MIRIAM, Nicaragua – For a life free from violence

MIRIAM fights for women’s rights and empowerment. Photo: © Itzel ChavarríaGraduates of the MIRIAM-school. Photo: © MIRIAM

"Every consultation session begins with a list: what types of violence does the woman experience? Usually this list covers the whole range from psychological, physical and economic to sexual violence. The first step for the woman is to learn to identify violent behaviour. Next, it is about recognizing that “machismo” and violence aren’t ‘natural’ and shouldn’t be accepted as such.” Scarleth Díaz

Project area: Regions Estelí, Managua and Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Supported by TDF since: 2012                                 

Target group: Girls and women affected by violence and economic disadvantages


  • Gender-specific violence is one of the greatest threats to physical and psychological health of women in Nicaragua. 
  • In 2016, there were 49 cases of femicide and in 2017, 47.
  • According to a study of the National Autonomous University of Managua of 2015, 70% of the questioned women regularly suffer physical and psychological violence from their partners.
  • Women are faced with a nationwide total ban on abortion.
  • Political unwillingness and slowness to put in practice the Law for the Protection of Women against Violence (Ley 779), and to tackle the issue of violence against women, threatens women’s health and disregards their rights.
  • Since the re-election of Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista National Liberation Front as president in 2006, the influence of the Catholic church on family politics has been growing constantly. Over the past years, strengthening family cohesion has become more important than implementing women’s rights, being illustrated, for example, by the decision of the government to reintroduce mediation between the perpetrator and the affected person in specific cases of violence.
  • “Machismo” is deeply rooted in Nicaraguan society, and the constant reproduction of patriarchal, conservative norms contributes to the lack of awareness of perpetrators and even the affected women.

Project activities:

MIRIAM fights for the right to a life free of violence and the right to education of girls and women in Nicaragua. The non-governmental organization was founded in 1989 by scholarship holders of a private funding initiative for university studies. Since 1995, the organization has been offering legal support to girls and women affected by violence, in addition to the constant extension of the prevention and empowerment work.

  • Fighting impunity: Psychological and legal support of girls and women with experiences of violence.
  • Knowing women’s rights: In workshops, women and men learn about women’s rights, reflect upon violent structures and are trained as multiplicators, so they can pass on the information in their communities and assist in cases of violence.
  • Schooling, vocational training and economic empowerment: Women aged over 14 can attend courses in literacy, sewing, hairdressing, cosmetics or computation. This opens up new income opportunities.   
  • Promoting university studies: MIRIAM’s scholarship program provides women with the financial means for their university studies, and offers personal development and gender-related workshops. 
  • Promoting social change: Political lobbying and public relations work.


Since the founding of MIRIAM, over 31.000 girls, boys, women and men have been supported:

  • 500 women participated in the literacy courses, completed primary school or a vocational training or were granted a scholarship for their university studies.
  • 300 women affected by violence were informed about their rights or supported psychologically and legally.
  • 200 children, young adults, women and men have been trained and actively involved in the prevention of violence against women, sexual exploitation and trafficking in women.

Project manager: Yolanda Acuña Urbina

Contacts: Voluntary project coordinator Wencke Loesener (nicaragua@frauenrechte.de)
or TERRE DES FEMMES – section international cooperation (iz@frauenrechte.de)


In order for MIRIAM to continue their work in an increasingly challenging political context, your support is needed.

Support MIRIAM with a one-time donation or contribute regularly and become a sponsor!

You can also donate to the following account, using the keyword “Nicaragua” as a reference for your payment:

IBAN DE35 8309 4495 0103 1160 00


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