Bolivia, a landlocked country in the heart of South America, is home to a diverse indigenous population. Poverty is widespread in the rural countryside, especially among indigenous communities where the majority of people live on less than $2 USD a day. Contributing to the high level of poverty is limited access to clean drinking water and sanitation.
According to the most recent Joint Monitoring Program Report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, 88% of people in Bolivia have access to improved water sources and 46% have improved sanitation facilities. However, in rural areas, access to safe drinking water is as low as 71% and sanitation coverage is as low as 10%.
Water For People began working in Bolivia in 1997. Since then, Water For People–Bolivia has developed a strategic program to address water and sanitation needs in four rural municipalities: Cuchumuela, Villa Rivero, Tiraque in the department of Cochabamba, and San Pedro in the department of Santa Cruz. In 2008, Water For People–Bolivia was invited by the Bolivian government to start work in one peri-urban area, District 9, outside the city of Cochabamba. And in 2011, Water For People–Bolivia expanded its program farther to the rural municipalities of Arani and San Benito, also located in the department of Cochabamba. Within each of these municipalities Water For People–Bolivia works with local government, communities, schools, and private and civil society organizations to reach high levels of water and sanitation coverage.