Development Projects in EcuadorEcuador is a South American country bordering the Pacific Ocean. Its rich history, vibrant culture and diverse landscape make it a hotbed for tourism, agriculture and natural resources. Despite the broadness of Ecuador’s economy, its citizens have lived through inequality and poverty. However, development projects in Ecuador are strengthening its economy and expanding access to its people.


The overall health of Ecuadorians has improved dramatically in recent years. Deaths due to malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and under-five mortality rates are all below the global baseline set by the World Health Organization. This can, in part, be attributed to programs such as the Peace Corps’ community health projects. These programs seek to improve access to maternity care and birth control and to prevent tropical diseases, among other things.

Infrastructure – Roads

Ecuador’s coastal roads were little more than dirt paths until an $800 million allotment in the late 1990s with an additional $5 billion planned. The last ten years alone have seen 700 miles of new roads built, roughly a tenth of Ecuador’s entire road network.

Infrastructure – Water

Along with Ecuador’s road system, improved sewage management is helping develop the country’s infrastructure. While there is an abundance of water in Ecuador, roughly 10 percent of drinking water is untreated. Sustainable water systems are Ecuador’s goal, of course, but the country has made tremendous strides in updating its sewage system over the last few years. One of the ways this is being accomplished is through a new wastewater treatment plant in the city of Santiago de Guayaquil, strategically placed between two major rivers.


The First Social Development Project serves to modernize Ecuador’s education system. The World Bank is overseeing the development of this project and seeks to improve education through multiple means. These include improving classroom materials and teacher training, decentralizing management and offering assessment programs to ensure continued improvement across the board. Additionally, the program is increasing access to special education as well as adult and vocational education.


Until May 2017, Rafael Correa served as Ecuador’s president for a decade. His presidency mirrored a period of growth and sustainability. Ecuador’s gross domestic product and wages increased, while unemployment, inflation and poverty rates decreased. While no longer serving as Ecuador’s president, the country saw sustainability under his administration. While many development projects in Ecuador stemmed from President Correa’s management, perhaps the most important factor to an improved economy is the consistent management of its resources.

Development projects in Ecuador are making a difference. Access to quality water, education and healthcare, coupled with a strong economy and well-managed infrastructure creates a recipe for success to a developing country. These projects seem to be putting Ecuador on the right path.

– Eric Paulsen

Photo: Flickr

Education in Ecuador

In 2008, more than 65 percent of the Ecuadorian population voted to implement a new constitution. President Rafael Correa proclaimed Ecuador a new nation that day. He asserted that this constitution, with its potential for broad social reform, would help catalyze his efforts to transform the economy and alleviate poverty.

The president considered education reform to be an essential component of his initiative: The Citizens’ Revolution. Section Five of the constitution is dedicated to outlining the ways and means by which education in Ecuador should be viewed as a human right. This includes Article 27, which guarantees “Universal access, permanence, mobility and graduation without any discrimination.”

While access to higher education for all is a top government priority, quality has become the focus of many reform efforts. Standards are a relevant concern in discussing education in Ecuador largely because of the country’s past. Despite previous attempts to make education a primary concern, none of the conventions or programs ever gained any traction.

Well-implemented public education programs in the 1970s increased school life expectancy. Decreased illiteracy brought on a “Golden Era” for education in Ecuador. By 1980, education amounted to a third of total government outlays, yet expansion came with resource issues that forced the 90s to be a decade of regression. Free public education was abandoned, the Ministry of Education weakened, student enrollment came to a halt, as well as a plethora of other problems.

To avoid the trends of the past, President Correa established the Council for Evaluation, Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education (CEAACES) in 2010. This government organization is charged with the responsibility of improving the quality of higher education in Ecuador.

CEAACES evaluations are obligatory and use a multi-criteria methodology to make numerically subjective judgments when evaluating an institution. Each institution then receives a ranking, the worst of which are subject to suspension for lack of quality. Accreditation is required in order to provide any academic programs, thereby regulating the academic standards of education in Ecuador.

Yet, while the CEAACES ensures a quality system, it does nothing to maintain it.

In 2013, as a part of The Citizens’ Revolution, President Correa introduced Yachay, the City of Knowledge. “Yachay” translates to “knowledge” in the indigenous Quechua language. It is a pivotal step in Correa’s plan to transform Ecuador into a knowledge-based economy. When all is complete, the City of Knowledge will house Yachay University (known as Yachay Tech), 13 public research institutes, a technology park and industry.

Yachay Tech opened for its first semester in March 2014 as one of the only institutes for postgraduate education in Ecuador. Its staff currently consists of 32 teachers, all of whom have PhDs, most of whom are international. The objective of the institution in the short term is to provide its students with a research-intensive education rare to Ecuador. In the long term, it aims to produce “about 1,000 master’s and PhD students, who will eventually provide staff for other institutions.”

As hoped, the Citizens’ Revolution has been an effective agent in President Correa’s poverty relief initiatives. With the education reform set in place, along with the other social policies the new constitution has allowed Correa to implement, Ecuador has become a regional frontrunner in poverty reduction. According to the World Bank, the poverty headcount ratio at national poverty lines has decreased by 12.6 percent from 2008 to 2014.

Other countries can learn from this revolution, that investing in people is a winning strategy. Correa has managed to actuate a new form of economy, not reliant on resources that may one day be exhausted, but instead reliant on its own human capital. With the aid and skill provided by the government now, the people of the Citizens’ Revolution will be the catalyst of a diverse Ecuadorean economy. They will lift others out of poverty and create opportunities for all in a hub of innovation.

Alexis Viera

Photo: Flickr