• Population: 5.99 million
  • Literacy (adult): 78%
  • Life Expectancy: 74 years
  • Poverty Rate: 42.5%
  • Primary School Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Secondary School Enrollment: 46%
  • Infant mortality rate (under 1): 22%


Nicaragua – in Central America – has a long history of foreign intervention and dictatorships that limited the country’s development. A revolution in 1979 brought some changes, but the country – while not lacking in natural resources – is a small fish in a big sea among powerful economic players. The Nicaraguan government has invested more on education and public health, but overall resources are limited. The primary work in the area DCI and New Haven/León Sister City Project are supporting is on a sugar cane plantation, which pays about $1000 US/year.

DCI is partnering with New Haven/León Sister City Project to expand support for preschool education to the rural community of Troilo. The support will focus on teacher training, parent involvement and providing educational resources necessary at this critical developmental age. Similar work in Goyena has resulted in increased parent involvement in education support, increased attendance, better nutrition, and children better prepared for 1st grade.

The primary work of the NHLSCP in León is to support community organization initiatives in the rural community of Goyena (12 km outside León), and to facilitate programs and projects that supplement the efforts of the formal education system.
This work includes:

  • Support for the community preschool with capacity-building efforts for the local teachers, nutritional assistance for the students, and support for the school infrastructure.
  • Facilitation of an after-school program for first to fourth graders, with special emphasis on small-group work and attention to those with learning difficulties, and training for teachers.
  • Supporting use of Forum Theater to explore conflicts and develop leadership.
  • Organizing Environmental Youth Brigade and other sustainable development efforts.
  • Organizational support for the parents’ council at the preschool, as well as for the community board of directors of the community.
  • Support long term movement by community towards self-sufficiency and sustainability.

New Haven/Leon Sister City Project (NHLSCP)
NHLSCP is a 30 year old bi-national organization with offices in León, Nicaragua and New Haven, Connecticut. The organization was invited to Goyena eight years ago to help the community recover from Hurricane Mitch (1998).