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Since 1980, Save the Children has worked to improve the lives of Nicaraguan children and families living in poverty. After the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, our Nicaragua Country Office concentrated its efforts in the heavily affected departments of Chinandega and Leon.
Explore Our Programs
One-third of all Nicaraguan children never enroll in elementary school, fail to attend, or drop out before reaching the sixth grade. The majority of these children drop out in first grade, before they learn the reading and math skills they need to succeed in life. 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.
As Nicaragua is prone to various types of natural disasters, Save the Children has disaster response and emergency preparedness mechanisms in place. When emergencies occur, we deliver life-saving assistance, provide food and ensure the safety and well-being of children.
Save the Children works to make first grade fun for over 7,000 children in 73 primary schools throughout Nicaragua. We improve schools and increase the number of children who enroll and succeed through early childhood education, teacher training, equipping classrooms and educating parents and community leaders. In one rural community in which Save the Children works, we established two preschools and within two years of initiating work doubled first grade enrollment rates.
Save the Children focuses on improving maternal infant, and child healthcare and works in partnership with the Ministry of Health to reach thousands of children living in remote and rural communities who might not otherwise have access to health services. We monitor growth rates, vaccinate, distribute vitamins, and educate young people about proper hygiene and sanitation. We train community health care workers to treat the most common childhood diseases including diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia. We have increased the scope and scale of these health programs over the past two years from initially treating diarrhea and pneumonia to adding treatment for malaria and, beginning in 2008, for newborn sepsis.
When families have enough food and can support themselves, their children thrive. In 105 communities in four municipalities of Chinandega, we help families secure their access to food through improved technology, family gardening and, in times of crisis, making food available. Our program benefits young children and their families, with a special focus on families led by single mothers. We also organize farmers who produce high-yield, non-traditional crops into groups/associations, improve agricultural techniques (such as crop diversification, basic grain storage and livestock production), enhance small businesses in rural communities, and work with communities to ensure these benefits are sustainable. Over the past five years, the prevalence of chronic malnutrition has decreased from 22 percent to 12 percent in children under age 3 in the communities where the program is in place.
Building on our 27 years in Nicaragua, Save the Children will work to improve eBarly childhood development and primary education by training and providing technical assistance to educators and improve the quality of life for adolescents in rural areas by providing them with access to economic opportunities, reproductive health education and services and HIV/AIDS prevention. We also will focus on improving maternal, infant and child health by supporting a community-based growth-promotion and health counseling strategy; access to clean water and food to decrease children's chronic malnutrition; and offer agriculture assistance and economic opportunities to single mothers and other vulnerable families.
"My name is Victor and I am 7 years old. I go to 1st grade. My teacher is Ms. Blanca. She is fun. Ms. Blanca says that we must study. She says I am very smart and that I learn fast, and I think it's true because I know how to write my name. Since I am in 1st grade, I still have five years to go before I get to 6th grade, and when I get there, I will graduate being the best student!"
Ms. Blanca tells us that we should all tell our mothers the words we are learning. She says that I need to be a good student so that when I grow up I will know many things and I will find a job very quickly and I will make good money.
I like school because there are story books there, and I like it when Ms. Blanca tells us the story of the ugly duckling. Ms. Blanca asks me why I like it. I like it because I will also be handsome when I grow up. I like it when Ms. Blanca takes us out to play when we are good, and she always asks us what we want to play. I like to play cien pies (a type of worm): we all hold hands in between our legs and we hop."
Nicaragua Facts and Statistics
Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children's 2012 State of the World's Mothers report. You can access detailed data here.
Other sources as follows: Infant Mortality Rate: CIA World Factbook 2012; Life Expectancy at Birth: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; National Poverty Rate: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; Population: CIA World Factbook 2012; Human Development Index Rank: United Nations Development Program
Last Updated January 2014