Nicaragua has a rich history, beautiful landscape and the warmest people you will ever meet. From the moment you arrive, you feel like you have known Nicaragua for your entire life. It is that sense of knowing the country instantly that drives NICA’s ultimate mission to help this country regain its presence in the global economy. Major cities are modern with very good infrastructure. It is the rural areas that pull on that little something inside of us that screams, "DO SOMETHING!"
The situation in rural Nicaragua is better today than it was in 2006 when NICA first arrived there, yet there is still so much to do. NICA's mission is to create jobs and improve education opportunities for families in rural areas. Our school food program increases attendance and improves health and nutrition. Our Individual Aid Program creates jobs where participants receive construction materials, school uniforms and food in exchange for cleaning and maintaining their community. Both of these programs have shown grand results. Volunteers also do projects with adults and children to improve education, increase community pride, and elevate hope for a better future.
- Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
- The infant mortality rate is 22/1000 births.
- Only 48% of students who begin the 1st grade finish the 6th grade.
- For every 1000 births, 100 children are born to teenage mothers.
Nicaragua is approximately the size of the state of New York, it is the largest country in Central America, with a population of 5.4 million people. Before the 1980s, Nicaragua was one of the richest and most successful countries in Central America. Today, as a result of political instability and war, more than half of the population is under 18 years of age, malnutrition is commonplace, and Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas. More than 2.3 million citizens live in poverty, and 831,000 live in extreme poverty. The impoverished areas are the rural areas. The country’s struggles to rebuild and prosper are made more challenging by the diverse geography and sometimes unpredictable climate. Nicaragua’s physical geography divides it into three major zones: Pacific lowlands; the wetter, cooler central highlands; and the Caribbean lowlands. NICA works in the Pacific lowlands, where the climate is hot and dry.
Because western Nicaragua is located where two major tectonic plates collide, it is subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Although periodic volcanic eruptions have caused agricultural damage from fumes and ash, earthquakes have been by far more destructive to life and property. Hundreds of shocks occur each year, some of which cause severe damage. The capital city of Managua was virtually destroyed in 1931 and again in 1972. Rainfall is seasonal: May through October is the rainy season, and December through April is the driest period. During the rainy season, eastern Nicaragua is subject to heavy flooding along the upper and middle reaches of all major rivers. The coast is also subject to destructive tropical storms and hurricanes, particularly from July through October. The high winds and floods accompanying these storms often cause considerable property destruction. In addition, heavy rains (called papagayo storms) accompanying the passage of a cold front or a low-pressure area may sweep from the north through both eastern and western Nicaragua (particularly the rift valley) from November through March.