UN rural development fund lends Bolivia $8 million for poverty alleviation

5 April 2011 – The United Nations rural development arm has lent Bolivia about $8 million to fund projects to alleviate poverty in two departments, the agency reported today following the signing of a financing agreement with the Government of the South American country.

The UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said the Government will also contribute $4.3 million to the project, with beneficiaries providing approximately $2.9 million in co-financing.

The poverty alleviation undertaking, dubbed “Plan Vida-Peep Pilot Project to Strengthen the Capacity of Communities and Families Living in Extreme Poverty,” will run for three years and will be implemented by Bolivia’s Ministry of Development Planning.

“The project is designed within the framework of the Bolivian Government’s Plan to Eradicate Extreme Poverty,” said Francisco Pichón, IFAD’s Country Programme Manager for Bolivia. “The project looks to strengthen food security for those living in extreme poverty at the same time ensuring these families are able to find opportunities to improve their income,” he added.

The scheme focuses primarily on poor rural families of Quechua and Aymara origin living in the northern Potosí and southern Cochabamba regions of Bolivia.

“The activities will be conducted in full respect of the communities’ cultural identities and social structure. The authorities, administrators and project technicians will adopt participatory approaches, thus ensuring all stakeholders are included in the decision-making process,” said Mr. Pichón.

More than 53 per cent of project funding will work to improve natural resource management and production systems, 16 per cent will go to community initiatives and 11 per cent is dedicated to strengthening productive infrastructure.

The financing will also work toward strengthening organizations, improving citizens’ rights, monitoring and evaluation, and other operational costs.

“The deterioration and fragmentation of traditional lands, coupled with lack of adequate technologies and natural resource management practices are some of the main causes of poverty among rural communities in these regions,” said Mr. Pichón.

“The joint work with the Government of Bolivia to provide the communities involved with the tools and training they need will break the cycle of extreme poverty,” he added.


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