100% of your gift to NicaWorks! is used toward community-led change. That means working with people who are invested in their communities to understand FIRST what strengths makes that community unique and SECOND what positive change local residents agree they are committed to helping make happen. We spend a lot of time talking with people one-on-one, in informal “charlas,” and through organized events. We commit resources and support to a developing and implementing a project only AFTER we have consensus and local champions! Here’s what that looks like:
Nicaragua is a low-income, food-deficit country. Food insecurity is closely linked with poverty. According to the U.N. World Food Program, almost 30% of Nicaraguan families live in poverty and over 8% struggle in extreme poverty, surviving on less than US$ 1.25 daily. Some 17% of children aged under five suffer from chronic malnutrition.
The good news is that nearly 50% of the country’s land mass is considered ideal for farming. While almost 70% of all Nicaraguans are somehow engaged in farm work (through periodic day labor or seasonal work), the majority of Nicaraguans don’t have any formal training or education in agriculture. By providing technical assistance, inputs and ongoing support we are helping Nicaraguans address two primary household concerns: food insecurity (by growing a small portion of crops for family consumption) and poverty (by growing and selling produce to provide a supplementary stream of income).
Access to Healthcare
Nearly 40% of all Nicaraguans lack access to health services; nearly 80% have no medical insurance. People living outside the capital (Managua) and a handful of other large cities in the country are only able to access infrequent care through local “health posts” or community centers which typically serve several thousand residents with only 1 or 2 clinicians. Most centers or health posts are not open daily; even if people are able to get care they are often unable to afford the prescribed medication. Specialist care (for chronic or more complex medical issues) is extremely difficult to access and beyond most Nicaraguans’ ability to pay.
We partner with local MINSA health centers and health posts (in more remote areas) to expand residents’ access to quality healthcare with funding and program support for school-based vaccination campaigns, free community-based health fairs, free prescription medication, specialist consultations and care, clinical visits for home-bound patients, and more.
Education is key to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. However today 18% of all elementary school-age Nicaraguan children do not attend school; the majority of those children live in rural areas where schools lack basic infrastructure, supplies and equipment, and teacher attendance may be sporadic. Children who do complete elementary school are very unlikely to enroll in, much less complete, high school: 43% of Nicaraguan teens do not go to high school and only 9% of those who do enroll actually graduate.
We know that education is critical to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. We provide financial and programmatic support to schools that are committed to high-quality instruction, student and family interventions to increase likelihood of completion, professional development for teachers, and a caring, supportive environment. We want to help kids START school, STAY in school, and SUCCEED to become a high school graduate!
With relatively high rates of poverty and low rates of educational attainment, learning in-demand skills to obtain a job or start a small business are critically important to helping break the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Vulnerable youth without work are at greater risk of engaging in crime, drugs, and gang activity; adults unable to earn a family-supporting wage are less likely to keep their children enrolled in school.
To turn the tide of intergenerational poverty we provide teens, adults and single mothers with personalized instruction in locally-in demand jobs in including agriculture, carpentry and clothing alteration. We work closely to provide not only technical training but also work readiness and life skills to help participants become capable, confident employees. Our goal is to equip people with the skills, support and encouragement to find or create work that provides dignity and a family supporting income!