Health and Community Wellbeing in Nicaragua

Best practices – Dianova and its partners are participating in a project aimed at helping the development of vulnerable rural communities in Nicaragua

Healtth and community wellbeing in Nicaragua

During the workshops participants learn to recognize the importance of communicating and in this way are able to improve their interpersonal relationships by understanding the emotions, feelings and moods of their peers – Photo: Dianova Nicaragua

Comarca Valle de la Laguna 1 and 2, Granada, Nicaragua

By Sheyla Romero M. – Since its inception, Dianova Nicaragua has implemented various programs throughout the country, with projects focused on the comprehensive development of vulnerable populations, primarily in rural areas of Nicaragua where opportunities are limited.

Studies by the National Institute of Development Information (INIDE) highlight the high prevalence of poverty in the country’s rural areas. Children and adolescents are those in particularly vulnerable situations, having high rates of health problems such as malnutrition, anemia, and skin and parasite problems, among others. In addition, they are exposed to significant social and personal challenges, including high levels of teenage pregnancy.

In 2013, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) had already highlighted that Nicaragua was the country with the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Latin America, with 28% of teenage girls affected (under 18).  In addition, several recent local studies indicate that the situation is still worrying: 3 out of 10 teenagers have their first pregnancy before the age of 18. This situation is all the more alarming as studies show that only 50% of their own parents provide them with emotional and/or financial support. Finally, it should be noted that the COVID 19 pandemic has further exacerbated existing problems in the community.

In order to foster the development of these communities, Dianova is now developing the “Health and Community Well-Being” project in partnership with the Luisa Amanda Espinoza Nicaraguan Women’s Association (AMNLAE) of Granada. Some twenty people, including men and women, adolescents and adults, participate in the project, which consists of individual and group support through some thirty workshops. Facilitated by a variety of experts, these workshops aim not only to help participants adequately manage their emotions and take better care of themselves, but also acquire essential knowledge about sexuality, sexual and reproductive rights, sexually transmitted infections and contraceptive methods.

The project aim to promote not only critical thinking, but also respect and a sense of belonging to the local community through the development of skills designed to better manage and even restore the physical, mental and emotional health of its members. Such initiatives dedicated to promoting people’s well-being and integral health have also an important impact on human development at all levels, thus contributing to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 (good health and well-being) and 5 (gender equality).

The beneficiaries are able to engage in valuable learning: they learn to recognize and channel their own emotions and feelings and to identify the differences between both concepts. They are also able to improve their interpersonal relationships through more assertive communication, taking into account the emotions, feelings and moods of their peers, thus enabling them to adequately manage these emotions in their own environment.

Participants also learn to recognize essential values such as human rights and sexual and reproductive rights through the analysis of case studies applicable to everyday life in their own communities. Finally, the workshops enable them to recognize the reality of their own rights – in accordance with national policies and international regulations – regardless of their ethnic origin, skin colour, beliefs or economic situation.

Finally, the project is making us, organizers and stakeholders, more aware of the critical importance to achieve real change in these communities.