Bolivia is one of Latin America’s poorest nations. The country has a history of internal conflicts, dictatorships and tensions between indigenous and non-indigenous populations. Caritas Australia’s programs in Bolivia promote economic development, ecological sustainability and human rights in both urban and rural communities.
Why do we work in Bolivia?
Bolivia, a landlocked country in South America stretching from the Central Andes to the Amazon basin, is one of the poorest in Latin America.
- Bolivia is ranked 158th out of 228 countries in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.
- Life expectancy at birth is low relative to other countries in Latin America.
- Maternal mortality rate is the highest of the Latin American countries in which Caritas Australia has long-term programs - more than three times higher than Brazil’s. Bolivia’s maternal mortality rates worsened slightly between 2008 and 2011; a period over which rates improved in most other developing countries.
Bolivia’s development is also highly unequal. The UN regional agency for Latin America estimates that Bolivia has one of the highest levels of wealth inequality in the world (ECLAC).
Bolivia’s Indigenous groups are particularly vulnerable. They are often too poor or live too remotely to access basic health and education services.
Widespread deforestation, erosion and poor land fertility compound the difficulties facing Bolivia’s rural and indigenous communities. Yet the country’s varied geography makes it one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. This valuable asset represents an opportunity for the development of remote communities, so long as it is managed sustainably.
Our work in Bolivia
In 2010/11 Caritas Australia implemented five projects in Bolivia through four local partners. More than $340,000 was spent on a variety of issues including disaster risk reduction, emergencies, food security and sustainable agriculture.
Political instability continues to pose a potential threat to Caritas Australia’s programs.
Examples of our recent work
- Awareness campaigns to prevent the sexual and physical abuse of children and inform them of their labour rights were undertaken in Educar es Fiesta, Bolivia.
- The Ethno Eco Tourism project has introduced disaster preparedness and mitigation strategies to 3 communities in Bolivia. Community farms were relocated inland and pipes installed to aid drainage in the case of flooding.
- 16,000 Indigenous plants and trees were planted to improve drainage, protect forests and supports the ethno tourism program.