The fresh elections in autumn 2020 restored a democratically elected government to Bolivia. The ruling party MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) faces significant challenges – it must facilitate democratic and non-violent development in a context of strongly polarised politics, while at the same time reducing the high level of social inequality in the country. Solidar Suisse has also been championing this form of development in Bolivia over many years of engagement. In recent years we have made an important contribution to reinforcing democratic structures at the community level.
Poverty reduced - inequality persists
Since Evo Morales was elected as Bolivia’s first democratically elected indigenous president in 2006, there has been significant progress in integrating the indigenous population. Yet racism remains widespread.
From 2005 to 2017, Bolivia managed to reduce extreme poverty from 19.2% to 4.5% thanks to measures on redistribution in favour of the poor, a stronger state role in the economy and advantageous commodity prices. The country’s ranking on the Gini index – which measures income inequality – fell from 58.5 to 42.2 points during the same time period.
However, the global commodity price crash in 2015 put a damper on the ten-year-long economic boom. Also, distribution of access to resources remains very uneven, which impacts women and young people most heavily. The large majority of the population is in informal or insecure employment. Seven out of ten women experience violence during their lives. Three current crises – political, health (Bolivia was hard hit by Covid-19) and climate – are putting the progress achieved at risk.
Life expectancy: 69,8 years
Average life expectancy in Switzerland: 83,6 years
Literacy rate: 4,3 %
Literacy rate among adults in Switzerland: 99,9 %
Gini Index: 42.2
The Gini Index measures the degree of income inequality: The higher the number, the more inequality. Switzerland: 32,7
Extreme poverty: 4,5 %
People who have to live on less than 1.90 dollars a day.
In Bolivia, Solidar Suisse is championing democratic values and participation. We create access to fair work with a particular focus on young people and we combat violence against women.
In the LanzArte project, young people express themselves and their views through theatre, dance and film. They then stand up for their rights with renewed self-confidence.Solidar Suisse has a recipe for success in creating employment opportunities for young people. The ingredients are: round tables, training, internships, start-up financing and coaching.
We have set up advisory centres to combat violence against women in 80 communities. Institutions and grassroots organisations are cooperating in networks – they offer support for affected women and drive social change.
«After my studies, the Solidar project gave me the chance to undertake an internship at a radio station. I’ve now got a job in television. I enjoy standing in front of the camera and the job enables me to feed my seven-year-old son.»