Remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua, Laura F. Dogu
Managua, March 7, 2016
Good morning to all.
Thank you for inviting me to the launch of the Quality Technical Education for the Caribbean Coast project, which is part of a Global Alliance between the U.S. Government and the private sector to promote vocational technical education opportunities for young people on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua.
In the United States, March 7-13 marks Global Partnership Week, an effort led by Secretary of State Kerry’s Global Partnerships Office in collaboration with USAID’s Global Development Lab. With this event, we join this celebration this week and applaud the private sector partners who are already supporting this initiative.
In 2004, FADCANIC, knowing the great need for educational opportunities for the young people of the Caribbean Coast, created the Center for Environmental and Agroforestry Education (CEAA in Spanish). The construction of a private technical training center, in itself, is an important achievement. But the creation, construction and management of a technical training center in the tropical forests of the Wawashang Nature Reserve on the South Caribbean Coast is a far-reaching achievement.
Since 2007, approximately 300 young people have graduated from the FADCANIC technical center in Wawashang. We welcome this important advance, knowing that we are now providing more young people in the region with the opportunity to acquire technical knowledge and certification. We know that the youth of the Caribbean Coast face many challenges, particularly because of the influence of crime, violence and drugs.
In order to combat crime and violence, delinquency must be controlled, but we must also create educational opportunities that are linked to employment. This project will create educational opportunities for more than 100 young people per year who belong to all the ethnic diversity of the indigenous communities that make up the population of the Caribbean Coast, including young Afro-descendants of the Garífuna and Creole communities, as well as mestizo youth.
This project is a special type of public-private partnership, a Global Alliance that requires the contribution of one to one for every dollar that the U.S. Government invests. In the case of this project, USAID will invest $1,000,000 and FADCANIC, with its private sector partners, will contribute an additional $1,000,000.
I would like to congratulate Ritter Sport, NIMAC, the Cedric Martin Foundation and Eirene Suisse for joining this global alliance. These private companies and foundations are pioneers who not only value corporate social responsibility but also recognize the important role they play in investing in Nicaragua’s future.
I would like to end by sharing the story of Shenie Carlos, a fifteen-year-old girl from a Miskito community on the South Caribbean Coast. Shenie finished primary school with the determination to continue her studies, but the high school in her community does not offer technical careers. In addition, her family did not have the resources to send her to study at Bluefields. Also, her family, was not very convinced that agroforestry was a good choice of studies for a woman. However, Shenie had heard of the CEAA in Wawashang, and was drawn to the idea of studying there. She convinced her family and entered the center.
Today, she is in the fourth year of the career that will give her the Intermediate Technical Degree in Agro-Forestry with a minor in Environment. She is one of the best students of the center and her teachers praise her dedication to academic work and fieldwork. Although relatives and friends continue to criticize her for choosing what they consider to be a “men’s trade,” Shenie continues to forge ahead.
She wants to be a leader in her community to help people better manage their farms so that they can become sources of prosperity and not just subsistence.
This story is an example of the difference that education makes in the life of youth.
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, and Shanie is an example that women can be successful in any profession and not just the traditional roles for women.
USAID, FADCANIC the private sector partners of this project will provide young people like Shenie a unique opportunity to improve their future. I encourage other Nicaraguan and international companies, both small and large, to follow the example of our partners and collaborate with FADCANIC and USAID. Public-private partnerships like this foster co-investment to solve complex development problems.
Join us in this initiative.
# # #