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

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 has the highest income inequality in Latin America.

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 2015.

  • Health centers and community health workers were equipped with training and materials to educate parents and guardians on nutrition, immunization, and other child health essentials.

  • Pregnant women and community members attended health workshops on prenatal and postpartum care, childbirth, and the importance of breastfeeding babies to prevent malnutrition.

  • Elementary school teachers were trained in fun methods for teaching math, language, and reading to help kids improve their academic performance.

  • Preschool teachers were trained in early stimulation practices to support the physical and mental development of children under age 5. They were also trained to share their knowledge with parents so they could practice the activities at home.

  • Our local staff served children and families as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love, seeking always to be faithful ambassadors of Jesus, the reason for our hope.

  • We worked with local partners and schools to educate teachers and parents on violence prevention, child rights, and good treatment in families, schools, and communities.

  • Children, youth, and local child protection networks were trained in leadership, children rights, and the prevention of violence, child labor, and human trafficking.

  • Through our health education programs, youth learned about reproductive health issues such as teen pregnancy and were trained to share their knowledge with their peers and in their communities.

  • Parents learned ways to stimulate their children’s learning and development and were encouraged to take their children to preschool so they can reach their full potential.

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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

    • Children to be safe and free from fear.
    • Job opportunities for people who are struggling to meet their children’s needs.
    • Children and youth to learn about their rights to education, protection, and healthcare.
    • Youth who are abusing drugs and alcohol and being tempted to join gangs.
    • For families affected by natural disasters, particularly those struggling to recover and rebuild their lives.
    • For increased protection of children’s rights, so they have the chance to thrive.
    • For the protection and care of vulnerable children, many of whom suffer violence and abuse.