President: Juan Evo Morales Ayma
Main Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Capital: Sucre (official), La Paz (administrative)
Major Religions: Christianity, Catholicism
Bordered by: Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil, and Paraguay
Compared with Australia…
|Life expectancy at Birth||82.5||68.7|
|Under 5 Mortality Rate**||3.8||38.4|
|GDP^ Per Capita||$43,655||$6,476|
*Human Development Index 2016 UNDP, rank out of 188 countries
**Per 1,000 live births
^Gross Domestic Product
Landlocked Bolivia is an incredibly diverse country, home to the Andes Mountains, Amazonian rainforests, Lake Titicaca, and the world’s largest salt flats. It also has the largest indigenous population of any country in South America, making up approximately two-thirds of its population of over 10 million, resulting in a culture rich with traditions and customs still very much alive today.
Bolivia is also one of the poorest countries in South America, poorer than the average for developing countries as a whole, with a Human Development Index (HDI) ranking of 118. It has faced high levels of persistent poverty and inequality. An estimated 39 per cent of the Bolivian population live in poverty, while 17 per cent live in extreme poverty (World Bank 2016). Bolivia is also among the most unequal countries in the most unequal region in the world, with most of the population living on very low incomes and a small elite controlling much of the country’s wealth.
One quarter of Bolivian children suffer some form of stunting as a consequence of malnutrition. A large percentage of the population also lack access to clean drinking water, which leaves children susceptible to dangerous waterborne diseases. Mortality, illiteracy and poverty rates continue to remain unnecessarily high especially in rural, indigenous communities. In adulthood, only 54.2 per cent of the population aged 25 and older has reached, but not necessarily completed, a secondary level of education (UNDP 2016).
TIA’s work is focused around Cochabamba, which is one of the largest cities in the country. Cochabamba is situated in central Bolivia, boasting a temperate climate making it a desirable place to live. With a population of almost 2 million, and growing exponentially, Cochabamba is vibrant and diverse, but also showcases the great divide between those living with extreme wealth and those experiencing severe poverty. The city is known as a hub for higher education, and draws many students locally and from surrounding countries. Cochabamba also benefits from industries such as oil refining, food processing, chicken farming and furniture making.