Bolivia is the most isolated and poorest country in South America. Indigenous groups, mainly Quechuas and Aymaras, make up 62 percent of Bolivia's population. Poverty rates for this majority are extremely high and disproportionate to their non-indigenous counterparts; 74 percent of indigenous and 53 percent of non-indigenous Bolivians live daily in conditions of poverty. In rural areas, such as the highlands and valleys, these conditions worsen. Recent figures show that 72 percent of indigenous groups in rural areas are living in extreme poverty.
In Bolivia, The Hunger Project worked in partnership with Fundación Acción Cultural Loyola (ACLO) from 1997-2009 to empower indigenous communities overcome hunger, poverty and inequality within Bolivian society. Through radio programs, a monthly newspaper and training workshops, ACLO reaches more than half a million Quechua-speaking indigenous people in rural communities.
Throughout the course of Bolivia's recent national constitutional reform, ACLO supported the work of the Constitutional Assembly to promote the participation of rural indigenous organizations in the national debate and in the process of drafting the new national constitution. In addition, Radio ACLO, together with the Bolivian Network for Radio Education, initiated a Constitutional Radio Forum with national coverage, which reported on the events of the Constitutional Assembly.
Training Indigenous Leaders
From 1997-2009, The Hunger Project funded ACLO's program to train indigenous leaders for local development in the rural populations of Chuquisaca, Potosí and Tarija, as "peoples reporters" of Radio ACLO.
As part of this program, ACLO undertook the following activities:
- partnering with local municipal governments to assist with organization and funding of training expenses;
- developing comprehensive training programs for rural indigenous community members including social, economic and cultural themes; and
- strengthening the capacity of indigenous leaders, with a special emphasis on indigenous women, to influence public opinion in their communities and organizations toward exercising their civil and human rights.
In addition, ACLO utilized radio programming in indigenous languages as a tool for expressing public voice and disseminating information to local communities.
Supporting Disaster Preparedness
In response to the devastating effects of the La Niña/El Niño cycle, which resulted in prolonged drought and torrential rainfalls, The Hunger Project also assisted in the funding of ACLO's six-month initiative to assist 2,064 families in affected communities. The initiative aimed to provide immediate humanitarian assistance and support to revitalize agricultural production as well as long term resource management training in food security management and farming techniques.