Through its official foreign assistance agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. government supports development in several municipalities in the department of Oruro. Projects seek to reduce poverty through economic growth generated by enterprise development and increased productivity; and improve access to health care for the poor. USAID programs create opportunities for marginalized populations while promoting their social, political and economic inclusion.
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES FOR SMALL FARMERS
Some of Bolivia’s poorest municipalities are located in the Department of Oruro. With the cooperation of local governments, civil society organizations such as the Valleys Foundation (Fundación Valles) and producers’ associations such as the firm Bolivia Produce, USAID supports 150 families producing organic sweet onions for export in the Alantañita and Pasto Grande communities, where incomes have risen by 250% as a result of this initiative.
Sice 2006, 12 institutions –including small farmer groups, marketing firms, and USAID– joined together to form the Quinoa Alliance, to increase the production of organic quinoa from 5,000 to 30,000 tons annually; improve land management and quinoa processing; and link this improved production to higher paying export markets. The initiative is leading to important increases in incomes for indigenous farmers in Potosí and Oruro. A collateral activity is allowing community women to produce imperishable quinoa flowers for export.
IMPROVING THE HEALTH OF BOLIVIANS
USAID seeks to improve the health of underserved Bolivians by increasing access to quality health services through the strengthening of public and NGO health facilities and networks. Our program supports the Ministry of Health’s policy of extending services to rural areas, with a special focus on family and community health.
USAID provides sub-grants to local NGOs in Oruro for projects that support training, equipment and education activities in the areas of maternal and child health, nutrition, and reproductive health. USAID’s program also strengthens the capacity of municipal and local health authorities in health system management and planning through technical assistance and training. T
he program contributes to the improvement of reproductive health among adolescents through strategies and actions that facilitate access to information and quality services. USAID provides support for voluntary HIV counseling and testing services and education activities through the private sector, while also supporting training, equipment and human resources for the national HIV/AIDS program in Oruro.
With the assistance of USAID, two Bolivian NGOs, PROSALUD and CIES, are directly providing a range of primary health care services to the peri-urban and urban underserved populations of Oruro.
INTEGRATED FOOD SECURITY
Food security exists when people have both physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs for a productive and healthy life. In support to Bolivia’s National Development Plan, in the department of Oruro, USAID seeks to increase food security and decrease chronic malnutrition in rural areas through an integrated approach that addresses food availability, access, use and vulnerability. The program has also a strong focus in reducing the maternal-child malnutrition, addressing the lack of rural infrastructure, reducing threats to biodiversity, empowering populations that are vulnerable to climate change and promoting a more productive quinoa value chain.