Nicaragua shares its borders with Costa Rica, Honduras, the Pacific Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea. The largest country in Central America, Nicaragua is known as “the land of lakes and volcanoes.” Mountains, coastal plains, and a tropical rainforest also fill the landscape.

  • Population: 5,991,700
  • Life Expectancy: 75 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 85%
  • School Enrollment: 94%
  • Land Mass: 50,336 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 78%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 24/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 1,650

Facts about Nicaragua

Economic Development

Nicaragua recently has been experiencing slow economic growth. This is due to the fall of volume of some resources, affecting more than 1,550,000 people in the labor market. About 45 percent of the population earns less than minimum wage.


In 2013, there was an outbreak of dengue, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Symptoms include high fever, headache, vomiting, and skin eruptions. There were at least 6,100 suspected cases.

Food & Agriculture

The World Food Program estimates that in some areas of Nicaragua, about 23 percent of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition.

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Progress in Nicaragua

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2014.

  • To protect children from violence and ensure they live in a safe environment, we trained adults and children on protecting child rights, reporting abuses, and advocating for change.

  • In collaboration with the fire department and Red Cross, adults and youth were trained on how to protect children in case of an emergency. Sessions included first aid, rescue techniques, use of fire extinguishers, and creating safe spaces for children.

  • Community leaders and court-appointed justice promoters were equipped to handle cases of child abuse and child rights violations.

  • We supported employment opportunities for youth by providing them with vocational training in areas such as crafts, mechanics, and business planning.

  • We trained parents of young children in early stimulation practices that prepare little ones for preschool, such as reading books, playing games, learning to share, and demonstrating kind behavior.

  • We prepared peer-educators to tutor their struggling classmates in math and reading so they could improve their academic performance and stay in school.

  • To improve children's health and nutrition, we established family and school gardens to increase the availability of nutritious foods and address cases of low weight or malnutrition.

  • To improve children's health and reduce cases of waterborne illness, we trained boys and girls in better hygiene habits such as handwashing and oral care. Parents and caregivers were also trained to identify and manage cases of childhood pneumonia, diarrhea, and respiratory infections.

  • We partnered with local churches to improve the lives of children and their families and to teach about responsibility, leadership, self-esteem, and the surpassing love of Jesus Christ.

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    World Vision in Nicaragua Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Nicaragua to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 17,100 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Nicaragua. Highlights include:

    • Improving nutritional status of children through the implementation of 1,960 family gardens.
    • Having communities participate in hygiene initiatives to prevent diseases.

    World Vision History in Nicaragua

    World Vision assistance dates back to a 1972 earthquake in Nicaragua; child sponsorship began in 1990. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

    • Assisting thousands of people fleeing civil conflict with relief supplies in the 1970s.
    • Improving the lives of people in prison through literacy, carpentry, mechanics, printing, and gardening training in the 1980s.
    • Helping farmers in agricultural production, raising livestock, and constructing irrigation systems and reservoirs during the 1990s.
    • Changing the lives of children with cleft palates or severe burns through reconstructive surgery, medicine, supplies, transportation, and housing in the beginning of the 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Nicaragua shares its borders with Costa Rica, Honduras, the Pacific Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea. The largest country in Central America, Nicaragua is known as “the land of lakes and volcanoes.” Mountains, coastal plains, and a tropical rainforest also fill the landscape.

    Natural resources include gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, and fish.

    About 90 percent of Nicaragua’s population lives in the Pacific lowlands, which make up the western third of the country. Most Nicaraguans have mixed Amerindian and Spanish ancestry and speak the official language of Spanish. Residents also speak indigenous dialects.

    Families are close-knit, and extended families often live together. Nicaraguans use both of their parents’ surnames. They use the father’s name as the family name, but the mother’s last name comes at the end of the full name.


    Nicaragua gained independence from Spain in 1821 after nearly 300 years of Spanish rule. Following decades of military regimes, the Somoza family ruled as dictators for more than 40 years, beginning in 1936.

    The Sandinista National Liberation Front ousted the Somoza family in 1979 after a civil war that killed at least 50,000 people. Internal and external political tensions continued until 1990, when the government held free elections.

    In 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated the country, killing at least 3,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands more homeless.

    Despite continued political tensions, Nicaragua still holds democratic elections today.

    Prayer Requests for Nicaragua

    • Please pray for healthcare workers delivering life-giving nutritional supplements to the 30 percent of children who are malnourished.
    • Pray also for plentiful rains to ease the drought.