Violence against children is a significant issue in Nicaragua with 6 out of 10 families estimated to experience domestic violence. Viva’s partner network in Managua focuses on violence prevention for children and teenagers. Pastors from 40 churches have recently received child protection training in order to create a safer environment for children. Additionally, 23 churches have started a new programme to promote stronger family relationships – intentionally led by men. In a culture where violence is endemic, it is important that fathers understand their roles and responsibilities in treating their wives and children with love and respect. Pray for the impact of this ‘Men against Violence’ training programme, so that many more children and young people would be protected through this and other activities of the network in Managua.
Pray for the unity of the evangelical church in Nicaragua and for an understanding that all are called to be a part of the kingdom of God and to go and make disciples of all nations. Pray for a greater sensitivity in the church towards work with the poor and marginalised, especially with prisoners, women who suffer violence, youth and adolescents at risk and indigenous people.
A survey carried out by our partner network, Red Viva Nicaragua, discovered that 60% children in the country have experienced domestic violence at home. 75% reported witnessing violence at school among students. A recent government report highlighted that half of all reported sexual assault claims made were committed against girls under 13 years old. Red Viva Nicaragua has been working hard to organise and promote abuse reporting training within local communities. Now, a breakthrough might have come in the shape of a new mobile app, created in partnership with a university in Managua (the capital city), which allows users to report instances of abuse or bullying to local authorities anonymously. Pray for network leaders and children as they promote the app through festivals, parades and training, T-shirts and banners, and in the media. Pray that it will ultimately be influential in bringing a decrease in abuse of all kinds throughout communities in Managua.
Bethel Hope Centre in Rivas, Nicaragua, provides a safe place for children to be fed spiritually and physically. Part of Strider Iona Tattersall’s job at Bethel involves trips to the local rubbish dump. “After four months, I still find it shocking, seeing children of all ages working on the dump, many wading through the rubbish without any shoes and playing in it nonchalantly.” They are with their families, trying to eke out a living by searching for materials such as plastic, cardboard or metal which they can sell on for very little. They work in sweltering conditions among the festering and combusting waste without good shoes, gloves or masks. A weekly outreach takes sandwiches to the dump as a way of getting to know the people there. Pray for good conversations and for God’s compassion to change hearts.
Nimia Talavera has fond memories of her childhood in Santa Teresa, but today climate change and deforestation have left the riverbed dry. ‘The land has stopped being fertile; we don’t produce as much as we used to. It’s not enough anymore.’ says Nimia. Nicaragua is placed fourth in the list of countries most affected by climate change. Tearfund’s partner Prodad has been helping the community in Santa Teresa adapt to the changing climate by replanting trees and restoring the fertility of the farmland. Pray for protection and perseverance for communities who are being pushed into poverty by the changing climate. Pray too that world leaders at the UN’s climate change conference in December 2015 will step up their efforts to tackle this problem.
Tucked away on the outskirts of Rivas, lies the Centre of Hope, Bethel, where children come to play, chat, hang out, have a hot meal and learn more about God. The centre is close to the city’s rubbish dump where many of the children’s families scavenge for material to recycle. Through the centre, about 70 children and young people are sponsored to go to school, given a daily hot meal and enjoy a safe environment where they are loved and learn more about their heavenly Father. Give thanks that God is transforming a generation of young people, who have the chance to be children – to study, eat, play, learn and grow.
The Peace and Hope Trust work by making direct investment into community projects, schools, clinics, hurricane shelters etc. In response to an increasingly desperate need for the most basic of housing in the rubbish tip and rock breaking communities, they are now funding the piloting a new building module based on bamboo, which can be erected quickly and economically by local staff. The aim is for priority to be assessed within the community according to need, and that over time many of these shacks can be replaced by something much more durable. Please pray for the pilot project currently underway and also for funding to become available and help expand this new initiative.
Plentiful natural resources make Nicaragua a potentially wealthy country, but many years of political turmoil and natural disasters such as Hurricane Mitch have had a lasting effect. Principally an agricultural economy producing cotton, coffee, sugar cane, bananas, maize and sesame, Nicaragua rates as the second poorest country in Latin America. Recent governments have struggled to make progress and throughout the country there are urgent basic needs such as clean water, electricity and balanced nutrition; hygiene and school education are rarely guaranteed.
Population: 6,167,237 (2012)
Official languages: Spanish, English
GDP (PPP) per capita: $5,755 (2017 est.)
Life expectancy: 74 years
Religions: 73% Catholic, 18% Protestant, 8% Atheist or Agnostic, 1% other religions