Latest update

Nicaragua reported 6299 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 170 related deaths on 4 February 2021. However, independent health organisations estimate the number of cases to be much higher. Hospitals are reportedly understaffed and struggling to cope with the pandemic. Hurricanes Eta and Iota left widespread destruction last year and there are increasing rates of malnutrition throughout the country. The government has not imposed any domestic travel restrictions or national quarantines.

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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, they have been able to distribute about 218,000 food packs and 107,000 hygiene kits to children and their families.

  • 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:

  • God's comfort would be with Judeymi as she grieves the passing of her father.
  • God's comfort, strength and encouragement for Wendy as she continues to undergo chemotherapy.
  • God's protection over Jasson's health as his asthma makes him more susceptible to COVID-19.
  • God’s peace and comfort would be with Gerson and his family as they process his recent leukemia diagnosis and he begins receiving treatment.
  • Pray for healing and a quick recovery for Alessandra’s father as he recovers from a car accident.
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

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, many 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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