Nicaragua is one of the lowest-income nations in the Americas. While geographically a large country, nearly half of the relatively small population lives in rural communities that are vulnerable to natural disasters, food insecurity, extreme poverty, and most recently, the pandemic.
In 2018, increasing social unrest instigated a violent response from the authoritarian government, which led to the loss of democratic freedoms, repression of civil society, and a sham presidential election in 2021.
The state of sexual and reproductive rights in Nicaragua is dire. In 2006, Nicaragua enacted a complete abortion ban — including in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the woman is at risk. Access to sexual and reproductive health information and services is seriously lacking, especially in remote, rural areas. The country now has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in Latin America — about half of Nicaraguan girls give birth before reaching the age of 20.
In the face of these seemingly insurmountable challenges, Planned Parenthood Global backs the bravest of the brave in Nicaragua. Our strategy in Nicaragua focuses on the future — on the young people who have been at the center of the resistance movement in recent years. These strategies include:
- SERVICE DELIVERY, BY AND FOR YOUNG PEOPLE: For decades, Planned Parenthood Global has supported the implementation of our flagship model, the Youth Peer Provider program in Nicaragua. With our support, young Nicaraguans across the country receive education, services, and training through the program, increasing their access to contraceptive methods and helping young people take control of their health.
- ACCESS TO INFORMATION: Between restrictive abortion laws and the state-controlled media, access to accurate, scientific, and rights-based information about sexual and reproductive health is more important than ever in Nicaragua. Planned Parenthood Global supported a local organization in Nicaragua to develop Toma Nota, a web-based platform at the leading edge of digital sex eduation. Toma Nota is designed for young people and provides information, referrals, and chat-based counseling to users throughout Central America.
- GIRLS, NOT MOTHERS: To draw attention to the regional epidemic of pregnancy among 10- to 14-year-old girls, Planned Parenthood Global launched the Niñas No Madres (“Girls Not Mothers”) campaign. This campaign highlights stories and data from the Stolen Lives report to illustrate the impact of forced motherhood on young girls. In Nicaragua, we supported one of our partners to produce Por Mi Derecho a Vivir (“For my Right to Live”), a powerful documentary that brings these stories to life.
WATCH BELOW: Stolen Lives documentary produced by Planned Parenthood Global's partner in Nicaragua.