2020 Annual Report

Connecting Communities

J. Antonio Baltodano,
President, Seeds for Progress Foundation

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.

Our Mission

about-us-our-mision

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.

Our Vision

about-us-our-vision-square

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.

Our Values

  • Collaboration
  • Self determination
  • Innovation
  • Respect
  • Integrity

Our Coffee
Communities

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:

Buena Vista de Ventilla Community
95

of families work in coffee harvesting-related activities.

85

of them cultivate less than 12 hectares of coffee, with an average monthly income lower than the food basket value.

60

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.

Our Impact
in 2020

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.

5800

student beneficiaries

5,423 in Nicaragua
383 in Guatemala

3000

families supported

341

teachers directly supported

Where we work

Click on the pin to view the list of schools in each region.

Where we work

Click on the pin to view the list of schools in
each region.

Growing Together

Buena Vista de Ventilla School

Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua

140+ Students
9 Teachers

When Buena Vista de Ventilla School first opened, we only had the means to keep three sections of primary and secondary students open. While we wanted to open it up to preschoolers, we just didn’t have the space or appropriate conditions to do so.

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.


School Principal,
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.

Bridging Distance
Through Technology

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.

305 Internet plans for teachers
55 laptops provided to the schools

A Seed for
Progress

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)

160

students in 5 schools participating in program

13

teachers trained

Meyling Iveth Vásquez

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 Vásquez

San 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)

2971

students

143

teachers trained

24

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.

Bryan Lucas Guillén

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 Guillén

Violeta 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)

1469

students in 5 pilot schools

90

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 Cerda

National 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.

Michael Jackson Hernandez

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 Hernandez

2020 Scholar from La Bastilla
Cultivating Education

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:

Cultivating Education
213

children from 0-14 years old

24

program educators

114

hours of training in order to implement the program

Milder Aráuz

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 Aráuz

Mother and Coffee Farm Worker Nueva Guinea, Nicaragua.
A Bearing Fruit
of Progress

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.

Do you want to make a difference in the lives of young people like Norlan, and help them achieve their dreams?

Overcoming
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.

Covid
104000

Investment

68

Community Health Centers

1330

medical staff benefited

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.

112000

investment

4000

Producers

24

Schools

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:

20,000+ people
11 coffee
communites

Our Supporters

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.

700

connected participants

37

countries

270000

fundraised

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.

friends-for-education

With a monthly donation, you can impact the lives of children in coffee communities and make a difference all year long!

$10/month

Guarantees school supplies for one child for a year

$20/month

Supplies reading materials for a preschool classroom for one year

$50/month

Supports the teacher training program for one teacher

$100/month

Supports the monthly internet plan for one school

$250/month

Supports didactic materials for children through our Cultivating Education program

Continue cultivating a
better tomorrow
for our
coffee communities