WEFTA engineers partner with a Bolivian NGO to facilitate much needed water and sanitation projects.

Bolivia is regarded as the poorest country in Latin America. It has the largest proportion (60%) of indigenous people in South America. According to the World Bank, 64% of the indigenous population lives below the poverty line and nearly 50% of its non-indigenous population lives in poverty.

Over the past few years, Bolivia has suffered the effects of climate change and extreme weather events with severe drought in some areas and torrential rains and flooding in others. Retreating glaciers are diminishing freshwater resources for small Andean Altiplano communities. Cycles of flood and drought cause food and water shortage problems for those most at risk – the poor and indigenous.

In Bolivia, 21% of the rural population does not have access to improved drinking water sources and 73% of its rural population does not have access to safe, private toilets.

Working together since 2004, engineers with WEFTA have developed a close relationship with the Bolivian NGO, Suma Jayma. Suma Jayma comprises Aymara indigenous persons from the Altiplano region in southwestern Bolivia.

WEFTA engineers and Suma Jayma technicians tailor projects to meet different communities’ needs by collaborating on the design and construction of drilled water wells, hand-dug wells with hand pumps, gravity-fed community water systems with protected spring sources, as well as latrine construction and consultation with municipalities on wastewater treatment facility design and operations.

Every time we send a crew on a trip to either help or assess a community, we ask our volunteers to write a Trip Report that details the trip through their eyes. These reports provide not only a first-hand perspective on our efforts to help communities, but also a glimpse of what it is like to be a WEFTA volunteer.


The World Factbook

Capital:  La Paz

Area:  1,098,581 sq. km.

Population:  11,639,909 (July 2020)

Languages:  Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, Guarani, and other foreign and native languages

Regions:  Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), lowland plains of the Amazon basin

Water & Health

Since 2002, WEFTA has been connecting donors, engineers, and communities in Latin America and Africa, all with the common goal of ensuring access to clean drinking water for everyone.

Sanitation & Environment

WEFTA engineers help facilitate community dialog leading to solutions for inadequate sewage treatment, and its environmental impacts. 


Development & Sustainability 

WEFTA volunteers work with the communities we partner with to develop the local skills needed to maintain and manage the water and wastewater systems constructed.