Nicaragua has been dubbed “the land of lakes and volcanoes” and features biological diversity, a warm tropical climate, and, of course, active volcanoes. The country is also called “the land of poets” due to the literary contributions of Rubén Darío and other renowned Nicaraguan writers.

But over the last 25 years, Nicaragua endured a revolution, civil war, environmental disasters, and a president that embezzled over $100 million from his people. This chain of events left 50 percent of the country below the poverty line and without sufficient employment, infrastructure, health care, and education. Much of the nation’s land continues to be decimated by unsustainable agriculture and landmines left during the Contra War. Human rights violations, child labor, and intra-familial abuse are commonplace.

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With its headquarters in Ciudad Sandino since 1995, the founding site of FSD works with community partners in Masaya, Ciudad Sandino, Jinotepe, and Chagüitillo. Ciudad Sandino (pop. 75,000) lies 13 kilometers from Managua and is the poorest district in Nicaragua, home to many refugees of natural disasters. It is characterized by poor infrastructure, high unemployment, and extreme poverty. Jinotepe and Masaya are each home to approximately 100,000 people and offer improved infrastructure and significant artistic and cultural works. Chagüitillo, a more rural town to the north, is known for coffee growing.


FSD’s newest program site is in Tola, Rivas State, a small city positioned in southwestern Nicaragua along the Pacific coast. With a population of nearly 20,000, Tola extends over 477 km2 and contains more than 60 communities of subsistence farmers, salt miners, and fisherpersons. Tola is the municipal seat of a primarily rural area, and is mired with poor infrastructure, low socioeconomic indicators, and few sustainable development opportunities.

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FSD invests in Nicaraguan grassroots partners who are working on the frontlines 365 days a year to end the cycle of poverty in their communities. We provide our partners with grants and key training to ensure their goals are practical, sustainable, and minimize external aid dependency.

We also work with students, professionals, and donors from the US and other western nations to share
knowledge on ethical approaches to international development, which respect and preserve the voice, knowledge, and culture of the communities we serve.