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Nicaragua will improve cognitive development of children under age six with IDB support

Loan for $20 million will benefit more than 80,000 children

Nicaragua will support cognitive, motor, and social development of children under age six in the country’s poorest communities with the help of a $20 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The program’s objective is to improve comprehensive care for some 80,000 children under age six in 37 of the country’s municipalities through awareness campaigns and training of parents. The campaigns will seek to foster nutrition, health, education, and proper care for the children.

Another program objective is to involve the general population in promotion, access to services, and respect for rights of early childhood, as well as to improve the quality of care provided by public services. The program will also finance the repair of infrastructure and provide furniture and equipment for some 200 community centers.

Staff of the Ministry of Health and Education and the Ministry of Family, Youth, and Children will have the opportunity to earn diplomas in early childhood development to strengthen their skills in this area.

In addition, the loan will finance the strengthening of mechanisms for management, monitoring, and evaluation of support to the country’s early childhood policy.

According to Nicaragua’s National Institute of Information for Development, only 9.4 percent of rural children under age six attain a high score in the Index of Early Childhood Welfare. In addition, chronic malnutrition affects 22 percent of Nicaraguan children up to the age of five, particularly in the poorest families, in rural areas, and in households where mothers have low education levels.

Half of the IDB loan will be extended from the Bank’s Ordinary Capital and the other half from the Fund for Special Operations. Nicaragua’s Ministry of Family, Youth, and Children will be the executing agency.