Capital City: Managua
Population: 5.90 million
Life expectancy: male 70.81 years, female 75.26 years
Population with improved drinking water: urban 99.3%, rural 69.4%
Adult literacy rate: male 82.4%, female 83.2%
Infant mortality rate: 19.65/1000
Under 5 mortality rate: 24/1000
Religion: Roman Catholic 58.5%, Protestant 23.2% (Evangelical 21.6%, Moravian 1.6%), Jehovah's Witnesses 0.9%, other 1.6%, none 15.7% (2005 est.)
Percentage living on less than $1.90 a day: 10.83%
A little bit of history
As a result of nearly two centuries of dictatorships, civil wars and natural disasters, Nicaragua is one of the poorest Central American countries. Like much of the region, Nicaragua was a Spanish colony until becoming an independent republic in 1838.
The 20th century brought with it violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption in the form of a short-lived, but bloody civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Subsequent elections have been marred by huge irregularities and the onslaught of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 further weakened this already struggling nation.
How the country makes a living
Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Textiles and agriculture account for nearly 50% of Nicaragua's exports. The Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which began in 2006, has helped the country to expand its export opportunities, but growth remains slow.
Challenges faced by children
Years of war and mismanagement have taken their toll on Nicaragua’s children. A third of all children in Nicaragua are malnourished and only 29% of children finish their primary schooling. As a result, children in Nicaragua are forced to grow up early with as many as 167,000 children currently working to support their families. Teenage pregnancy is also a problem with adolescent pregnancies accounting for a quarter of all births.
Compassion in Nicaragua
Compassion began registering children into Nicaragua's programmes in 2002. Currently, more than 50,100 children are being released from poverty thanks to the life-saving care given by our 174 church partners.
What sponsored children learn in nicaragua
In Nicaragua, children typically attend their Compassion projects after school and on Saturdays. During a typical project day, sponsored children will participate in activities such as:
- Prayer and devotional time.
- Spiritual lessons. Children sing songs and learn Bible stories.
- Break time. Children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.
- Social lessons. From conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem, children who often come from challenging home environments are taught social and personal skills.
- Lunch and social time. Each child receives a meal consisting of rice, meat, tortilla and natural juice, tea or cereal. Children also sometimes receive a snack of fruit salad, rice with milk or a thick hot drink made from corn meal.
- Health lessons. Children are taught practical health and hygiene tips.
- Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with project staff to identify their strengths and interests, setting realistic goals for their future.
Additional activities offered by projects in Nicaragua:
- Young people are involved in vocational training activities such as music, computer literacy, sewing, carpentry, baking, hair styling, entrepreneurship, and handicrafts.
- Children participate in extracurricular activities such as camps, sports, field trips and art. Camps are held once or twice a year, field trips are once a year, and sports and art are offered regularly throughout the year.
- Parents meet either monthly or quarterly depending on the church partner. At least once a year, parents receive training supported by the partner church. Twice a year they participate in the medical check-ups, meetings and church activities.
Sponsor a child in Nicaragua