Nicaragua
Capital:
Managua
Population:
6.2 million
Area:
130,375
km2

This November, the powerful Hurricanes Eta and Iota directly hit the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, causing catastrophic damage. During powerful storm surges, water and sanitation services are among the first to fail, leaving communities vulnerable to the spread of deadly diseases.

We are providing clean water and hygiene supplies to the vulnerable Nicaraguan coastal communities where we have been working for nearly a decade. After Hurricane Eta, we launched a rapid response effort and are working with local authorities to:

  • Repair water and sanitation facilities in health centres
  • Deliver water to makeshift shelters
  • Assess the damage to indigenous communities
  • Deliver water filters and hygiene kits

We have now begun a rapid response relief effort to Iota, and we need your support to provide help where it's needed most.

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Known as 'the land of lakes and volcanoes', water shapes the geography and rich biodiversity of Nicaragua. But exploitation of the country's natural resources has resulted in contamination from mining and farming, and soil erosion from deforestation.

The country's long rainy season and large lakes make for ample freshwater sources, but much of the water is inaccessible and unsafe to drink. To make matters worse, natural disasters and conflict have devastated public services and reduced investment.

As a result, over a million people still don't have clean water and one in four people don't have a decent toilet.

The North Atlantic Autonomous region, located on the Caribbean coast, is one of Nicaragua's most isolated areas. Extreme poverty and violent crime are widespread. The road to reaching everyone here is steep, but we have already begun to make a difference.

Since 2011, we have helped to make clean water and decent toilets a normal part of daily life for communities here. We train local people to install and maintain pumps and wells, rainwater catchment systems and composting toilets in schools and homes. And we help map access to water and toilets, so as to identify those most in need. 

With continued innovation and investment, we will make a lasting impact on the lives of even more communities. Together, we can reach everyone in Nicaragua.

people don't have a decent toilet.

That's 1 in every 4 people living without this essential.

people currently live without clean water.

That's almost 1 in every 5 people.

Plumbing vs. Gangs

Teenagers are leaving behind violence to build decent toilets for their community.

Read the full story
Jordi Ruiz Cirera
I felt good, happy because I was building a toilet in the house and I knew that I would not have to go outside to the latrine.
Bessy, 16 - Bilwi

Water supplies in Bilwi are poor. Installing good quality pumps and toilets is expensive and many of those who want to do it have to take out a loan.

That's why we work with local organisations on a micro-finance and training scheme. One of our partners, Pana Pana, reviews the loan applications, and the successful borrowers pay them back at low interest. The installation is then carried out by supervised teenagers who have completed a plumbing course with our other local partner AMEC.

The young people who take the course tend to come from neighbourhoods where opportunities are limited. They've usually been identified as 'at risk' by the local police and have had some involvement with gangs and petty crime.

As well as receiving technical training, the students learn how to set up their own plumbing businesses, and take part in counselling sessions with a psychologist to address some of the social problems they face. "There has been a change in my self-confidence, self-esteem," says Bessy, an AMEC alumni. "If others in the neighbourhood received the same training, the same intervention, maybe that would help them."

Ready to make a difference? Donate to WaterAid and help change someone's life.

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