Why Volunteer in Bolivia?

by BoliviaBella.com

Bolivia is the second poorest nation in Latin America and the poorest nation in South America. Bolivia has experienced slow economic growth and GDP growth has slowed since 2013. Over 60% of the population still lives in poverty. According to the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report, Bolivia ranks 25th out of 30 countries in Latin America. The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic (composite index) of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development (low, medium, high, and very high human development). A country scores higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the GDP per capita is higher. (1) Volunteer work opportunities abound in the areas of education, agriculture, art, small business, home construction, and health.

Bolivia is a wonderful place to learn about multiple cultures (and languages!) in a single trip. Bolivia's official name was changed from Republic of Bolivia to Plurinational State of Bolivia in 2009 to reflect the over 30 native cultures and 36 official languages of Bolivia: Spanish, Aymara, Araona, Baure, Bésiro, Canichana, Cavineño, Cayubaba, Chácobo, Chimán, Ese Ejja, Guaraní, Guarasu'we, Guarayu, Itonama, Leco, Machajuyai-Kallawaya, Machineri, Maropa, Mojeño-Ignaciano, Mojeño-Trinitario, Moré, Mosetén, Movima, Pacawara, Puquina, Quechua, Sirionó, Tacana, Tapieté, Toromona, Uru-Chipaya, Weenhayek, Yaminawa, Yuki, Yuracaré, and Zamuco. (2)

Bolivia is the 8th most biodiverse country in the world. Scientists estimate that between 35-45% of the worlds biodiversity is found in Bolivia. Bolivia features dramatic variations in topography and climate which result in a wide range of ecosystems—from the spectacular mountain landscapes of the Andes to the dense rainforests of the Amazon to the unusual dry forests of the Chaco. Bolivia has designated more than 17 percent of its land as protected areas. (3) Many species are in danger of extinction or are being poached to fuel illegal animal trafficking and for use for questionable medicinal purposes and there are opportunities to volunteer in Bolivia that involve work with wildlife and the environment.

Bolivia is known as an "Andean" country; however, what many don't realize is that over 2/3 of the country is covered in rolling hills, savannahs, plains and tropical rainforest. With its dramatic variations in topography, the possibilities for fun and travel on your days off are endless. You can go spelunking, ziplinging, river rafting, swim in Amazon tributaries, hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, and more. But more importantly, you'll have a huge variety of organizations and a wide variety of cultures and geographical areas from which to choose once you decide that volunteering in Bolivia is a good option for you.

Bolivians are known for their warmth and hospitality. They find great joy in life, are very family oriented, and are welcoming to foreigners. They are proud of their country and eager for others to learn about it. You'll find when you volunteer in Bolivia, that you may find your own life has been changed as much as you hoped to help improve life for someone else.

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index
(2) http://www.boliviabella.com/bolivia-cultures.html
(3) https://www.amnh.org/explore/curriculum-collections/exploring-bolivia-s-biodiversity/exploring-bolivia-s-biodiversity

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Volunteer.