Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and home to the only known freshwater sharks in the world. Poetry and baseball are both important parts of local culture and draw international attention. The majority of the population speak Spanish, and Catholicism is the most predominant religion.
Poetry is one of Nicaragua's most beloved arts. Rubén Darío (1867-1916) is known as the 'Prince of Spanish-American literature', and recent work by Nicaraguan poets, fiction writers and essayists can be found in most bookstores. Earthquakes and war have obliterated much tangible evidence of Nicaragua's cultural heritage, especially its colonial architecture, although León retains many fine, old buildings.
From 2000 to 2017, Nicaragua was making progress: its economy was growing steadily and it had largely avoided the cartel and gang-related crime racking its northern neighbours, El Salvador and Honduras. However, between 2018 to 2019, Nicaragua experienced a period of social and political unrest after social security reforms were proposed. This crisis, combined with frequent natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, led to an economic downturn and a rise in poverty.
Chronic malnutrition is a serious concern affecting nearly one in five local children, and over a quarter of the population lack access to basic sanitation facilities like toilets.
Compassion began partnering with the local church in Nicaragua in 2002. Our church partners are passionate about bringing hope and lasting change to their communities—and they do this by empowering youth and caregivers with entrepreneurial skills, strengthening family relationships, fighting childhood malnutrition and much more.