Sida's work in Bolivia
Although Bolivia has made significant economic and social progress over the past 15 years, many Bolivians still live in poverty. Sida’s support contributes to strengthening democracy and respect for human rights, increasing gender equality, reducing the country’s climate impact and improving living conditions.
Progress has been made
Poverty is declining
Poverty in Bolivia has decreased significantly. In 2000, just over 62% of the population lived in poverty; by 2019, this figure was less than 20%.1
More mothers survive childbirth
The country’s maternal mortality rate was halved between 1990 and 2015, to 155 per 100 000 live births.2
Decreasing child mortality
The percentage of children dying before their fifth birthday decreased from 50 to 21 per 1000 live births between 2002 and 2019.3
Gender based violence is high
More than half of the women in Bolivia have been subjected to violence from a partner.4
Ongoing deforestation in Bolivia is having a major climate impact. Deforestation is also contributing to reduced biodiversity and the disappearance of species.
Many children work
Even if things have improved, it is estimated that a large proportion of children are engaged in child labour, many of them performing hazardous work.5
Utvecklingssamarbete i Bolivia
Rich in natural resources, Bolivia stretches from the Andes in the west to more low-lying forested areas in the east. Poverty is only one of the country’s many social ills: the majority of women in the country have been subjected to gender-based violence and large parts of the population lack access to running water and functioning sewerage. Despite the major challenges facing the country, Bolivia is now considered a middle-income country.
Over recent years, the country has been mired in political crisis. After a disputed election result, President Evo Morales was removed from power after 14 years in office. Violent protests erupted and an interim government led the country into new elections, won handsomely by former Minister of Finance Luis Arce.
During 2019, Bolivia suffered the most catastrophic forest fires in its history, when an area the size of the Netherlands burned down.
Human rights and gender equality
Democratic development in the country is somewhat precarious and human rights are not fully respected. There is widespread corruption6 and an ineffective justice system. Women are discriminated against, subjected to violence and have significantly lower incomes than men.
Independent electoral authority
Bolivia’s development has been hampered by the ongoing political crisis. Sida has been a leading donor to the restoration of Bolivia’s independent electoral authority, which conducted the general election of October 2020, as well as to the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the country.
Preventing violence against women
Bolivian society is characterised by patriarchal structures. Through the NGO Promundo, Sida contributes to addressing issues of masculinity focused on behavioural change to prevent violence against women and children
Empowering young women and indigenous people
Teenage pregnancy is commonplace and many young women are subjected to violence. Sida supports United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to reduce maternal mortality, reinforce the reproductive health and rights of young women and indigenous peoples and to support women who are subjected to violence.
Environment, natural resources and resilience
While Bolivia remains one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, that diversity is under threat from climate change and the exploitation of country’s natural resources. The forest fires of 2019 had a devastating effect on the country. Air and water pollution and environmental toxins are leading to a deterioration in human health and access to water. The agricultural sector is inefficient and vulnerable to extreme weather, with many areas suffering annual droughts and flooding.
Improving water and wastewater system
Large parts of the population lack access to water, sanitation and adequate waste management. Through cooperation with Aguatuya and a number of Bolivian municipalities, Sida contributes to an improved and more sustainable water and wastewater system.
Sustainable farming methods reduce the risk of wildfires
Recurring forest fires are having a devastating effect on the rural population and their livelihoods. Sida supports the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is working with Bolivia’s rural population to develop sustainable farming and working methods to reduce the risk of forest fires
Increasing knowledge of climate impact
Many people are unaware of how they can reduce their climate and environmental impact. Sida supports the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in its work to increase knowledge among children and young people.
More sustainable food production
Bolivian agriculture is severely affected by pests and other climate effects; in certain areas production has been slashed by 43 percent. Together with the foundation Swisscontact, Sida contributes to ensuring that more farmers use organic pesticides and to strengthening collaboration between private and public-sector stakeholders within the agricultural sector for more sustainable food production.
Improved living conditions
More than a third of the population of Bolivia live below the national poverty threshold and the wealth gap is wide.7
Bolivia is wealthy in natural resources such as natural gas, oil and minerals. As the Bolivian economy is dependent on the export of raw materials, the country has been hard-hit by falling prices on world markets over recent years.
Strengthening women’s economic power
Bolivia is being severely affected by climate change. The Bolivian foundation Fautapo promotes ecosystem services and the sustainable use of natural resources and strengthens women’s economic power, especially in areas impacted by climate change
Access to Swedish and European markets
Bolivian producers of so-called superfoods such as quinoa find it difficult to sell their products to other countries. In collaboration with Open Trade Gate Sweden, Sida contributes to providing Bolivian food producers with access to the Swedish and European market.
Sources on this page
- Share of Bolivians living in poverty On the Macrotrend webpage
- Maternal mortality Bolivia on the World Bank webpage
- Child mortality Bolivia on the World bank webpage
- The report Bolivia: Fighting to end gender based violence, from Handicap International on Reliefweb
- Child labour Bolivia on the american Bureau of International Labour Affairs´ webpage
- Corruption Index 2020 on the Transparency International webpage
- Share living below the national poverty threshold in Bolivia on the World Bank webpage
Updated: December 3, 2021