people in Nicaragua don't have access to safe water.

2 million people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Nicaragua.

27% of the population in Nicaragua live below the poverty line.

Known as the ‘Land of lakes and volcanoes’, Nicaragua has abundant sources of freshwater, but little of it is safe to drink or readily accessible.

The crisis

Years of insufficient public investment following war and natural disasters, together with contamination from mining and agricultural activities, and deforestation and soil erosion caused by extensive cattle ranching, have left 800,000 people without safe drinking water.

What’s more, 2 million people don't have access to adequate toilets in Nicaragua, a third of the population.

The resulting diseases exact a huge toll on families' health, keeping children out of school and stifling economic growth. The exhausting task of water collection usually falls to women and girls, who have little time left for work or school. 

Our approach

WaterAid's Nicaragua programme opened in 2011. We work in the North Atlantic autonomous region on the Caribbean coast – a remote, isolated area of mainly indigenous and afro-descendent people, with an annual population growth rate of more than 4%, the highest in the country.

We are helping to improve and expand safe water, sanitation and hygiene services in the region by training local people to install and maintain rope pumps (a simple type of water pump), install eco-toilets (a type of pour-flush latrine), drill manual borehole wells, clean and disinfect existing hand-dug wells, and install rainwater catchment systems.

To identify the communities most in need of assistance, we are helping local people to map current access to safe water and sanitation. Our work is focused on establishing safe water and sanitation facilities in schools as well as households.

Our impact

In Nicaragua last year we reached:

  • 2,000 people with safe water
  • 1,000 people with improved sanitation.