Outside the town of Esteli in Nicaragua, you can find the Catholic University of Dry Tropic Farming and Livestock (UCATSE).   In October 2010,   MíCrédito and Kiva disbursed their first student loans there.

These loans allowed the students to put into practice, what they had learned in the classroom.  One group of students used their loans ($75 per student at 1.5% interest per month) to make cheese which was sold on campus.

As a Kiva Fellow, I decided to visit the university, meet the students, see the process firsthand, and offer my services as an official taster.

Students in the AgroIndustry Lab, ready to make cheese.

Cheese or queso fresco made at the university.

Cindy, the MiCredito Kiva Coordinator, lent a hand in the cheese-making process by stirring the milk to cool it, before adding the enzyme that would thicken the milk.

Next step, the curdled milk was strained to remove the liquid.

Salt was added, and the cheese mixed until crumbled, then formed into balls.

The finished product is called cuajada.

A slice of cheese is served with rice, beans, and tortillas.

Future student loans are being considered for projects to raise pigs, and to cultivate a high-quality tomato.

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More about MiCredito, a new Kiva Field Partner in Nicaragua, serving urban and rural clients from six branch offices.

-Karen Gray, Kiva Fellow 14, in Nicaragua


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