In Nicaragua, about 50% of youth between 13 and 19 years of age do not receive secondary education (MINED 2012). This number is greater in rural communities, where schools and other educational resources are scarce. As a response to this reality, since 2007, Fundación Fabretto teaches the Tutorial Learning System (S.A.T.), through which thousands of rural youth in Nicaragua have benefited from an alternative education that offers access to secondary, technical and vocational education. Through a practical approach known as learning by doing, rural youth take advantage of local resources, bringing theory into practice, and developing productive initiatives that expand their skills and opportunities to generate income.
Likewise, S.A.T. promotes community development through the participation of youth organized in 4-H Clubs, through which they carry out community service activities, such as cleaning, reforestation, road maintenance, climate change awareness days, among others. This model of community education dates back to the 1980s, years before the civil war, when Father Fabretto first began offering the 4-H program to Nicaraguan youth.
Since January 2018, Fundación Fabretto, in partnership with the City Council of Valladolid, has managed to expand S.A.T. and thus benefit a total of 211 students from rural communities in the municipality of Somoto.
In order to strengthen S.A.T.’s educational methodology, through the project, training workshops were organized for tutors, who in addition to transferring technical knowledge to their students, offer personalized mentoring to ensure that youth can develop values and life skills. Tutors promote entrepreneurship and productive initiatives, which mostly focus on agriculture. The students managed to implement these initiatives using family plots, lands owned by the Fabretto Educational Center, and in 5 school gardens enabled for S.A.T. For this project, students were provided with agricultural tools and supplies, protective gear, textbooks, and workbooks, acquired with grant funds approved by the City Council of Valladolid. Several of the agricultural enterprises were marketed on a small scale at community fairs, where young people managed to generate income for themselves and their families.
During the project, youth from Somoto participated in two S.A.T camps with students from other municipalities in Nicaragua, where they enjoyed sports activities and many of them had the opportunity to leave their communities for the first time. “These types of meetings help strengthen self-esteem, promote social inclusion and the personal development of rural youth, who face greater inequality than their urban peers,” says Marcia Gómez, Fabretto Technical Education Coordinator.
On the other hand, following the leadership vision of the 4-H Clubs, S.A.T. youth have served as agents of change in their communities, sharing their knowledge with other youth and farming families. Currently, eight 4-H Clubs are active in the municipality of Somoto, with a total of 106 students participating.
At Fabretto, we are convinced that quality technical education in rural areas contributes to the rectification of inequality gaps and the eradication of the poverty cycle. Thanks to allies and partners the City Council of Valladolid, a better future for rural youth in Nicaragua is increasingly possible. Join us!