Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.
Bermudes Ramos now has two busy stalls in the open air Los Pocitos market outside of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, but he faced a crisis that could have destroyed all of his hopes for a better future.
“After the market burned to ashes in 2006, we didn’t even have food to eat,” said Bermudes. Fortunately for Bermudes and many of his fellow market vendors, the microfinance provider FIE had been lending to them for several years and understood their situation.
Bolivia’s public primary and secondary schools suffer from chronic underfunding, and a majority of pupils come from low-income families. For the poorest children, the food they receive while in school may be the only meal they receive that day and is important for academic performance as well as a source of nutrition in their diets. In 2001, USAID began introducing bananas into Bolivia’s school feeding program to provide affordable, high-quality and nutritious food to the school system.
In the mountain valleys on the Bolivian Andes’ eastern slope, most of Bolivia’s horticultural crops are grown though agricultural conditions which are largely unfavorable. In the Chuquisaca state high valleys, farmers make up the poorest people of Bolivia, with an average annual income of only $350. Families struggle to live on remote, arid land where roads are few and in poor condition, soil is poor, and the temperature fluctuations are extreme. People live in adobe houses and mostly cultivate low value potatoes and forage corn.
The City of El Alto in Bolivia has become a focal point for social and political unrest. Much of the discontent arises from poor living conditions, low incomes, and inadequate social services. For example, recent surveys indicated that only 68% of children under one year of age in El Alto had received the third required dose of a vaccine to protect them against pertussis, tetanus, polio, hepatitis B, and Hemophilus influenza B meningitis.
Last updated: November 22, 2013