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.

WEFTA projects and programs in Bolivia in need of funding:

Capital:  La Paz

Area:  1,098,581 sq. km.

Population:  12,311,974 (2024)

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