In a population of 10 million about 4 million Bolivians live below the national poverty line. The percentage is higher in rural areas, where three out of four people live in poverty. In indigenous communities, women and young people are particularly vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity.
Although it is a lower-middle-income country, Bolivia has significant income inequality between different population groups and geographic areas. The country ranks 118th out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index.
Five Talents has worked with Seeds of Blessing in Bolivia since 2009 to reach out to families living in extreme poverty. Seeds of Blessing helps the poorest people restore relationships and fight against poverty by helping them recover their dignity and become protagonists in their own development. The programme facilitates small businesses development through community financial services and business skills training in Tarija and its surrounding communities.
Participants join small savings groups and receive training in budgeting, saving, cost of credit, business planning, nutrition and discipleship. They also learn how to invest and grow their businesses. With their savings and loans, Seeds of Blessing members are able to improve their businesses and cover their basic food, health, education, housing, and business needs. Currently over 250 families are members and 75% describe the biggest changes in their lives as having savings and being brave enough to improve their lives.
The programme is managed by the Five Talents USA office. Read more about Bolivia by visiting their website.