Nicaragua has about 5.4 million people living in a country slightly smaller than the state of New York. Half of the population is under 16 years of age. Nicaragua exports coffee, shrimp, lobster, tobacco and cotton. It is between the third poorest country in the western hemisphere, with 80% of its population living below the poverty line and about 49.5% of people earning less than a dollar per day. Women head 34% of the homes. Half of school aged children do not (cannot) attend class. More than half the deaths of children under four are caused by preventable diseases (diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition etc).
More than 600 babies and children aged 6 months to 6 years are served QPM porridge with pinches of barley malt that will allow them to absorb protein and double caloric intake. Mothers receive education in proper health, nutrition and sanitation practices. They also receive loans to cultivate QPM seed to benefit the entire family.
In 2012, the Nicaraguan government restructured the day care centers and Self-Help no longer provides QPM porridge to the children.