Protection to prevent teenage pregnancies

Nicaragua has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world. Violence against girls and women is also a daily occurrence. With our work, we help to promote the holistic development of young people, strengthen their right to a life free from violence and support the practice of safe and self-determined sexuality. 

Idania Yaritza Benavidez Zeledon is a bright 12-year-old girl from the community of San Pedro in the district of Esteli. Idania, her little brother and her mother live with her grandparents, her uncle and her cousins. In total, nine people live under one roof. Idania's parents have only recently separated. The relationship with her father is strained, characterized by domestic violence. Idania says: "He hit my mother when he drank too much. I always wished they could get along better. I actually love my father very much, but we don't talk much at the moment. He gets angry quickly."

Violence against girls and women

In Nicaragua, gender-based violence is deeply rooted due to the prevailing machista culture. Idania often feels unsafe in her community, reports being harassed on the street and knows several girls who have become pregnant early, either through violence or a lack of knowledge about contraception. Young people have no access to safe information about sexual health and rights. At home, these topics are often taboo.

Strengthening young people and families

It was not until 2022 that we Organization MIRIAM implemented the project in the community of San Pedro. Since then, 80 young people and 20 family and community members have taken part in our activities. A key aspect of our work is imparting knowledge to protect young people from teenage pregnancies and to strengthen their rights.

Idania's friend was involved right from the start. When Idania found out more about the activities in the project, she also joined. "I was very nervous at first because I didn't know anyone apart from my friend. But I quickly felt that I was in good hands." The MIRIAM team showed her a lot of attention and integrated her into all activities. "The leaders give me and the other girls the feeling that we are something special, simply because of who we are. That we have good reasons to be proud of ourselves. Nobody had told me that before."

Informing with radio broadcasts

12-year-old Idania records a radio report. Photo: Jorge Contreras

Idania is particularly enthusiastic about the communication and radio technology course. She produces radio programs with other young people on topics such as violence and teenage pregnancies. Idania says that the course has taught her to express herself better. "I've become much more self-confident and no longer feel ashamed. I've also learned that I have to look after myself and stay away from bad people." Things are also going better at school. "I used to be very shy. Today, I'm no longer afraid to take part in lessons. My grades have also improved."

Positive effects

A-family-poses-in front-of-their-house-for-a-photo.
Idania (far right) in front of her house. She lives here with her mother, brother, grandmother and other relatives. Photo: Jorge Contreras

Idania's family supports her participation in the project. They hope that she will have a better future as a result. "They say I've become more open. My friends also think it's good that I'm more sociable now. I share what I learn with them too. I motivate them to fight for what is important to them, so that they can develop, so that if they have dreams, they don't forget them. That we can achieve our dreams if we focus on them." She herself has many dreams: she wants to become a lawyer to help the community, especially women who suffer from violence. But she also dreams of opening a beauty salon or running her own restaurant.

What she wants

At the end, Idania says what she would like people to do: "We could be better people. It's no good being aggressive and violent. Instead, we should be kinder and gentler. We have to understand that violence is not good, because it harms both current and future generations. I want to be seen as a committed, kind and friendly person."

Our achievements in the year 2023


Young people have Psycho-legal support receive. They can now recover from the consequences of physical and sexual violence and admit their grief and shame.  


Through MIRIAM's work, young people and children as well as 35 family members have Relationships strengthened. Parents support their children in dealing with the topics of sexuality, menstruation and gender roles.


Teenage communicators have broadcast 10 radio programs on the prevention of teenage pregnancies.


Leaders have spoken publicly about the intolerance of gender-based violence and the importance of preventing teen pregnancy. Leaders now recognize their shared responsibility in preventing gender-based violence.

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