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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

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.

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 2013.

  • Trained community leaders on child rights to address cases of child abuse and educate community members on how to protect children.

  • Provided leadership training for local youth by inviting them to participate in community meetings and organizing campaigns against drugs and violence.

  • Focused on disaster preparedness by developing emergency plans and conducting simulation exercises for adults and children in an effort to keep them prepared.

  • Improved community education by starting reading clubs for school children, and by updating schools with new desks and learning materials.

  • Expanded economic opportunities for youth through vocational education in agriculture, mechanics, handicrafts, and business management.

  • Decreased malnutrition in the community by cultivating gardens and educating families and school children about irrigation, pest control, and organic fertilizers.

  • Sent health promoters out into the community to teach parents how to reduce childhood illnesses, and how to battle the outbreak of dengue fever.

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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

    • That students would be able to complete their education so they can have more promising opportunities in the future.
    • For plentiful harvests in gardens so children can enjoy better health.
    • For the protection and care of children vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
    • That families living in poverty would have opportunities for better futures.