For many years, there has been an enormous effort by the Government of Bolivia (GOB) to improve citizen’s access to health services and education, and increase employment opportunities. Official GOB statistics point to development challenges that the country is addressing in its National Development and other plans.
• 60% of the country’s population lives in poverty and 37.7% live in extreme poverty. Rural poverty is 77.3%.
• Of every 1,000 live births, 50 infants die within the first year. Life expectancy in Bolivia, at 65 years, is below the region’s average.
• School attendance has improved, though illiteracy remains at about 10% in rural areas (Instituto Nacional de Estadistica/Encuesta de Hogares 2007). On average, children in rural areas attend school for just over four years.
THE USAID ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
USAID is assisting Bolivians to address their development challenges through programs that support and complement the Government of Bolivia’s National Development Plan. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, USAID provided $59.7 million in funding to Bolivia for the following programs:
Working with the public and private sectors, USAID increases access to quality health services across the country, with a focus on the rural poor. USAID’s program aims to strengthen the capacity of individuals, families and communities to adopt healthier behaviors and have greater control over their own health; expand delivery of high-impact health services; and improve the institutional capacity of the health system.
• Since 2007, over 63,000 children in 48 municipalities have received immunizations through USAID support for national and local vaccination campaigns.
• Approximately one million poor Bolivians use USAID-funded or USAID-assisted health services in the country every year.
INTEGRATED ALTERNATIVE DEVELOPMENT
In close coordination with the Government, USAID’s Integrated Alternative Development Program supports the expansion of economic opportunities to farmers and other economic actors in coca growing regions and helps to improve social conditions by providing citizens with expanded access to essential public services.
• In FY 2009, the export value of USAID-assisted products (banana, palm heart, pineapple, coffee, and cocoa) from the Yungas and Cochabamba Tropics regions surpassed $39.5 million, a $4.5 million increase over the previous year. In FY 2009, U.S. assistance also helped introduce, establish or rehabilitate 4,047 hectares of crops, thus helping to increase sales and incomes for thousands of farmers.
• From 1999 to March 2008, more than 8,218 kilometers of roads in the Cochabamba Tropics and Yungas of La Paz Department were maintained or improved and 186 bridges were built with USAID assistance through a contract with a Government of Bolivia institution.
• In FY 2009, potable water systems and bathroom facilities constructed with USAID assistance improved living and social conditions for 2,030 families in the Yungas region.
SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND ENVIRONMENT
USAID programs provide productive opportunities by promoting sustainable agriculture and natural resources-based value chain integration and market linkages in both rural and urban areas of Bolivia. USAID programs provide support to: improve agricultural productivity to increase incomes and reduce food insecurity; promote conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity goods and services to increase incomes and promote economic growth; improve competitiveness and productivity of micro, small, and medium sized businesses and their service providers to generate sustainable employment opportunities and increased sales; and strengthen Bolivia’s ability to respond to the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change.
• Since 2003, USAID has assisted in the creation of over $42 million in value-added exports, generated more than 12,600 full-time jobs (many of these for women), and incorporated over 780 small enterprises into export chains.
• Since 1994, USAID has supported Bolivia in creating and implementing a new forestry management system that helped set the international standard for sustainable forest management. USAID’s support helped lead to improved access to forest resources by social and indigenous groups and improvements in value-added wood processing, and Bolivia has emerged as a world leader in forest certification.
• Since 2001, USAID has worked with more than 50,000 farmer families in the Valleys and Altiplano regions to improve production of onions, chili pepper, peanuts, oregano and other products. USAID’s support has led to $25 million in new sales, and these farmers increased their incomes on average by 50%.