Desos: effecting positive change from Catalan to Nicaragua

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Alba Marino
  • Desos was founded in Sant Boi de Llobregat in 2001.
    Desos was founded in Sant Boi de Llobregat in 2001. Source: Desos.
  • Desos educates for global justice.
    Desos educates for global justice. Source: Desos.
  • It all started when Sant Boi partnered up with San Miguelito, a town in Nicaragua.
    It all started when Sant Boi partnered up with San Miguelito, a town in Nicaragua. Source: Desos.

Desos has developed several projects in Nicaragua focused on resource management and financial research to improve living conditions of rural Nicaraguans.

Development aideducation for global justice and social economy: these are the main goals of Desos, a Catalan organisation founded in Sant Boi de Llobregat in 2001. Since then, the entity has developed a series of philanthropic projects in Nicaragua focused on resource management and financial research to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged rural Nicaraguans.

It all started when Sant Boi de Llobregat partnered up with San Miguelito, a town in Nicaragua. It was then that Desos started down a path of international cooperation focused on three strategic initiatives: an urban plan for the town, the self-construction of homes for families in rural areas and, last but not least, a plan to ensure access to food for all inhabitants.

Success in San Miguelito – and beyond

San Miguelito has an urban core of just 3,000 people. The rest of its residents, around 20,000 people, live in rural communities – some of them quite isolated. These communities are focused on subsistence farming, meaning they only grow what they need to eat.

Desos saw the perfect opportunity here: they could use the great parcels of land available in San Miguelito to increase production and diversify the farmland with other products, giving local families a more secure and healthy influx of food. 

The project in San Miguelito had great success, and soon, the bright idea started spreading to other areas in Nicaragua. In 2002, two companies called Bluefields and Kukra River started working in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region, promoting integrated programs of social and economic development for rural communities in the area.

A domino effect for good

Since the very beginning, Desos wanted to extend its scope of action, always searching for the next big idea to effect positive change. In 2007, they found it – this time, in the field of financing. The firm decided to fund local projects in Nicaragua with the objective of boosting economic activity.

The project started with a capital of €30,000 and has now increased to an impressive €135,000. With the money, Desos give ‘credits’ to locals so they can invest in machinery to boost and facilitate field work.

So how does it work?

Desos manage the credits as a foreign company, but they have a local team dedicated to assessing the viability of the projects that apply for funding. The concession committee decides whether to award the money and how much is given. 

In recent years, a special line of credit has been created specifically for low-income women. The main goal is to encourage their independence – financially and otherwise – which Desos see as very positive for the whole community.

These projects aren’t the only ones Desos have been involved in over the years. However, these two initiatives in Nicaragua have been their focus for nearly a decade, and their efforts have paid off.

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