of great adversity, like coffee plants, we learned to grow, adapt, and bear fruit. With help from teachers, parents, and amazing friends like you, we kept our promise of bringing quality education to children and young people in the coffee regions of Nicaragua and Guatemala. Through our deeply rooted sense of community, we remained connected to the people and places at the heart of our mission, and today we rise even stronger.
The relationship between education and progress is so inextricable and longstanding that the medieval philosopher, Maimonides, is famously credited with saying:
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how
to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
With the central mission of providing high-quality education, Seeds for Progress incorporates a variety of initiatives aimed at developing skills and competencies throughout the different stages of the educational system – from preschool to technical education. There are 3 pillars that support all Seeds for Progress’ programs: technology, infrastructure, and the professional development of teachers.
To increase the quality of education and health services in rural communities of the coffee-growing regions of Nicaragua, Guatemala, and other coffee-producing countries.
A world where the people living in coffee regions can recognize their own potential to become self-sufficient, contributing not only to the development of their own communities, but to society overall.
- Self determination
Seeds for Progress Foundation works in rural coffee-growing areas where there is limited access to education. Listed below are some statistics about the communities we work with:
of families work in coffee harvesting-related activities.
of them cultivate less than 12 hectares of coffee, with an average monthly income lower than the food basket value.
of the families travel with their children from one community to another during the coffee harvest season to work on other coffee estates.
In general, these communities are made up of dispersed farmhouses, which means getting to school is quite a journey—children typically cross rivers and roads that are hard to access.
Due to the poverty level and travel risks, education is not a priority for many families. Most parents will skip sending their children to preschool and instead wait until they are old enough to attend first grade.
The Seeds for Progress Foundation improves access to high quality education, a basic human right that contributes to social development and sustainable economic growth.
We promote the creation of opportunities to advance the quality of life for students, teachers and their families in the rural coffee communities of Nicaragua and Guatemala.
5,423 in Nicaragua
383 in Guatemala
teachers directly supported
Since 2019, Seeds for Progress has helped us rebuild our education program and infrastructure. We’ve seen a huge upgrade with their help that now includes a Montessori classroom, multigrade classroom, new teacher training and technology, and new educational and didactic material for both teachers and students.
We have seen a great change in two years, and we are extremely grateful to be able to share this responsibility—together, we can give children, adolescents, and adults a pleasant learning environment right in their own communities.
Buena Vista de Ventilla School.
Buena Vista de Ventilla School has the support of several organizations including the Embassy of Japan. Watch the video to learn more!
A Day in the Life of a Student
Amner Rafael, Buena Vista de Ventilla School.
6th grade Student.
Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 brought a host of new challenges for Seeds of Progress. Armed with resilience and caution, we have been able to find novel ways to continue caring for our communities, including providing provisions of Personal Protective Equipment for 68 health centers in coffee communities as well as supporting 4,000 families.
Thanks to technology, in-person interactions, were replaced with virtual learning tools—teachers were equipped with laptops and mobile connectivity so that they could carry out their lessons and continue teaching.
A Seed for
Like sowing a seed, education can truly transform the future of children and young people in coffee communities.
aim to empower future generations to maximize their full potential and contribute to the development of their own communities.
Seeds to Grow
Seeds to Grow is a program that focuses on early childhood development for preschoolers through the Montessori methodology adapted to the rural context, including the development of emotional, physical, social, and cognitive skills.
The environment that children learn in is essential to human development, which is why this program is full of significant experiences, multisensory stimuli, adequate physicality, and above all, especially trained teachers committed to the care of young children.
The main goals include creating an awareness of the importance of early childhood education within the communities and better prepare children on reading, writing and overall academic achievement. We began implementing this program in 2018 and currently have the program in 5 schools during its pilot phase.
Seeds to Grow
Target group: Preschool (3 to 5 years old)
students in 5 schools participating in program
The training I have received has helped me improve as a person and as a professional. I have learned that each child has their own personality, that they can construct their own learning and that they see the same things as an adult—just from another perspective.
Meyling Iveth VásquezSan Martin School Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua.
Seeds to Learn
is a program that uses strategies from Information and Communication Technologies to for children in the first three grades of primary education. These pedagogical tools lay the foundation for learning, as well as help develop other skills necessary for educational success.
The main components of the Seeds to Learn Program include:
Seeds to Learn
Target group: 1st grade to 3rd grade (6 to 8 years old)
rural schools supported
Seeds to Learn
This graph represents two groups of children being evaluated from first to third grade in two different cycles, one from 2017 to 2019 and another one from 2018 to 2020.
Over the last years we have seen constant improvement in students reading skills from first to third grade, however, it is notorious that for the 2018-2020 cycle, there was a drop in the number of students reaching the standard level of reading fluency as a result of the limited school attendance due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the interruption of the regular school structure.
Seeds to Learn
The second graph shows the number of words read in a minute by the same groups of students compared to the standard level. Here we can see that in average students were improving and getting closer to the standard, however there was a significand decrement in for the year 2020, corresponding to the low percentage of students reaching the standard.
Even though there was a decrease in the results for the year 2020, Seeds to Learn provided fundamental tools for teachers and students that experienced an unconventional year. For 2021, Seeds for Progress is working with the Ministry of Education to strengthen the reading and writing skills of children to improve these results and increase the number of students reaching the standard level of reading fluency, which is fundamental for the academic performance of students.
The year 2020 was one of changes and challenges, but thanks to the technology training we received in 2019, teachers were able to continue bringing education to children. Today, I am amazed at the progress we have achieved and to also see our children learning with new technology.
Bryan Lucas GuillénVioleta Barrios School Nueva Guinea, Nicaragua.
Seeds to Lead
The program focuses on developing personal, family, social, and work-related skills that are demanded in the 21st century. Partnering with organizations linked to the coffee industry of rural communities, children in the fourth to eleventh grade are taught basic educational principles with the to prepare them for life.
In 2020, Seeds for Progress Foundation started this program in five pilot schools in the northern coffee region of Nicaragua, including the curricular creation of the first edition of the “Coffee Module” for students from 4th grade to 11th grade. In 2021, six more schools will join the program as we evaluate the curriculum in the classrooms with students, teachers and parents.
the promotion of entrepreneurship initiatives and the development of a sense of belonging in coffee communities, with life projects that generate value around the care and conservation of natural resources as well as the rural coffee culture.
Seeds to Lead
Target group: 4th grade to 11th grade (9 to 18 years old)
students in 5 pilot schools
teachers trained and certified in “Seeds to Lead” methodology
Provision of 53 laptops so that 100% of the teacher could participate in remote sessions:
online sessions July – November 2020
Teachers with access to connectivity plans.
student guides developed by the Seeds for Progress team for the “Coffee Module” from 4th to 11th grade
From the Ministry of Education, we consider that the Seeds to Lead Program strengthens the learning processes of our protagonists, the students, enhancing their learning with their actual environment. It is a comprehensive program that addresses and improves teacher training using innovative materials to reinforce student learning.
Christian CerdaNational Director of Elementary-Multigrade System Ministry of Education, Nicaragua
Seeds to Lift
The program help young adults that live in rural areas achieve technical and professional training goals through the establishment of local and international alliances. During 2020, we continued our Scholarship Program to promote technical education and for the year 2021 we will work on a model that will integrate courses including coffee harvesting methods and farm management. The objective of this program is to provide young people in the communities a technical education that gives them the necessary skills to become better coffee producers and community leaders.
Target Group: Community Youth (15 to 25 years old)
4 young adults attended technical studies in Agronomy, two of which graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Technical Bachelor.
In the last 13 years, 28 young adults have completed the program with scholarships with the support of Lacewing Foundation.
My greatest dream is to be an agronomist, to be able to start my own business in my community, to show that rural students have potential, to be able to tell the new generations that education and perseverance is key to achieving our dreams.
Michael Jackson Hernandez2020 Scholar from La Bastilla
is a program that was created for children of families in the coffee harvest that live in or migrate to rural communities. The program aims to mitigate child labor by creating safe spaces that facilitate educational development from a young age.
Children also have access to specialized care ranging from early stimulation to developmental skills—all based on their age and current education level.
Implementation of the Program took place in:
children from 0-14 years old
hours of training in order to implement the program
I am a coffee picker and mother of 10-year-old Yamileth and 2-year-old Deyra. With the opening of the new center, I feel calm because I know that while I work they are well cared for and developing skills that will be useful in life.
Milder AráuzMother and Coffee Farm Worker Nueva Guinea, Nicaragua.
A Bearing Fruit
Norlan Altamirano was born and raised around coffee plantations. Growing up, his home lacked electricity but that did not stop him from studying under candlelight. Thanks to his perseverance, effort, and the critical support of Seeds for Progress, he overcame all obstacles and became the first in his family to go to college. Watch his story below to witness the power of education in coffee-growing communities.
Adversity in 2020
COVID Relief Fund
With the support of partners in the coffee industry, we were able to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to doctors and health workers in the coffee growing areas of Nicaragua (Matagalpa, Jinotega, Nueva Segovia, Madriz and Nueva Guinea) in coordination with Operation Smile Nicaragua.
With the support of the FMO (Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank) and in partnership with Mercon Group, we supported 24 schools and the families of 4,000 coffee producers with a protection kit against COVID-19. We also created a prevention campaign that amplified increased hygiene and social distancing recommendations, creating better conditions for the 20-21 Coffee Harvest.
Hurricane Relief Fund
In early November, our coffee communities in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala were heavily affected by two devastating hurricanes, Eta and Iota. In response to these hurricanes, we held a disaster relief fund initiative with our partner Mercon Group to raise funds to support recovery and relief efforts in coffee communities
Thanks to generous contributions from individual donors and our partners in the coffee supply chain, we raised over $180,000. These funds were used to rebuild roads in coffee-growing communities, which were severely impacted by these hurricanes, benefitting:
Our supporters are essential to our work—each of you, lay the groundwork for our organization to thrive. Thank you for helping cultivate lives in coffee communities.
Sharing our First Virtual Gala:
Connecting the world to coffee communities
Despite the pandemic, in 2020 we successfully hosted our first Global Virtual Gala. From New York to Vietnam, from Amsterdam to Barcelona, coffee brought us together for education. People from all over the world joined our live broadcast in an emotional tribute to our founder, Duilio Baltodano (1948-2020+), connecting our hearts to the stories of our coffee communities.
Thanks to the support of our friends around the world, we were able to raise more than US $ 270,000 to support the education of children and young people in the coffee communities of Nicaragua and Guatemala.
Our 2020 Alliances
Seeds for Progress Foundation promotes quality of education in the coffee communities and is proud to partner with local and international organizations and institutions that complement our work.
With a monthly donation, you can impact the lives of children in coffee communities and make a difference all year long!
Guarantees school supplies for one child for a year
Supplies reading materials for a preschool classroom for one year
Supports the teacher training program for one teacher
Supports the monthly internet plan for one school
Supports didactic materials for children through our Cultivating Education program