Bolivia

The climate is harsh at 4,000 m in the Bolivian highlands and climate change has made conditions even rougher. Helvetas supports farmers to better adapt their crops and cultivation methods to the impacts of climate change and facilitates access to markets to sell the produce. Besides, Helvetas provides technical assistance to local authorities to improve municipal waste management systems.
  • Capital
    Sucre
  • Area
    1,098,581 km²
  • Poverty rate*
    5% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
  • UN DEVELOPMENT INDEX*
    Rank: 107 out of 188
  • Population
    12,000,000
  • People supported per year
    72,963
  • Thematic focus
    Climate & Disaster Resilience
    Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion
    Private Sector Development
    Urban Engagement
* Source: UN Data/ Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) Bolivia

At an altitude of over 4,000 m, the climate is harsh and alternates between extreme solar radiation and icy temperatures. These extremes have always posed formidable challenges to small farmers in the Bolivian highlands. But now climate change is making conditions even more difficult for farming communities in the Andes. The extended dry season and the resulting scarcity of water make it hard for the rural population to sustain their livelihoods.

© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
Farmer family in Bolivia © Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
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© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
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© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
Cocoa farmers supported by Helvetas © Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
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© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
A family in the Altiplano © Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
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© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
Altiplano, Bolivia © Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
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© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
Altiplano, Bolivia © Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
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New marketing strategies for farmers

Helvetas supports farmers to adapt farming methods to these adverse conditions. Farmers and private sector actors explore new marketing strategies. Growing quinoa and cañahua (a kind of millet), for example, allows farmers to complement their diet and sell a surplus in the market which in turn increases their income. Helvetas has been active in Bolivia since 1992.

Support in waste management

Given the harsh conditions and dim prospects in the Andean highlands, more and more people are moving to the cities and regional centers. Increased urbanization poses new challenges to the Bolivian authorities. Helvetas supports regional and local authorities to improve waste management and sewage systems. This includes environmental education, such as teaching children at school about recycling.

Participation in decision-making for the resources

The country’s rich natural resources (especially natural gas) and access to water have always been contentious issues in Bolivia, especially as not everyone reaps the benefits of these natural resources. In all our projects we seek to promote dialogue between political decision makers and interest groups. Helvetas advocates for the right of local communities to be informed and to have a say in decisions about the use of these resources and the revenues they generate.

Visit the website of Helvetas Bolivia.

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© Helvetas/Rigliana Portugal
© Helvetas/Rigliana Portugal
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© Helvetas
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© Helvetas/Mauricio Panoso
© Helvetas/Mauricio Panoso
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Our Projects in Bolivia

 If you would like to know more about our work in Bolivia, click on each project for details.

Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

In many countries where we work, men and women are unable to claim their rights and participate actively in decision-making processes.

Climate & Disaster Resilience

Every year, we support over 1,000,000 people in adapting to climate change, reducing the risks of disasters, sustainably managing natural resources, and conserving nature.

Private Sector Development

Youth need access to reliable, fairly paid jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Helvetas creates partnerships and promotes policies that build more inclusive economies.