Tag Archives: Women Empowerment


T-O-I engaged in Nicaragua (Opening 2016)

  • Country: The Republic of Nicaragua
  • Geographic Location: Nicaragua, set between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
  • Capital: Managua
  • Official language: Spanish
  • Currency: Nicaraguan córdoba

Statistics on Poverty in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Central America, ahead of Haiti. Fifty-seven percent of those in poverty reside in the bigger cities like the capital. Natural disasters have been a big factor increasing poverty.

  • According to the World Bank, 43% of the population lives on less than $2 per day.
  •  45% to 65% of all Nicaraguans are either unemployed or underemployed.
  • 53% of the population being age 18 or less, the country’s poverty most severely affects women and children.
  • 1 of every 3 Nicaraguan children is malnourished.
  •  238,827 children between the ages of 5 and 17 were economically active, with 36.1 percent of working children being under age 14.

While current and official statistics remain unknown, unofficial reports indicate that child labor has increased since 2005.

  • The U.N. says that only 48% of the children graduate from the 6th grade.
  • One out of every 4 children is born to a teenage mother. 13% are born to a girl between the ages of 10 and 14.
  • One-third of all Nicaraguan children never enroll in elementary school, fail to attend, or drop out before reaching the sixth grade.
  • Other risks that threaten the well-being of Nicaragua’s children and youth are malnutrition, teenage pregnancy and early marriages, child trafficking and sexual exploitation, gang involvement and HIV and AIDS.

Statistics on Children/Orphans in Nicaragua.

  • Orphans 130,000
  • Infant Mortality 23.5 per 1000
  • Child poverty Rate 42.50 %
  • Child Malnutrition 30.50%
  • Child Marriage 40.60%
  • Approximately 320,000 Nicaraguan children aged 5-14 are involved in child labour activities.
  • Three in five Nicaraguan children are employed in the agricultural sector, working mostly in the banana, cotton and tobacco industry.
  • In Managua, nearly 1,000 children live on the city’s largest garbage dump “La Chureca” where they dig for food or recyclable material that is later sold in the streets of the city. Thousands of homeless children roam the streets without access to food, education or family support. Most of them sniff glue in order to forget about their daily hardships.
  • According to estimates by the World Bank, 8 to 12 percent of all children below the age of 18 in Nicaragua work or live in the streets – or both.

Statistics on unemployment in Nicaragua.

While the entire country of Nicaragua has an unemployment rate of only 12 percent, it does exceed 20 percent within the poor families in rural areas. Some poor families will try to migrate to more urban areas if they have enough resources and money so that they can improve their own personal living conditions. Without more access to public and natural resources, the rural areas of Nicaragua will continue to increase in poverty. In recent years, the unemployment rate has been steady at around 6 percent.

Labor force:

2.98 million (2015 est.)

Labor force – by occupation:

  • agriculture: 31%
  • industry: 18%
  • Services: 50% (2011 est.)

Unemployment rate:

  • 1% (2015 est.)
  • 6% (2014 est.)
  • 2% (2013 est.)


Drug addiction of youth in Nicaragua

  • Drug consumption in Nicaragua rose in 2011, particularly on the Atlantic coast where the transshipment of drugs is highest
  • The highest rate of users can be found among young men and women, aged between 19 and 25 years, followed by the age group between 26 and 34.
  • Drug trafficking is heavier on the north coast of Nicaragua, the Caribbean side.
  • Cannabis users made 2.2 %, followed by 1% cocaine users, 0.5% Crack users and 0.5% for opioids users.
  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that 0.7 percent of the population aged 12-65 abused cocaine.



At T-O-I, we believe that Micro-finance is a sustainable way to assist the poorest economically active people to improve their lives, provide jobs and livelihood for employees and their families and make a positive impact in their community as a whole. Our micro-finance loans allow clients to increase the size of their businesses to meet market demand and as a result create more income. With this income they are able to provide better schooling for their children, better housing for their family, more consistent food for their family, better healthcare for their family, etc. T-O-I directly impacts the multidimensional poverty indicators of its beneficiaries.

Additionally, as our clients grow their businesses they are generate a need for employees. Members of their community with the proper job skills meet this need. By providing a job for one member of the community you are not just providing for one person, but usually for a family of 4-8 people; 6 on average. Now the impact of a micro-finance loan that has allowed one business owner to increase his business has improved the lives of his family + his employee’s family = 12 people. We know that helping people improve their current business we can improve the lives of an exponential number of people, and this practice is already happening. By changing one life, we help countless other people.

What makes T-O-M program different?

T-O-M’s vision is to focus on building a world without poverty where people have access to resources and opportunities to improve their own lives.

T-O-M’s Mission:  Through micro-finance and skills development we enable the poor to improve their income and change their lives forever.

Social Performance of T-O-M principals:

“ No consumer loans, only business development to improve clients income and livelihood

“ We measure the improvement of the client’s financial situation before each partnership. If the client’s situation is has not improved we don’t give a partnership, but look at how to adjust the situation to improve the client’s situation. T-O-M must see improved income to the client and his family. T-O-M is interested on easing the burden on clients.

“ We measure the satisfaction of clients through surveys on T-O-M’s performance and staff following our core values.

T-O-M differs from other micro-finance companies, because our profits go back to the communities by way of social programs. T-O-M’s social performance department was created in January 2015.  The goal of this department is involved in measuring social performance and implementing social responsibility to build a strong relationship in the community, resolve racialism, fight against poverty, and help with the unemployment plague so many communities face today. T-O-M’s social performance department engages in helping some of the most at risk people. Providing job placement for orphans, widows and people with physical disabilities who tend to suffer more than the average person, especially in a downward economy.

Some of the Current Social Responsibility Programs of T-O-M:

“ The T-O-M Transition House that supports orphans as they transition from orphanage living to independent living.

“ Supporting economic empowerment through the Job Placement Program for Orphans, Widows, and those with physical disabilities.

“ Disaster Relief Program to serve communities when disasters occur.

“ DIY Handcraft Business start-ups for Afghan women and those with physical disabilities.

T-O-M currently is partnered with over 5,000 micro-businesses in Kabul, of which over 1,400 are businesses owned by women.  Since 2014, T-O-M has created over 110 jobs internally to Afghans.  To date, our Job Placement Program has placed 32 orphans, among them some with disabilities, 2 widows, and 1 man with a physical disability.  All of these people and are now self-sustainable, and in return contributing to the local economy. The T-O-M Transition House currently has 6 program participants and 10 more on the waiting list.  The DIY Handcraft Business Program is just getting off the ground this month with many anxious woman taking part.  The Disaster Relief Crew has already been out giving nonperishable food items to the victims and families of the Shah Shahid suicide attack that killed over 25 people and injured more than 400.  This is only the beginning of T-O-M’s work in Afghanistan. Join us in Repairing the World Together, One Life at a Time.

 TOM Performance Table, September 2015
 Number of Staff  151
 Number of active clients  5,198
 PAR (portfolio at risk) 30%  1.24%
 Gross Loan Portfolio (USD)   3,254,242
 Number of branches   2




Social Entrepreneurship

T-O-I works with beneficiaries that have the skills and desire to start businesses and the smallest businesses at the bottom of the economic sector to help improve their capacity. This includes farming/agriculture, livestock, etc. from a holistic approach.  This assistance can come in many forms, from mentorship and training to supplying livestock to help the business grow. This grassroots program is focused on 1-on-1 relationship building and assistance to the new business owners in the community.

In many cases, the needs of the business owner are simply guidance on how to best maximize their income, or minimize their expenses.  In some cases, T-O-I will provide assets to the business in the form of livestock, grain, etc. to improve the capacity of the business.  In return, these goods will be returned, in kind, to T-O-I in the future by the participant so that they may be used to help someone else.

T-O-I believes that starting businesses in communities is a vital part of creating jobs, and opportunities for the most at-risk people. By working hand in hand with qualified participants to train them and help them start businesses T-O-M empowers people with hope and dignity.  Providing hope, opportunity, and assistance to participants is a catalyst to bringing prosperity and hope to the community.

Grand opening of new branch of T-O-M

Today, 1st of September 2015, more afghan people got an opportunity to improve their lives, because today T-O-M in Afghanistan has opened new branch.  The new branch opened its doors and welcomed all afghan people who are interested in developing their businesses.  T-O-M serves businesses and individual entrepreneurs by offering business investment services to help them develop their businesses.

Today governmental officials, district leaders and representatives of local and international NGOs came to the opening of the new branch. There were speeches given by the CEO of T-O-M and guests, such as the Executive Director of AMA, Najib Samim, wishing success to the new office.

The new microfinance product “musharaka” was also presented today during the opening. According to the Executive Director of AMA, T-O-M is a first company to offer the musharaka product to afghan businesses and the first company who will put it into practice.  According to the practices of other countries, musharaka is the most suitable for the economy of developing countries such as Afghanistan. T-O-M’s musharaka product conditions and requirements are based according to the Sharia law. All T-O-M business development officers are trained on the new product and have already provided services to clients.

T-O-M, as a part of T-O-I, has social performance and social responsibly at the core of its mission. Subsequently, the T-O-M Social Performance Manager introduced guests to the Social Performance and Social Responsibility programs being implemented by T-O-M. Currently a Transition Home for orphan boys, Job placement services for widows and orphans, handicraft design business development, and disaster relief programs are being targeted in Kabul.

At the end of the event there were fresh pastries served and guests were given souvenirs to remember the event.

We are grateful to be able to help and serve more people in Afghanistan. We believe that everyone has a right to opportunities that improve their lives and each person can help someone to Improve his/her life.