The largest country in Central America, Nicaragua shares borders with Costa Rica and Honduras, and also shares a colorful and often-painful history of colonization, dictatorship, foreign involvement and abuse with many other countries on the isthmus. It is a country currently working to overcome years of dictatorship, civil war and natural disasters. A little less than one third of the population lives within the capital city of Managua, with a great number of the population living across the country in rural areas.
Access to quality education and healthcare is directly related to income levels and while both education and healthcare are officially free for all citizens, the poorest citizens often lack adequate healthcare. Education is free and compulsory for all children at the elementary level, though a lack of enforcement and economic need for children to contribute to household income keeps many children out of school.