Esperança has been working in Nicaragua with our partner Association of Volunteers for Community Development (AVODEC) since 2001 in the northern Department of Jinotega. In this Central American nation, an area ravaged by civil war some 20 years ago, we work to improve the health of Nicaraguan families through various public health programs including: water filtration systems, community gardens, improved housing, latrines, wells, dental health, midwife training, micro-loans, and health education.
Esperança’s work is accomplished through a community network made up of hundreds of volunteers. Volunteers from surrounding villages who go through Esperanca’s programs provide health education and training to their own communities. Members of the volunteer network identify participating families in need of improved housing, latrines, or dental services, and then the network collectively works to make these changes.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Jinotega, being a mountainous region, is isolated from resources. The land is lush and tropical, and farmers have grown crops for years in the fertile fields. However, with limited infrastructure, increasing populations, and stagnant land available, families struggle to meet their family’s nutrition and health care needs. Some 46% of these children suffer from malnutrition which accounts for 54% of all deaths of children under the age of 5. Agriculture, the most common form of employment in Jinotega, is also the lowest paying, causing families to live in extreme poverty. With development, water sources in the region have also become increasingly polluted with silt, sewage, and bacteria.
Esperança’s programs significantly improve the quality of life for families living in this rural area by:
- Providing life-changing surgeries through our volunteer surgical program
- Training midwives, who deliver an average of two babies per week, and help decrease the high levels of maternal mortality in the most remote communities
- Providing a clean water source, through wells and water systems which prevent deadly water-borne diseases.
- Teaching small farmers about improved agricultural practices and providing families with seeds and small livestock that will help improve their nutrition and generate a higher income