Nicaragua is the poorest country in Latin America and the second poorest in the western hemisphere. The country suffers from widespread underemployment and highly unequal income distribution. Around half the population lives below the poverty line with 15% living in extreme poverty. This situation is further complicated by the population’s extreme vulnerability to natural disasters, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding and hurricanes.
According to recent UNICEF surveys the most acute problems in Nicaragua are malnutrition, lack of access to health services, sustainable sources of drinking water and sanitation services, and the significant number of children who do not attend school.
- Approximately 40% of the population has no access to health services, with the remaining 60% having access to health services which are of a low quality.
- Primary school attendance is 70% for girls and 71% for boys, however at secondary school these figures drop significantly to 47% for girls and 35% for boys.
- The gross national income for the average Nicaraguan is £800. By comparison, the gross national income for the average person in the UK is £26,205.
SIFT supports the poor of Nicaragua by providing access to healthcare, education, housing and vocational training. Our work focuses on the town of Bluefields on the east coast, and the Asese peninsula and the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua.