Bolivia

Bolivia is a land of extremes in many categories. One of its extremes is poverty. In fact, Bolivia is the poorest country in South America. Over 60% of the population in Bolivia is of indigenous heritage, including Aymará, Quechua, Guaraní and over 30 other ethnic groups. Over half of these indigenous groups live in extreme poverty. 

Chronic malnutrition faces 28% of indigenous children compared to 16% among the rest of the population. Infant mortality rates among indigenous people are 62 per 1,000 live births, twice what the rate is for non-indigenous groups. Poverty is a constant companion for many in Bolivia and the naturally sparse landscape along the high plains of the Andes adds to the difficulty by making life-sustaining agricultural endeavors even more challenging.

CHOICE Humanitarian has been working in the Altiplano ‘high plains’ region of Bolivia for over 25 years to help build a self-sustaining infrastructure in dozens of impoverished Aymará villages. Dramatic progress is being made in critical areas with even simple improvements like basic sanitation.

Willy Mendoza, the CHOICE Bolivia Director, believes that “True poverty is the lack of opportunity.” With Willy and his staff, CHOICE Humanitarian’s working strategy for Bolivia includes eco-friendly school construction projects, micro-credit and micro-enterprise programs, clean water systems, and latrine programs.  The Aymará heritage of Willy and his team gives them a special understanding of the culture and needs of the Aymará people. It also gives them an edge when it comes to implementing village-requested programs and projects.

The work and partnerships created by CHOICE Bolivia are virtually unique among U.S. NGOs working in development. CHOICE Humanitarian is one of the few U.S. - based organizations allowed by the Bolivian government to work in the country. CHOICE Humanitarian has a long record of trust and accomplishment in Bolivia that we are honored to uphold.


Message from Our Choice Bolivia Director, Willy Mendoza

Dear Humanitarian friends,

My name is Willy Mendoza, Director of CHOICE Bolivia. First I want to express how grateful I am for the opportunity to work on the important mission of combating poverty. I believe it is necessary for all people to be busily engaged in a good cause. Our cause is to help those in need to make a good living and have the resources to make a good life. CHOICE Humanitarian creates tools to help those in need and identifies strategies to enable them to overcome poverty. We believe that "poverty is a lack of opportunities” and CHOICE Bolivia’s work helps create these opportunities for people all over the country. Read More


History of CHOICE in Bolivia

Bolivia holds a special place in the history of CHOICE Humanitarian, as the first country we worked in. In 1988 CHOICE Humanitarian was informally organized and launched its inaugural expedition to Bolivia. CHOICE Humanitarian became an official nonprofit with 501(c)3 status in 1992. CHOICE is an acronym which reflects the values and guiding purpose of the organization - and stands for the Center for Humanitarian Outreach and Inter-Cultural Exchange.  For the full story on the history of Bolivia, refer to our founder’s story.

It was during this time that the current Director of CHOICE Bolivia, Willy Mendoza, began working for CHOICE as a volunteer. Willy and Maxima Mendoza were appointed to be Co-Directors for Bolivia. Read More


Meet our staff in Bolivia


# of villages worked in:

250

# of villagers impacted directly:

188,000

# of villagers impacted indirectly:

435,000


What We Do

Core Programs

Economic Development

  • Weavers Cooperative Program
  • Dairy Cooperatives
  • Ceramic Pottery Program
  • Micro Credit and Micro Enterprise Programs
  • Women’s Entrepreneurship Program

 

Leadership and Training

  • Village Leadership Training Program
  • DESCOM-FI (Bolivian Government’s Community Development and Institutional Strengthening Program)
  • Internship and Volunteer Development Program

 

Health and Education Initiatives

  • Eco Friendly Solar Classroom Program
  • Family Greenhouse Construction Program
  • Nutrition and Vaccination Training Program
  • Dental Clinic and Hygiene Programs
  • Community Led Total Sanitation Program
  • Health Post Construction Program
  • Construction Programs for the Elderly and Handicapped
  • Physical Therapy Facilities
  • Water Projects 

 

Environment Initiatives

  • Solar Cooker Program
  • Eco-Tourism Program
  • Tree Planting and Reforestation Programs

 

Cultural Preservation

  • Gender Equity and Women’s Empowerment Program 
  • Domestic Violence Prevention Program
  • Days for Girls Program
  • Community Cultural Center Constructions
  • Various Workshop and Street Fair Participation Programs
  • Ancestral Nutritional Values Education Program
  • Pachamama (Mother Earth) Devotional and Appreciation activities

 

Major Projects

  • CHOICE Humanitarian Learning Center in Viacha

Where We Work

Click here to see Bolivia's area of focus


Check out some of our Core Partners


View Upcoming Expeditions


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Contact Us

CHOICE Humanitaria Bolivia – Phone / Contact Information

Dr. Willy Mendoza – CHOICE Bolivia Director
wmendoza@choicehumanitarian.org
Calle Murillo 555
Viacha, La Paz, Bolivia
591-71990972