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HelpAge Bolivia: Celebrating four years of great achievements

14 Apr 2014

Our recent event to celebrate four years of work to support older people in Bolivia.Last month HelpAge's office in Bolivia hosted an event to celebrate the achievements of four years of work in rights, income generation, health, climate change, emergencies, risk management, gender and migration.

It was also an occasion to reveal our plans to improve older people's lives in the forthcoming year.

We were extremely pleased to have some very special guests at the event, including Ross Deny, the British Ambassador to Bolivia; Celia Taborga, UNFPA representative in Bolivia and Carlos Loza, president of the National Association of Older People in Bolivia, as well as other associations of older people and partners.

Committed to older people

Since we set up our Bolivia programme, we have improved the lives of older people all over the country in a variety of ways.

Working with our network of partners, we have built the capacity of older people and provided them with specialist assistance. Together we have had many successes, including:

  • Approval of a specific law for older people, the "Ley General de las Personas Mayores Nº 369", after 12 years of coordinated discussions with different levels of government.
  • 34 socio-legal centres are up and running to provide support for older people. Set up in partnership with the Ombudsman and municipal governments, the centres help protect older people from rights violations and access essential documents and information.
  • 52 white brigades formed of 900 older people. The white brigades equip older people with the skills needed to cope in emergencies and disasters.
  • Reduced vulnerability to the impact of climate change. We have helped more than 1,260 older people and their families to improve their living conditions by accessing water and cultivating home gardens. This leaves them less vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change.
  • Provided training for 117 councillors and mayors of 238 municipalities on issues of rights, gender and ageing to promote public policies for older people.
  • Reduced impact of migration. We have worked with older people in nine communities of Copacabana to strengthen their organisations, and helped them rediscover native practices and productive projects.
  • Improved health cover. Using our model of health interventions for older people, we have helped increase the number of subscribers to health insurance in 84 municipalities. This has increased health coverage to reach 59% of the older population.

Older people coming out of the shadows

Carlos Loza, president of the National Association of Older People in Bolivia said:

"Older people have rights, but these are not respected. Thanks to organisations like HelpAge, older people are coming out of the shadows. HelpAge has helped make us visible, but there is still much to do. Therefore, we will continue working closely with these institutions."

The British Ambassador in Bolivia, Deny Ross said:

"It is important to highlight the achievements HelpAge has made in Bolivia to promote older people's rights. I congratulate the team for these successes and wish them well in future challenges."

The future challenges

Older people's contributions to society are vital and important. It is for that reason that HelpAge in Bolivia will continue to work with them to defend their rights, challenge discrimination and fight poverty.

The main areas we are working on are:

  • Creation of National Council on Ageing and Older People through coordination with government agencies, organisations and institutions.
  • Implementation of socio-legal centres for older people in partnership with provincial and municipal governments, and other partners.
  • Strengthening partnerships in urban and rural areas so older people know their rights.

The work we have done is important, but we know there is still a lot more to achieve. For HelpAge in Bolivia, this is a time of many challenges but also one of great opportunities.

Find out more about our work supporting older people in Bolivia.

Your comments

Amleset Tewodros

Javier, congratulations to you and your team for organising such an inspiring event! I am sure we can borrow a leaf from your success. Best wishes and keep up the good work

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Author profile

Javier Castro
Job title: County Director, Bolivia

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.