Nicaragua

Farmer Denis Fuentes Jimenez and his son Elkin, inspect a filter in a water system that gives their community access to water for home use and irrigation. Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS

Farmer Denis Fuentes Jimenez and his son Elkin, inspect a filter in a water system that gives their community access to water for home use and irrigation. Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS

Today, Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America, with 46 percent of the population living below the poverty line and another 25 percent living in extreme poverty. As such, CRS Nicaragua emphasizes working to improve the livelihoods of the country´s poor through an agro-enterprise approach that combines increased agricultural productivity with access to improved markets, focusing on fair trade and justice-based commerce. Other programming areas include water, youth and disaster risk reduction. Our head office is in the capital city of Managua and our sub-office is in the northern city of Esteli. We have 43 national staff and seven international staff, four of whom are regional.

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Stats

Population:5,848,641
Size:81,000 sq mi
People Served:147,144

History

Catholic Relief Services began working in Nicaragua in 1964, when in partnership with the Catholic Church and lay organizations, the organization distributed food, clothing and medicine after a powerful hurricane, ultimately reaching 200,000 people. During the 1970s, CRS continued to implement a food program for school-aged children and introduced a ground-breaking "rotating funds" project, which was to become a precursor of now-widespread microfinance programs.

In 1972, CRS responded to the Great Earthquake in Managua, which killed 10,000 people and left 300,000 homeless, with a $6 million, multi-year reconstruction effort implemented with Caritas Nicaragua.

Between 1979 and 1990, given the insecurity of a country at war and the logistical difficulties caused by a trade embargo, program staff relocated to Costa Rica and provided assistance to Nicaragua during natural disasters, particularly after Hurricane Joan in 1988. In 1990, CRS reopened an office in Nicaragua with programs focused on agriculture, health and microfinance with a special emphasis on strengthening key relationships with government ministry officials, local church representatives and in-country partners and donors to address the volatile, post-conflict period.

Partners

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Argidius Foundation
Caritas Matagalpa

Programs

Agriculture
Civil Society and Governance
Disaster Response
Microfinance
Water and Sanitation


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