Full name: Republic of Nicaragua
Population: 5.8 million (UN, 2011)
Capital: Managua
Area: 120,254 sq km (46,430 sq miles)
Major languages: Spanish, English, indigenous languages
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 71 years (men), 77 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 gold cordoba = 100 centavos
Main exports: Coffee, meat, shellfish, sugar, tobacco, cattle, gold
GNI per capita: US $1,170 (World Bank, 2011)
Internet domain: .ni

International dialling code: +505

Nicaragua is striving to overcome the after-effects of dictatorship, civil war and natural calamities, which have made it one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. 

Nicaragua has traditionally relied on agricultural exports to sustain its economy. 80% of urban jobs are in small or micro-companies, and 90% of rural businesses are linked to small, family-run farms. However, these small producers face big challenges trying to reach a market where they can sell their products. 

Regularly hit by tropical storms and hurricanes, the devastations of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed thousands, rendered 20% of the population homeless and caused billions of dollars worth of damage.

There is a small tourist industry in Nicaragua which includes wildlife-rich rainforests, volcanoes, beaches and colonial-era architecture.

Previous Progressio ICS volunteers have supported:

  • Building of Eco-latrines
  • Planting of Marango plants - a high yielding crop that grows in any climate and can be eaten by humans.
  • Construction of 'Diques' to support the structure of a river.
  • Creation of vegetable gardens in a local school.
  • Creating 'eco-stoves' for families to reduce the amount of firewood they use and improve health.
  • Running awareness raising events on issues relating to health and hygiene within local communities
  • Building a local 'Casa Gastronomica'; a place for local people to serve food for tourists and sell crafts.
  • Re-forestation of local areas to help minimise soil erosion.
  • Supporting campaigns raising awareness of health risks such as Dengue fever.

Read more on Progressio's work in Nicaragua

Find out more about what it's like to volunteer with Progressio ICS by reading our volunteers' blog

Every placement is different, to start your journey please complete the application form on the ICS website