This landlocked country is the poorest country in South America by numerous economic indicators. Though extreme poverty has been on the decline, 41% of families in rural areas still today are unable to afford a minimum amount of food, which makes Bolivia one of the countries with the highest income inequality in the Western Hemisphere.
Esperança’s current longest standing partner is Esperanza Bolivia; the two organizations began work together in 1986. All of Esperanza Bolivia’s programs focus on health; its model consists of a train-the-trainer approach, where volunteer promotores de salud (health workers) provide vital information to fellow community members going home to home and helping their neighbors understand how to prevent or mitigate life-threating diseases like Chagas, malaria and tuberculosis.
According to the World Bank, the poverty headcount ratio of Ecuador was reported at 21.5 % in 2017. One of the greatest disparities of this South American country is that of access to quality surgical care. A mere 6% of all surgical procedures occur in the poorest countries, where over a third of the world's population lives. At Esperança, we are working to bridge that gap.
Esperança’s newest international partner is Hospital León Becerra de Guayaquil based in Ecuador. The Esperança team performed a site visit in 2018 and sent its first three surgical missions to the hospital in 2019. In addition to surgery, education is a main component of our work in Ecuador. During the week-long mission trip, surgical volunteers provide educational seminars to local staff, ensuring that patient care is sustainable after the team leaves.
Nicaragua is located in Central America and is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Over 75% of its people live on less than $2 a day. Forty-one percent of Nicaragua’s population live in rural areas. While Nicaragua’s economy has been growing, many rural households are headed by women, who are among the poorest and most disadvantaged groups in rural Nicaragua.
AVODEC (Asociación de Voluntarios para el Desarrollo Comunitario or “Association of Volunteers for Community Development) works toward the long-term sustainable development of impoverished communities. AVODEC was founded in 1998 after the devastating Hurricane Mitch destroyed much of the country. Esperança began partnering with the small, grass-roots NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in 2001. AVODEC’s headquarters are in Jinotega, the capital of the department of Jinotega, which is in the north central region of the country. Jinotega is characterized by mountainous terrain, and it is the central coffee-growing region in the country.
AVODEC’s services focus on Jinotega’s poorest residents by providing clean water and sanitation, food security, housing improvement, health education, and disease prevention solutions. AVODEC’s programs focus on developing long term, sustainable solutions for those who lack basic needs.
Esperança has been working in Mexico supporting the Educarte program operated by our partner Asistencia Integral Para Menores de Puerto Peñasco (AIM Peñasco) or “Comprehensive Support for Youth in Puerto Peñasco” since 2021. Also known as Rocky Point, this popular tourist destination only 60 miles south of the Arizona border has experienced an explosion of development over the past several years. Despite a boom in tourism, however, more than a third of local residents live in moderate or extreme poverty. Unfortunately, a lack of resources leaves many of these families having to choose between sending their children to school and meeting their basic needs.
AIM Peñasco employs a team of local professionals who operate a comprehensive, community-wide program called Educarte. This local team understands that a lack of access to education leaves many kids in Rocky Point trapped in the cycle of poverty. Since 2016 they have been committed to providing young people in the community with the long-term, consistent support they need to go to school and thrive inside and outside the classroom. In its first year, 72 students from kindergarten through high school were supported by the Educarte program. Today, the local team has grown to more than 15 professionals supporting more than 600 students, including several dozen now in college.
In this southeastern country of Africa, Mozambican families are learning to prevent three deadly diseases: HIV/AIDS, cholera and malaria. We currently work in one community, and are hoping to expand services to another in the coming years.
Mozambique has been ranked the sixth poorest country in the world by the World Bank. In this area of the world, HIV/AIDS, cholera and malaria have decreased the average life span to just 48 years. Approximately 1 out of 4 people living in Maciene have HIV/AIDS.
We have been working in Mozambique with our partner NGUNI since 2014.
The highlands of Peru are home to some of the most impoverished people in South America. The regions of Apurímac and Cusco, where mountain peaks can reach 20,000 feet above sea-level, are contiguous areas known for people living in “extreme poverty,” or living on less than $2 per day. Geographic isolation due to the rugged mountain terrain in highland Peru is thought to be the largest contributing factor to poverty (though there are also other factors, including linguistic and educational barriers). Access to health care is also limited and many women give birth at home in these rural regions without assistance from a trained health care specialist.
Esperança began working with our nonprofit partner CADEP (Centro Andino de Educación y Promoción) in 1997, partnering around our shared mission and values to reduce infant mortality in these regions. After grant funding for these projects ended in 2002, Esperança ceased its work in Peru. In 2014, Esperança made the strategic decision to work again in Peru, and after a long search, partnered again with CADEP. CADEP’s headquarters are based in the world-famous city of Cusco, though the organization serves the highland regions of Apurímac and surrounding areas, reaching way outside of the city limits and where most people speak the indigenous language of Quechua. CADEP’s focus is assisting people in these rural communities with agricultural and food security programs, as well as ecological housing or housing improvements using materials from the local area. CADEP also is Esperança’s partner in hosting surgical missions, in the city of Abancay.