Everything You Need To Know About Poverty In BoliviaIn 2021, the World Bank reported that national poverty in Bolivia was around 36.3%, with extreme poverty standing at 11%. The key responsible factors include the lack of human development and an ever-increasing unemployment rate. Also, ongoing socio-economic issues alongside a lack of education threaten the country’s economy and future.

The State of Education in Bolivia

Despite completing primary education, the majority of Bolivian students do not continue to secondary education. Increasing poverty rates have also affected children’s access to education. In 2014, the country passed legislation permitting child labor for children up to 10 years old and above. This led some families to prioritize their children’s work over their education.

In March 2023, 140,000 public school teachers participated in Bolivia’s largest strike since 2019. Outrage over a new curriculum that requires teachers to work additional unpaid hours prompted the strikes. Teachers are demanding an increase in the education budget, wages, and staff. With strikes becoming more common, students often have no one to teach them. This, in turn, impacts the education of Bolivian children negatively.

Malnutrition in Bolivia

Approximately 16% of children in Bolivia experience chronic malnutrition. Also, more than one in four children under 5 years old suffer from growth stunting due to chronic malnutrition, representing the highest rate in any Latin American nation. The country’s agricultural production has been stagnant, causing food insecurity among families, with 30% of households experiencing food shortages for more than three months a year. As a result, children are affected physically and academically, with many having to walk long distances to school on empty stomachs. Going through such levels of physical stress often impacts concentration levels among affected children.

Unemployment in Bolivia

In 2019, the unemployment rate in Bolivia was 3.7%, but it increased to 7.9% in 2020. The World Bank reported a drop to 5.1% in 2021. The low productivity of small-scale farming, droughts and decreasing product quality have caused a shrinkage in revenue generation in this sector. Poor infrastructure has also negatively affected the transportation of goods. Bolivia’s human development index ranking was 118 in 2021, indicating a lack of equal human development and underscoring the country’s poor economic state. According to the World Bank, Bolivia’s GDP per capita was $3,345 in 2021.

Poverty Alleviation Efforts

Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDGF), an independent organization, partnered with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), World Health Education (WHO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to implement the “Bolivian Government’s Zero Malnutrition Multi-sectoral Programme (PMD-C)” in the Andean region of Cochabamba. The program had three components: integrating nutritional activities into communities, educating and strengthening agricultural capabilities and improving the nutritional status of families. Following this intervention, reports indicate that 21,489 children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women gained better access to food of increased quality and quantity, there was a 50% reduction in anemia among children, and chronic malnutrition in children aged 6-23 months decreased by 30%.

In 2013, the World Bank supported the La Paz municipality in improving access to secondary education (as well as retention) for more than 10,000 at-risk students. It constructed and renovated approximately 240 classrooms, supplied learning equipment, supported staff and strengthened education management for primary and secondary schools in the area.

The Secondary Education Transformation Project financed an incentive program for students at risk of dropping out to help improve retention rates in secondary education levels. Collaboration with the Bolivian Salesian University led to the development and implementation of a postgraduate degree program. The partnership led to the construction of 19 buildings, benefiting more than 10,000 students and 11,000 staff members who were fully equipped and supported. These educational buildings are still in use as of April 2023. The aim is to reduce poverty in Bolivia for future generations.

Brighter Future for Bolivia

Bolivia has struggled with poverty due to inadequate and unequal education, chronic malnutrition, and persistently high unemployment rates even after the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, ongoing efforts are underway to improve Bolivia’s current situation. Organizations like UNICEF, WHO and UNIDO have implemented programs that aim to reduce malnutrition in the country. Also, the World Bank has been providing financial support to Bolivia’s education system. Local and humanitarian organizations are working to strengthen communities, promote a more sustainable economy and create a brighter future for Bolivia.

– Joshua Rogers
Photo: Flickr

What UNICEF Stands For
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is a program dedicated to providing developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries as well as supporting humanitarian efforts globally. UNICEF operates in over 190 countries in an effort to protect and save children’s lives.

How UNICEF Works

UNICEF receives its funding through donations from government entities around the globe as well as private donors. Of these funds, government entities are responsible for two-thirds of the organization’s resources. UNICEF stands for transparency. It reports that of the donations it receives, nearly 92 percent is distributed to relief programs.

UNICEF was founded in 1946 in an effort to help war-torn children in the many countries affected by World War II. In 1953, UNICEF dropped the words International and Emergency from its title in an effort to extend its reach to children in need in developing countries.

What UNICEF Stands For

Today, in cooperation with governments and NGOs, UNICEF stands for providing health care to children, promoting children’s rights and providing immunizations, adequate nutrition, safe food and water as well as basic education. UNICEF’s ultimate goal is to ensure that no child ever goes hungry, thirsty, dies prematurely or is bought, sold or otherwise victimized. In order to achieve this, UNICEF works with families in need and helps ensure adoption policies are in accordance with the best and most ethical practices today.

UNICEF stands for transparency in the nonprofit sector. It receives high praises from many watchdogs for its monetary transparency policies. Of every dollar spent, 90 cents go to children’s efforts, seven cents go toward fundraising efforts and three cents go toward overhead and administrative costs. As well as being transparent, UNICEF excels at working with other agencies and private businesses to fight for children’s rights.

UNICEF’s Partnership with Google

UNICEF works with companies like Google to respond to emergencies such as earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Most recently, UNICEF has worked with Google to help aid children and families affected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

As well as emergency aid, UNICEF and Google collaborate to support the annual flu shot campaign provided by UNICEF. This collaboration has raised over $600,000 toward UNICEF’s immunization program.

In 2016, Google helped UNICEF by donating $1 million to help fight the spread of the Zika virus. Google worked with UNICEF to build a program which tracked the anticipated outbreak of the virus and developed technology that is applicable to not only the Zika virus but other virus outbreaks in the future. With Google’s help, UNICEF helped prevent the spread of the Zika virus and saved the lives of many children and families around the world.

UNICEF is a program with the noble intentions of promoting children’s health and happiness around the globe. Many of the programs provided by UNICEF have helped greatly in reducing the abuse of children in over 190 countries. With its clear mission of transparency, UNICEF succeeds in providing aid to children and families in need. With the help of NGOs and companies like Google, UNICEF is set to continue its story of success in the future.

– Dalton Westfall

Photo: Flickr

How to Help the Extreme Poor in IndiaIndia is the second most populous country in the world and hosts one-third of the world’s extreme poor. It has the third highest number of people living with and dying from HIV/AIDS, and 60.4 percent of its population lives with unimproved sanitation facility access, mostly affecting Indians living in rural communities. Here are four ways to help the extreme poor in India.

According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), 47 percent of Indian girls are married by the age of 18. While it is illegal for girls in India to marry before the age of 18, many still do because their families live in poverty.

One method to combat child marriage is education. The non-profit Girls Not Brides, for example, is currently fundraising for Shadhika, an organization that pays tuition for at-risk Indian girls. Right now, they are $8,568 away from a $30,000 goal.

Donations to this cause enable more Indian girls living in extreme poverty to attend school and avoid underage marriage. By donating to this and other similar organizations, those who are not currently in India can still assist those in poverty.

Contact Congress
For 2017, the U.S. government plans to spend $49.5 million of foreign aid on health in India.  Half of this aid will be allocated for HIV/AIDS. To ensure the effectiveness of this aid, Congress is currently in the process of potentially passing the Global Health Innovation Act (H.R. 1660).

This act requires the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to give an annual report to Congress describing the “development and use of global health innovations” in their work.

Emailing or calling elected representatives will support this bill on top of promoting the use of health innovation to achieve an HIV/AIDS-free generation. Representatives need to know that their constituents are interested in a goal in order for it to get the attention it deserves.

Shopping is another way to help the extreme poor in India. Currently, about ten million Indian women are commercial sex workers–the Anchal Project wants to change that.

The Anchal Project employs Indian women, 85 percent of whom were once in the sex trade, to create and make original designs for ecologically sound clothing and fabrics (mainly scarves).

Shopping here will support women in their goal of earning full-time employment and leading change in their families and communities, in effect supporting the extreme poor in working their way out of poverty.

Stay Informed
As most of the world’s poor live in India, the country is a great focus for The Borgen Project and other organizations working to fight poverty. Read up on current struggles and efforts to improve conditions for the poor in India to better learn how you can keep helping in the future.

While people are often told that they as an individual can change the world, it often seems that the change desired is too arduous to achieve. Nevertheless, a community of people can come together to end global poverty and help the extreme poor in India.

Sean Newhouse

Photo: Flickr