A project supported by Norway has given 50,000 poor people access to electricity from small hydropower plants. Around 20 crisis centres for women also receive support.

Facts about Nicaragua

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Life expectancy
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GNI pr capita
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Percentage poor people (below 1.25$)
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The flag for Nicaragua

Bilateral assistance million kroner

Bilateral assistance million kroner

Bilateral assistance million kroner

Central America's young democracies are experiencing stronger institutional stability and tolerance, with the coup d'état in Honduras back in 2009 as the only exception. The region has high voter turnout, while at the same time there is a decline in violence connected to the elections. Confidence in democracy and the institutions is nevertheless at a critical level, and the social and political conflict level is increasing in many of the countries.

The region is one of the most violent in the world. The number of homicides per inhabitant are the highest in the world for countries that are not at war. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras top the violence statistics. Nicaragua is also highly impacted by violence. Central America is a transit corridor for narcotics from South America to North America. There is extensive corruption and illegal money flows in all the countries. Organised crime is an enormous problem.

In Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega recently reinforced his grasp on power through a constitutional reform that eliminates restrictions on re-election of the president. The amendment also allows the appointment of military personnel to central positions of authority. These were previously reserved for civilians. Ortega was re-elected in 2011, and he enjoys support from a majority of the population. This is attributed to positive economic growth and improvement in social indicators. The country is the poorest in the region and faces major challenges with regard to human rights and women's rights.

Norway's priorities:

  • Natural resource management
  • Renewable energy
  • Rights of women and sexual minorities

Good governance and human rights

Norway entered a new four-year cooperation agreement to support the police in Nicaragua. The police here have a unique position in Central America. The police force enjoys a great deal of trust among the population, and it has largely managed to control the challenges of crime and violence that the other countries are struggling with. The new project should contribute to better training in human rights at the police academy. This applies in particular to gender equality and the prevention of violence against women. The prevention and follow-up of youth crime is also an important part of the project.

Norway's final contribution to the Anti-Corruption Fund in Nicaragua was made to implement what is referred to as "the national strategy for good governance", which was developed after multi-year support from Norway and other donors. Implementation should be completed in 2014.


For a number of years, Norway has contributed to sustainable agricultural production and increased income for 2000 families. An important result has been adaptation of agriculture to and counteracting negative consequences of climate change, as well as a strengthened dialogue with the authorities on local environmental issues. Access to microcredits has been a key instrument for the production and commercialisation of products. The work takes place in cooperation with the organisations FADCANIC (Atlantic coast) and ADDAC (central Nicaragua). This cooperation will continue until 2017.

In 2013, FADCANIC's educational centre was also expanded. This resulted in an improvement of the educational programme, and made it possible to give even more students an introduction to relevant economic and social conditions. In the new phase, there will be more emphasis on innovation and the development of more products.

Norway is in the final phase of support to five municipalities in the area around the polluted Lake Managua. In 2013, the project completed local area development plans to optimise agricultural production and prevent landslides and other destruction. Good feedback has been received from the five women mayors in the area, which tells about new tools and guidelines that are implemented to ensure work with the management of land areas.


Almost 40,000 people have been reached through a new centre, mobile libraries and reading circles. The children's book club reports that children and mothers from the poorest areas also participate. Norway's cultural cooperation with the country is in its final phase, and the initiative has made it possible to develop local institutions that make culture accessible, even in more isolated areas, in a country where cultural offerings and financing are limited.

Cultural initiatives for and with the indigenous population contribute to greater knowledge of and respect for the indigenous population among the white elite.

Renewable energy

Norwegian support to small hydropower plants provides electricity to 8262 families outside of the national power grid, helping a total of 50,000 people. Electricity has led to local development and creative business activities. The subsidised electric bills are paid. With the possibility of evening courses, the educational programme for both children and adults has improved, and it is now possible to read and do homework in the evening with lights on. This work has taken place in cooperation with Switzerland and the United Nations (UNDP).

Women and the rights of minorities

Norway has contributed to the operation of some twenty centres for women and children, in addition to preventive and follow-up work for women who have been victims of violence and abuse. Together with Switzerland, Norway also supports a UN project on women's rights. The project was highly relevant in 2013, since large sections of civil society were against an amendment that introduced compulsory mediation between the victim and perpetrator for cases involving violence against women.

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons (LGBT) are a priority group in Nicaragua as well. Norway entered an agreement for three more years of support to the unique Ombudsman's Office for Sexual Diversity, which was established at the time with support from Norway.

The work of the Ombudsman is to protect the rights of LGBT groups. This applies both to preventing and spotlighting discrimination. In 2013, the Ministry of Health and the police were followed up and monitored by the Ombudsman.

Aid effectiveness

Norway's development cooperation with Nicaragua is managed by the embassy in Guatemala. In some few cases, the embassy works through the authorities' administrative systems, but the great majority of projects are channelled through international organisations, voluntary organisations and civil society.

Published 28.08.2014
Last updated 16.02.2015