Breaking the cycles of poverty : Strategies, achievements, and lessons learned in Los Cuatro Santos, Nicaragua, 1990-2014

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Breaking the cycles of poverty : Strategies, achievements, and lessons learned in Los Cuatro Santos, Nicaragua, 1990-2014

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Breaking the cycles of poverty : Strategies, achievements, and lessons learned in Los Cuatro Santos, Nicaragua, 1990-2014
Author Zelaya Blandon, Elmer ; Kallestal, Carina ; Pena, Rodolfo ; Perez, Wilton ; Berglund, Staffan ; Contreras, Mariela ; Persson, Lars-Ake
Date 2017
English abstract
Background: In a post-war frontier area in north-western Nicaragua that was severely hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, local stakeholders embarked on and facilitated multi-dimensional development initiatives to break the cycles of poverty. Objective: The aim of this paper is to describe the process of priority-setting, and the strategies, guiding principles, activities, achievements, and lessons learned in these local development efforts from 1990 to 2014 in the Cuatro Santos area, Nicaragua. Methods: Data were derived from project records and a Health and Demographic Surveillance System that was initiated in 2004. The area had 25,893 inhabitants living in 5,966 households in 2014. Results: A participatory process with local stakeholders and community representatives resulted in a long-term strategic plan. Guiding principles were local ownership, political reconciliation, consensus decision-making, social and gender equity, an environmental and public health perspective, and sustainability. Local data were used in workshops with communities to re-prioritise and formulate new goals. The interventions included water and sanitation, house construction, microcredits, environmental protection, school breakfasts, technical training, university scholarships, home gardening, breastfeeding promotion, and maternity waiting homes. During the last decade, the proportion of individuals living in poverty was reduced from 79 to 47%. Primary school enrolment increased from 70 to 98% after the start of the school breakfast program. Under-five mortality was around 50 per 1,000 live births in 1990 and again peaked after Hurricane Mitch and was approaching 20 per 1,000 in 2014. Several of the interventions have been scaled up as national programs. Conclusions: The lessons learned from the Cuatro Santos initiative underline the importance of a bottom- up approach and local ownership of the development process, the value of local data for monitoring and evaluation, and the need for multi-dimensional local interventions to break the cycles of poverty and gain better health and welfare.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2017.1272884 (link to publisher's fulltext.)
Link https://doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2017.1272884 .Icon
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Host/Issue Global Health Action;1
Volume 10
ISSN 1654-9880
Language eng (iso)
Subject Poverty alleviation
community participation
microcredits
education
water and sanitation
scale-up
under-five mortality
Health and Demographic Surveillance
System
Medicine
Research Subject Categories::MEDICINE
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/25058 Permalink to this page
Link to publication in DiVA Find this research publication in DiVA.
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