Nicaragua is a country undergoing rapid change. After years of political unrest—including a revolution in the 1970s and civil war in the 1980s—the country is now experiencing economic growth. Unfortunately, many have yet to fully benefit from these changes; 43 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line, and Nicaragua has the fewest economic resources of any country in Central America.
The Nicaraguan government and local authorities have welcomed the influx of companies eager to mine the country for its bountiful natural resources. While this has led to profits for the elite, the new development has harmed indigenous people. The government approves the sale and exploitation of indigenous peoples’ land without their consent, displacing communities and families from the resources they depend on for their survival.
Although the country has made significant strides to overcome the legacies of dictatorships and war—by ratifying new laws and a constitution intended to protect human rights—widespread discrimination still pervades this conservative society. This is particularly true for indigenous and rural women, LGBT people and sex workers, who face political, economic and social exclusion. The prejudice and violence they face often prevents women and sexual minorities from fully participating in their societies.
AJWS is committed to supporting marginalized communities in Nicaragua to advocate for human rights. Our grantees are:
- Organizing and mobilizing indigenous communities to take action against land sales conducted illegally or without residents’ consent
- Providing legal training to communities so residents can understand Nicaragua’s existing laws on the right to land and effectively advocate for their rights
- Training police and communities to prevent violence against women, LGBT people and sex workers and to increase their access to justice
- Building a base of women from diverse backgrounds to advocate for women’s rights and participation in making local and national policy decisions
- Increasing access to healthcare, education and peer support for LGBT people