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L3R 8G6

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How we’re reducing teen pregnancy in Nicaragua

CCFC is arming youth with knowledge to make informed decisions about their future

By Enmanuel Castro, CCFC communications manager, Nicaragua

If I had to pick one number to share about the importance of our work in Nicaragua, it would be the number of early pregnancies. There’s so much packed into it.

In fact, of every 1,000 women who give birth in Nicaragua, more than 90 are between the ages of 15 and 19, reports the United Nations Population Fund.

And, Nicaragua has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in Central America. But, that number doesn’t tell the full story.

Pregnancy can be devastating to teens. “I talked with a girl who got pregnant when she was 14,” shares Jessica (pictured), a soft-spoken 18-year-old from a rural community in Northern Nicaragua. “She couldn’t finish her last year of elementary school. Her parents kicked her out of the house, and she didn’t know what to do with the baby. She was crying.”

In Nicaragua, teenagers who become pregnant rarely exercise their rights to education, health and protection — leading them to abandon their dreams for their child. A machismo culture that marginalizes women means more teen girls are victims of rape and sexual violence.

We’re working to reduce teen pregnancy through a project that teaches young women about the risks and consequences and the benefit of waiting to start a family. As part of the project, participants learn about child protection, reporting abuses and goal setting.

So far, more than 100 girls have taken part in the program, including Jessica.

Since the beginning of the project in 2016, we’ve seen significant change in the attitudes of the participants. Many, like Jessica, are becoming leaders in their communities — sharing what they’ve learned with family, friends and other community members, including boys, who never thought they shared responsibility for their actions.

Since completing the program, Jessica has started studying finance in university. She hopes to graduate and help support her family. One day, she may choose to have children of her own, but it will be when the timing is right for her.

You can support youth like Jessica through Community Rise, a monthly giving program that helps break down barriers to education and build healthy, empowered communities. Learn more.

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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-centred international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For nearly 60 years, CCFC has worked with children, communities, donors and other partners — changing lives through improved health, education and clean water. CCFC works in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, to support more than 700,000 children, youth and community members.