Results around the world – Nicaragua

In spite of significant reductions in poverty in recent years, Nicaragua remains one of the poorest countries in the Americas. It has the second-lowest gross domestic product per capita in the western hemisphere, and 30% of its population lives below the national poverty line.

Agriculture employs a third of the workforce. Productivity is hindered by low levels of basic economic infrastructure—particularly access to electricity and irrigation—and very low use of technology in production and post-production processes. In addition, Nicaragua is highly vulnerable to adverse climate events. This disproportionately affects small-scale subsistence farmers.

Sixty-five percent of the country’s population is under the age of 30. Young people face significant challenges due to limited job opportunities, low levels of education and skills, and the pressure to migrate, particularly from rural areas. Nicaraguan girls and young women are also affected by high rates of early pregnancy and sexual and gender-based violence.

In 2017-18, Canada’s development program in Nicaragua promoted growth that works for everyone and human dignity (health, education). Canada helps increase access to electricity and climate-smart agricultural technologies and supports small-scale producers to increase their productivity and access to markets, with a particular focus on rural women and female entrepreneurs. Canada also supports technical-vocational training as well as services that address the root causes of early pregnancy and sexual and gender-based violence. Working through national, international, Canadian and local organizations, Canada helps women and girls become leaders and active participants in the development process.

Through regional and multilateral funding, Canada also supports Nicaraguan efforts to address the effects of climate change, regional migration, the spread of infectious diseases and disaster risk-management.

Key results

In 2017, with Canadian support, 1,979 smallholder farmers decreased their production costs and produced higher yields of basic grains (maize and beans) through the World Food Program’s Purchase for Progress initiative. Participating farmers also obtained higher prices for their products, obtaining 25% more for maize and 34% more for their beans as compared to 2016 prices.

Through support to the Rural Electrification Project - Phase II, Canada helped Nicaragua expand its electrical grid to reach 54 new communities. This expansion enabled 7,645 households and 42,048 rural residents in some of the country’s poorest and most remote communities to access electricity for the first time. By March 2018, 102 microenterprises—mostly led by women and youth—in the newly electrified communities were provided seed capital to grow their small business.

Through Canadian support to the Pan-American Health Organization, 62 maternity homes in some of the most vulnerable regions of Nicaragua were provided with basic equipment and supplies to support mother and child care, and 11,453 women in maternity homes were supported on issues of women's empowerment.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are at the heart of Canada’s international assistance to Nicaragua and, as a result of Canadian support, there has been a steady increase in the rate of female leadership. For example, at the end of 2017, women held the following positions in farmers’ organizations participating in the World Food Program’s Purchase for Progress initiative:

Through regional humanitarian assistance, the Canadian Red Cross is helping the Nicaraguan Red Cross strengthen its capacity to respond to emergencies. Since 2014, nearly 700 Nicaraguan Red Cross staff and volunteers have been trained in disaster response, health and psychosocial support in emergencies, communications, resource mobilization and business planning, contingency planning and logistics.

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