Sumaj Kawsay

Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on World Vision operations

In support of public health recommendations outlined by the World Health Organization, some sponsorship program activities have been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Activities may include sponsor queries and correspondence, sponsor visits, gift notifications and gift deliveries. These temporary suspensions may affect the information you receive from us in the coming weeks and months. Learn more about our response to COVID-19.

Sumaj Kawsay's Community News

Thanks to the generous support of donors, we’re making great progress toward the well-being of children and their families. These are a few of the areas we focused on in the past year: 

Sumaj Kawsay is a community of contrasts in the heart of the Cochabamba district. Located between 3,400 and 4,420 metres above sea level, the region is known for its lakes, and is famous for the endangered Puya raimondii, a gigantic plant thought to be a living fossil. At the same time, it is also one of the poorest municipalities in all of Bolivia. Of a population of around 14, 836 people, 94.9% cannot provide for their basic needs.

Most families are indigenous Quechua, and Quechua is their first language. However Spanish is the official administrative language and is taught in schools. One in four people is bilingual, but most often they are men. Illiteracy is still high in the area, and is more prevalent in the female population (54%) than in the male (20%). The soils in the region are rich, fertile, and good for cultivation. Springs, streams, and irrigation dikes enhance the potential for agriculture in most communities. Temperatures average a cold 13℃, but can dip below zero.

World Vision began a project in this area after a group of community organizations asked for help. They had seen the impact of a similar program in a neighbouring area, and hoped that World Vision could help also help them address the poverty in their community.
Child Protection and Participation​
  • 2 churches and faith-based organizations have action plans , focused on care and protection for the community's most vulnerable children
  • 2 educational units incorporated child protection approaches into their curriculum
  • 100 parents learned positive parenting skills, including how to discipline kids without using violence, helping to protect girls and boys from abuse
  • 95 boys and girls aged 8-12 know at least three ways of protecting themselves or their peers, empowering them to act and speak up for children’s security in the community
Community Governance & Ownership | Partnering
  • 1 community organizations and local partners were trained in sponsorship monitoring
  • 300 sponsored children say that the events and activities planned for them through sponsorship are fun and meaningful,
  • 80 people were given information about World Vision and our work for children, empowering them to share their feedback with us
  • 95 kids and youth completed one of our life skills courses, empowering them with new skills and confidence for the future
  • 60 parents have learned ways of encouraging their children's complete development, providing necessary care, attention, social affection and stimulation
Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
  • 43 community members and partners report that they’re involved in the planning, monitoring and evaluation of work being done in the community, showing the active participation of many local stakeholders
  • 6 community health committees we are working with ran campaigns to improve local health services, to help kids and their families get the care they need
  • 2,379 children received food or nutrition supplements, helping to improve their overall health and development
  • 25 community health workers and volunteers were trained to give pregnant women and new mothers the information they need when they need it, helping to improve care for mums and babies
  • 2,500 people received information to help them cope with the stress and trauma of COVID-19, providing support for their mental health
  • 2,550 hygiene kits including soap, jerry cans, and handwashing supplies were given to community members, helping to protect kids and their families from COVID-19
  • 4,970 community members and medical staff were given personal protective equipment like soap, hygiene kits, and gloves, to help protect them and their families from COVID-19
  • 4,970 people learned how to use measures like handwashing and social distancing, helping to protect kids and families from COVID-19
  • 5 educational kits were given to school-age kids as part of our COVID-19 response, helping them to keep learning at home
  • 5 people in quarantine or isolation for COVID-19 were given support, helping to meet their physical and emotional needs
  • 7 cleaning and sanitising kits were given to health facilities, helping them to better protect patients from COVID-19
  • 1 committees learned how to manage, maintain, and repair their local water source, helping kids and their families to have clean, disease-free water for the long term
  • 260 more people now have a toilet at home, helping families to stop the spread of disease
  • 55 students have a place to wash their hands with soap at school, helping to keep them safer from disease
  • 1,100 more people now have clean water within 30 minutes of their home, helping to free community members, especially women and girls, from a life spent gathering water
  • 1,122 students who went to our hygiene training have put what they learned into practise, helping to keep them safer from disease​
Results of World Vision Canada's projects in Sumaj Kawsay, from October 2020 to September 2021

Explore Sumaj Kawsay

current conditions

To protect the privacy of children, this map shows only the general area of the community, not the exact location.

The needs in Sumaj Kawsay

Historically, this community has shown its commitment to children's education, and came together to build 17 of the 29 schools in the area. However, many of these structures are now old and dilapidated, lacking furniture, supplies, and teaching materials. Some don't have electricity, water, or sanitation facilities. Only two of the local schools provide education through the high school level.

Getting a quality education is a challenge. Pre-school programming is almost non-existent, causing children to enter primary school lacking the cognitive, motor, and social skills they need to succeed. For the many children who speak Quechua at home, transitioning to Spanish can be problematic. Teachers don't have the training or teaching aids to engage their students, and there is little support for children who experience academic challenges or have special needs. Many parents do not have the resources to purchase even the most basic supplies for their children. School attendance is also frequently disrupted by the seasonal migration of families in search of work.

On average, children in Sumaj Kawsay complete only 3.2 years of education. Unsatisfactory school performance and grade repetition in primary school are common, and the drop-out rate is high. Far fewer girls than boys attend school, and the area has been experiencing a decline in school enrolment in general.

Health Care
In a community where only 32% of families have access to piped water, most do not have latrines, or information about safe hygiene or food handling practices. As a result, children continuously experience diarrheal illnesses. This threatens the lives of young children, especially those who are already malnourished. One in four children under five is chronically malnourished.

Houses do not offer enough protection in this cold, damp region. Adobe walls, straw roofing, and earth floors are porous materials that increase the risk of respiratory infections. Mothers lack education about prenatal care, and they too are often weakened by diarrhea, respiratory infections, and prenatal diseases. The infant mortality rate is consequently very high; one baby dies for every ten live births. Babies often have low birth weights, which compromises their health from the start.

Economic Development
Most of the families rely on subsistence agriculture, either raising traditional crops of potatoes, beans, barley, oats, and wheat, or livestock, sheep, pigs, llamas, and fish. The plot size of an average farmer is small, and restricts production to the extent that families cannot break out of poverty. Most farmers have a limited understanding of modern agricultural techniques and land management. The majority work in isolation, and there is a lack of organization that would bring farmers together in their common interest. Many farms are remote, and do not have quick or easy access to markets. This necessitates that farmers sell their produce to middlemen at low prices.

With the combination of low returns from agricultural production, an absence of alternative sources of work, and worsening weather conditions like drought and hail, many families must migrate in search of work and food to survive. The area experiences high levels of seasonal and permanent migration, which destabilizes families and the community.

Life cycle of a sponsorship community

Sumaj Kawsay,  is in Phase 2

PHASE 1: Building the foundation

With local leaders, we assess the community's needs and resources, plan projects to provide long term solutions. Sponsorship and development opportunities begin.