Latest update

Nicaragua reported 5887 confirmed cases of COVID-19and 162 related deaths on 9 December. However, independent health organisations estimate the number of cases to be much higher. Hospitals are reportedly understaffed and struggling to cope with the pandemic. There are also increasing rates of malnutrition throughout the country. Nicaragua has not officially imposed any domestic travel restrictions or national quarantine policies. Additionally, in November, Hurricanes Eta and Iota both hit Nicaragua, causing flooding, destruction and fatalities.

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COVID-19 in Nicaragua

How is Compassion currently operating in Nicaragua?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Many Nicaraguan child development centres are planning or have begun a phased reopening.

    Staff members from many centres continue to make home visits and provide virtual programing for children and families. Since the pandemic began, staff members have distributed over 217,700 food packs and 106,700 hygiene kits and provided 4400 individuals with medical support.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Nicaragua, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your sponsored child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Nicaragua. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver, if necessary. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Nicaragua who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Wisdom and clarity for the doctors as they seek to diagnose the cause of Winston’s illness.
  • God would allow the doctors to diagnose the cause of Allan’s fever, and he would be able to return to normal activity soon.
  • Restored health for Tatiana and her father.
  • God would provide for Francis and her parents in this very challenging economic situation.
  • Healing and comfort for Maria's mother as she recovers from her operation.
  • God would heal Jose’s father, Alfonso, and allow him to no longer need dialysis treatment.
  • Wisdom for the doctors as they work to diagnose what may be causing Milagro’s grandmother’s symptoms.
Fighting Malnutrition in Nicaragua

Fighting Malnutrition in Nicaragua

When COVID-19 struck Nicaragua, the already struggling country saw a rise in unemployment, especially in rural communities. The ability to provide nutritious food for their children became a challenge for parents and caregivers.   Read more open_in_new

Crisis Reports from Nicaragua

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    Hurricane Iota in Nicaragua (Final Crisis Update) 19 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    The zone most affected by Hurricane Iota is still inaccessible in many places, with no electricity, cell phone or internet connection, overflowing rivers and streams, and impassable roads. The local government and army is trying to clear roads and is cleaning debris. In many areas, access is only possible on foot or via motorcycles.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 1 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 1221

    New information

    The affected families are moving towards stability, with the support of the churches and local government. Many families are still living in temporary locations while homes are being repaired. Compassion Nicaragua plans to provide additional recovery support to rebuild homes utilising funds from an upcoming proposal for an Infrastructure project. Legal ownership of land is providing challenges and delays in the rebuilding process. Two local church partners (NI332 and NI0364) located in the most affected southern region are delaying their restart of programming until at least March 2021 to allow focus on the recovery efforts.

    Prayer

    Thank you for your prayers for the affected children, families and church partners. Please continue to pray for the recovery efforts that will most likely be a long process.

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    Hurricane Iota in Nicaragua (Crisis Update) 17 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    The zone most affected by Hurricane Iota is still inaccessible in many places, with no electricity, cell phone or internet connection, overflowing rivers and streams, and impassable roads. The local government and army is trying to clear roads and is cleaning debris. In many areas, access is only possible on foot or via motorcycles.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 1 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 1221

    New information

    It continues to be challenging to get specific updates from the local church partners, but they are providing updates as they are able to. NI0330 reports that they are having communication and power challenges, as well as a bridge near the church fell. The local fire department is helping people get access over the river to purchase food. NI0332 reports that the conditions for the children, families, as well as the church members are very difficult, with almost everything including homes, roads and crops, destroyed. They have obtained land for three Compassion assisted children, so their families can rebuild on higher and safer ground. NI0364 reports that there is great impact to the community, as well as the church. The church buildings (office, classrooms) have been flooded, the water well is destroyed, and they have lost their musical instruments.

    Prayer

    Please pray continue to pray fervently for the children, families, staff, and church partners as they try to recover from damages as well as support others.

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    Hurricane Eta in Nicaragua (Final Crisis Update) 02 Dec, 2020

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 232

    New information

    The affected families are now safe and well supported. All but a few families have returned to their homes which have been repaired. The few that haven’t returned have permanently relocated to live in a safer location or with relatives.

    Prayer

    Thank you for your prayers for the affected children, families, church partners and staff.

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    Hurricane Eta in Nicaragua (Crisis Update) 26 Nov, 2020

    The situation

    Relief and recovery efforts continue in Nicaragua.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 232

    New information

    Affected families have flood water in their homes, lost household items, and/or damaged homes. They are being supported as needed.

    Prayer

    Please continue to pray for protection, provision, and peace for affected children, families, church partners and staff.

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    Hurricane Iota in Nicaragua (Crisis Update) 20 Nov, 2020

    The situation

    The hurricane made landfall on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and passed through the towns of Madriz, Nueva Segovia, and Jinotega. People living in the most at-risk areas were evacuated, as flooding and overflowing rivers are expected.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 796

    New information

    Fortunately, no deaths or injuries have been reported. The national office intends to request funding for infrastructure for the construction and repair of damaged or destroyed homes. The affected families have been supported with food, shelter materials, blankets and mats.

    Prayer

    Please continue to pray for the protection, provision and peace of children, families, church partners and staff throughout Nicaragua.

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    Hurricane Iota in Nicaragua 16 Nov, 2020

    The situation

    The hurricane made landfall on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and passed through the towns of Madriz, Nueva Segovia, and Jinotega. The heavy rainfall is expected to last for the remainder of this week. People living in the most at-risk areas were evacuated, as flooding and overflowing rivers are expected.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: not yet confirmed Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 159

    New information

    The local church partners and National Disaster Response team are monitoring the situation and assessing impact. They are facing power outages and communication problems which is making impact reporting difficult.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the protection, provision and peace of children, families, church partners and staff throughout Nicaragua.

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in Nicaragua are temporarily closed. Local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Nicaragua

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care and attend one group activity at the Compassion centre each month.
  • Children aged 4 to 12 visit the Compassion centre for six to eight hours a week across three days.
  • Students aged 12 and older attend the centre for four hours twice a week to learn vocational skills.
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Compassion Program Activities in Nicaragua

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Compassion assisted children in Nicaragua typically attend program activities at their local child development centre after school and on Saturdays. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Nicaragua.

Devotional time - Children learn to pray.

Spiritual lessons - Children sing songs and learn Bible stories.

Break time - Children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

Social-emotional lessons - Children learn conflict resolution skills and how to develop healthy self-esteem. Many children come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

Lunch and social time - Children usually receive a meal consisting of rice, meat, tortilla and natural juice, tea or cereal. Children sometimes receive a snack of fruit salad, rice with milk or a thick hot drink made from corn meal.

Health lessons - Children learn practical health and hygiene tips.

Letter writing and career planning - Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

The children also enjoy camps, sports, field trips and art. Students can participate in vocational training workshops in music, computer literacy, sewing, carpentry, baking, hair styling, entrepreneurship and handicrafts. Parents and caregivers meet monthly.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Nicaragua

74

years is the average life expectancy

17%

of people over 15 cannot read and write

32%

of people lack access to proper sanitation

Nicaragua spiralled into crisis in 2018, with political protest erupting into widespread violence. Thousands fled the country, most heading south into Costa Rica, and life is increasingly difficult. In the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, information has been slow to emerge and the nation’s President, Daniel Ortega has publicly dismissed the risks.

In April 2018, the Ortega government announced reforms to Nicaragua’s pension system. The announcement was greeted by initial protests that were crushed by pro-government groups, but the heavy-handed response triggered widespread outrage, mass protests across the country, and ever more violence. More than 300 people were killed and thousands injured.

In the years since his crackdown on the protests, President Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, who is the nation’s vice-president, have seized even more power, taking full control over all branches of government.

After a long history of colonisation and military rule, Nicaragua has struggled to provide its citizens with basic services. Most of its wealth is held by a small group of wealthy families. The majority of Nicaraguans subsist on very low wages and children have been the worst affected.

In the early part of this decade, Nicaragua had made some economic progress: its economy was growing and it had largely avoided the cartel and gang-related crime racking its northern neighbours, El Salvador and Honduras.

But progress has stalled under the COVID-19 pandemic. As in several other Central and South American nations, medical experts have questioned the official data as hospitals have struggled to keep up with a growing number of cases.

Many children face a new threat of hunger, and the ever-present risks of gang life and child labour trap thousands.

Local churches continue to reach out to children living in poverty, helping them to gain access to education, nutrition and the love of Jesus expressed through the local church.

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