Bolivia, a landlocked country in west-central South America, borders Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, and Peru. On a high plateau between two Andes mountain ranges lies the Uyuni salt bed, the largest concentration of salt in the world.

  • Population: 10,496,000
  • Life Expectancy: 67 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 88%
  • School Enrollment: 91%
  • Land Mass: 424,164 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 91%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 41/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 2,220

Facts about Bolivia

Economic Development

Despite Bolivia being a country rich with resources, it is still one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Around 7 percent of the population is unemployed, and 45 percent is below the poverty line. Bolivia also has the highest income inequality in Latin America.

Child Protection

Violence against women has been increasing recently. Cases are seldom reported.


Educational opportunities are very unevenly distributed. Girls and children who live in rural areas are less likely to go to school.

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Progress in Bolivia

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2014.

  • Local youth networks were created in order to monitor the well-being of children and adolescents, and to raise awareness about the importance of protecting children and reporting abuse.

  • Children received extra help with math and language classes in order to improve their academic performance and help them succeed in their education.

  • World Vision organized nutrition education classes for parents and healthcare staff in order to reduce malnutrition for children.

  • Children, adolescents, teachers and parents have worked to free their communities from violence. They have also received training about child rights and how to prevent abuses so that children live in a safe environment.

  • Teachers were trained on how to innovate their teaching methods in order to enhance their students' academic, communication, and reasoning skills.

  • Parents, teachers, and healthcare workers were trained in an approach to children's health known as Integrated Management of Childhood Illness with Christian Values (IMCI). IMCI focuses on the well-being of the whole child to reduce illness and promote development. The goal is to improve preventive and curative health at clinics and at homes.

  • World Vision partnered with local churches to improve the lives of children and their families, and to teach about responsibility, leadership, self-esteem, and the surpassing love of Jesus Christ.

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    World Vision in Bolivia Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Bolivia to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 19,200 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Bolivia. Highlights include:

    • Improving availability and access to food for the most vulnerable families and communities.
    • Providing families with housing, food, clothing, and water during disasters such as droughts, landslides, and flooding.
    • Fighting violence against children by working with government in creating norms and conditions to protect children’s rights.
    • Offering loans to disadvantaged Bolivians, allowing them to generate income through agriculture, raising livestock, neighborhood services, and local trade.

    World Vision History in Bolivia

    World Vision involvement in Bolivia began with a 1965 pastors conference. Child sponsorship began in 1975. Since then, some major accomplishments include:

    • Sponsoring children and establishing orphanages and childcare centers since the 1970s.
    • Supplying potatoes, vegetable seeds, and water pumps to Bolivians affected by a major drought during the 1980s.
    • Providing books, tables, and chairs to school children in the 1990s.
    • Training community healthcare providers and teaching children the importance of dental and general hygiene care during the 1990s.
    • Offering educational programs, family healthcare, agricultural training, and human rights advocacy since the beginning of the 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Bolivia, a landlocked country in west-central South America, borders Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, and Peru. On a high plateau between two Andes mountain ranges lies the Uyuni salt bed, the largest concentration of salt in the world. Lowland plains, gently rolling hills, and a dense tropical rainforest are in the east.

    Natural resources include gold, silver, tin, zinc, iron, oil, natural gas, timber, and hydropower.

    Most of Bolivia’s residents are Native American or mestizo, of mixed Spanish and Native American descent. The majority of Caucasian Bolivians, who make up 15 percent of the population, are of Spanish descent. The official language is Spanish; Bolivians also speak the Aymara and Quechua languages.

    Because roads are frequently flooded, the delivery and receipt of mail can be slow. It may take several months for residents to receive or reply to any correspondence.


    Bolivia was once a part of the Inca Empire before the 16th century, when Spanish forces took control of the area. After several years of struggle with Spain, the territory won its independence in 1825 and named itself after Simón Bolivar, who helped in the liberation.

    Bolivia has a long history of coups and civil conflicts. In 1982, the government returned to civilian democratic rule. Over the years, leaders have struggled to address social issues such as poverty and drugs.

    Carlos Mesa became president in 2003 during a controversy about the exploitation of the country’s natural gas reserve. Mesa resigned less than two years later amid protests over the rising price of fuel.

    Bolivian Amerindian activist Evo Morales won the presidency in December 2005 and 2009, becoming the country’s first indigenous president. His leadership continues to address social issues and to push for improvement.

    Prayer Requests for Bolivia

    • Please pray that children and youth in Bolivia would learn about their rights to education, protection, and healthcare.
    • Pray also for youth who are abusing drugs and alcohol and being tempted to join gangs.