Nicaragua is a Central American country bordered by Honduras to the North, Panama to the South and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to the west and east, respectively. Though Nicaragua has made substantial progress toward ending poverty in recent decades by cutting the national poverty rate from 47.9% in 1997 to 24.9% in 2016, much of the population still lack adequate access to food, education, employment and clean water. Addressing these issues is key to ending poverty and improving the quality of life for Nicaraguan citizens. Here are four NGOs improving living conditions in Nicaragua.
4 NGOs Improving Living Conditions in Nicaragua
- SosteNica: SosteNica is a Nicaragua-based NGO that focuses on helping local farmers transition from subsistence farming to agro-entrepreneurship. While subsistence farmers produce the majority of food in Nicaragua, they often lack access to technology, training and opportunities that could allow them to expand their profits and yields. SosteNica recognizes these limitations and helps promote agricultural growth by introducing farmers to crops and practices that allow for year-round harvesting, connecting them to national markets, and providing modest investments to assist in expanding their operations. By helping local farmers, SosteNica increases food access and stimulates local economies, both of which transform living conditions for people in Nicaragua. One success story is local farmer Daniel Rocha, who “used to harvest 20 quintals (2000lbs) and now, with SosteNica’s support, (harvests) 50 to 60 quintals (5,000 – 6,000lbs) per manzana (1.7 acres).”
- Educo in Nicaragua: Educo is a global organization that aims to provide educational opportunities for children worldwide, operating in North and South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Commencing its work in Nicaragua in 2004, Educo’s impact is an impressive positive force throughout the country. The organization has been instrumental in advancing education quality in 81 schools and leading projects that improve educational opportunities for more than 11,000 Nicaraguan citizens. While Educo works by training teachers, providing school supplies and expanding the reach of educational institutions, it also focuses on creating a befitting environment for students by providing schools with running water, electricity and overall clean facilities.
- El Porvenir: Operating since 1990, El Porvenir is an NGO that seeks to expand access to clean drinking water for the people of Nicaragua. It takes a comprehensive approach in order to fulfill this goal, emphasizing education on safe and sustainable water usage, providing better waste management techniques, working on reforestation efforts and assisting in building wells and irrigation systems. For example, El Porvenir not only helps construct household double pit latrines and community wash stations but also educates locals on the water cycle and environmental sustainability. In its time in Nicaragua, the organization has assisted 649 clean-water projects, constructed 14,311 latrines/toilets and improved living conditions for more than 240,000 Nicaraguans.
- Nicaragua Nonprofit Network: One of the more innovative NGOs improving living conditions in Nicaragua is the Nicaragua Nonprofit Network. Among local humanitarian organizations, there is often poor communication. Things like limited online presence, moving from place to place or only operating seasonally can cause organizations to overlap in their efforts or simply work less effectively than they otherwise could. Not only does this limit the opportunity for positive change to occur, but it can also be damaging to communities if organizations implement different strategies or technologies that do not work well together. Because of this, the Nicaragua Nonprofit Network is dedicated to cataloging all humanitarian nonprofits in Nicaragua and facilitating their communication and cooperation. By consolidating information and making it more readily accessible, organizations can more easily collaborate and complete their goals.
Though recent developments in Nicaragua’s political situation make the fate of these NGOs uncertain, they have still done great work, and will hopefully continue to improve living conditions in Nicaragua.
– Xander Heiple
Photo: Wikimedia Commons