Some sociopolitical stability has returned in Bolivia since Luis Arce of the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) party was elected president in late 2020.
Improving indicators have allowed the Bolivian economy to approach regional averages. In 2021, gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.1 per cent because of rising domestic and external demand and strong raw material (mineral) prices.
The bulk of the growth occurred in the mining, construction, transport and communications sectors. However, agriculture and livestock production, grew by just 1.8 per cent, which was even less than the already low 3.1 per cent growth in 2020. This has had a huge impact on the living conditions of Indigenous peasant families and rural communities. The urban unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent in 2020 to 5.2 per cent in 2021. The prevalence precarious employment decreased year on year but remains high compared to past years, with women being most affected.
The Bolivian government declared 2022 as the Year of the Cultural Revolution for Depatriarchalisation for a Life Free of Violence against Women. This vision is significant for the advancement of women’s rights and has been integrated by several of our partners into their training activities.
However, the rival presidential aspirations of Arce, Evo Morales and David Choquehuanca are fomenting a new political crisis. Arce’s government used to work in close coordination with the MAS party, but recently, its president, Morales, seems to have declared an open political war, with the direction of the party ahead of the 2025 elections being the bone of contention.
By fostering the socioeconomic development of participating communities, our partners’ work helps reduce poverty, particularly among women and Indigenous people. Our programming also strengthens rural relationships and mobilization by promoting democracy, civic participation, and gender justice through various training and capacity building workshops.
Our partners are also addressing food sovereignty and ecological justice at a time when climate change is contributing to extended, disastrous spells of heavy rainfall. They provide training on:
Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada remains committed to programming that empowers local people through civil society engagement.
Family and community-based agriculture that respects the environment is at the heart of our food sovereignty efforts.
Capacity building for the leaders of our partner organizations, most of whom are Indigenous women peasants in impoverished peri-urban and rural communities, is a priority for us in Bolivia. It helps improve families’ living conditions by creating alternative income streams.