Project Factsheet
Tools for » Productive patrimonial assets building and citizenship programme for women in extreme poverty in Bolivia
Project ID:00067166Description:MDGF-1732-B-BOL Gender
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 5 Sep 2007
MDGF Gender Equal & Empowermt
End Date*: 24 May 2012
Country: Bolivia Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


The Programme was designed as a pilot to create a demonstrative effect on rural women’s economic and social rights, taking into consideration their high vulnerability based on their levels of poverty and marginalization. The JP supports directly two pillars of the national development plan through the reduction of poverty and inequality in order to offer more chances for women to access income and development opportunities. This was implemented through 3 strategic axes of the National Equality and Opportunity Plan (PNIO), namely through the economic, productive and employment sector, through a reduction of barriers that limit women’s participation in decision making, and through institutional development of the public mechanisms that must plan and implement the policies in favor of women established by the government. The intervention strategy was thus based on the simultaneous implementation of three components: 1) financial services to increase women’s holdings, 2) technical training to develop women entrepreneurship skills, and 3) citizenship actions (such as receiving their birth certificate or official ID), or develop their capacities to use their rights (for example in conflict mediation in the family, at community or institutional levels).


Outcome 1:

1.286 women have a new patrimony or have increased their possessions.

Outcome achievements:

  • A number of different income generating activities were undertaken with different modalities and in different economic sectors. The largest of which was 2,276 rural economic units (UERS), covering a cumulative total of 5,007 women who obtained US$ 4.2 million for start-up businesses. Between 2010 and 2011 their initial sales went up 23% to a total volume of US$ 4.6 million. Another 83 women (60 UERS) obtained US$ 154,000 on shared-risk basis, and obtained a 70% sales volume increase between 2010 and 2011 to a total of US$ 609,000.  Of the total of 5,090 women beneficiaries, 1,903 have been trained in business management, 192% over the initial target. Another 833 have received technical assistance and training for their business (including accounting skills), 174% over the target. 4,754 women have received training for their business in a range of activities (45% over target), and 1,720 women received technical assistance in the tourism sector (hotels and accommodation) with 150% of the target reached. 639 women were trained as market representatives (e.g. linking women producers to potential markets), 42% over the target.
  • Women’s productive projects have generated on average 50% increased income. Of 4,640 women beneficiaries at the start of the programme, 81% of them had no access to any form of credit given they did not meet the eligibility criteria. 96% of these women are permanently employed in these productive activities, normally close to their homes, while 4% are only part-time workers. Sales volumes and increased income have been very successful with 52% of the projects having increased by up to 50% their sales volume, and 41% of women have generated up to 2 additional jobs in their business. Before the programme 75% of beneficiary women did not participate in training and technical assistance activities, now 85% of women do. Women in agricultural production are now selling 71% of their production directly to municipal and local markets, an 18% drop in the number of intermediaries, thereby increasing the economic returns. 54% of the women beneficiaries of the programme have reduced between 25 to 50% the time dedicated to their core activity since the beginning of the programme thanks to the training received. 91% of women have acquired new skills and knowledge and have improved their business. 89% of women beneficiaries manage their business, versus 11% still in training. 57% of them receive support from their spouse in managing their business.


Outcome 2:

1.286 women exercise their rights fully.

Outcome achievements:

  • 4,327 women were trained in citizen’s rights, and at least 139 rural communities were trained on women’s rights. 17% of the trained women were selected to assume decision-making positions. 2,947 women beneficiaries and 9,397 family relatives have a valid ID or birth certificate. This indicates that 12,342 people of the 18 municipalities of the programme now possess valid documentation. Of the 9,397 relatives, 3,748 are women. This is significant as valid documentation is a requirement in order to access state benefits such as primary health care for new mothers and children under one year of age.
  • 85% of women are seen by their families as contributing to income generation and family well-being, versus 36% before the programme. Through the JP, 83% of women go to health posts and hospitals, 4% to private health clinics and 2% to traditional healers. Also 78% have access to information and communication (TV, radio, etc.) and 2% use the press – in contrast with 32% of women having no information or only through community groups in the past. There is a positive outcome in the nutritional habits, as the increase in income translates into 18% of women expanding the food basket with other foods such as vegetables, meat and fruit that make up from 18 to 31% of the family food basket. 48% of the women participate in training events on the exercise of citizen’s rights. Now 97% of women participate in municipal and national elections, versus 22% that did not participate in the past. 30% of business women were included in lists to join the board of communal and productive organizations, of which 60% were elected. As a result the JP is directly contributing to the emergence of women leaders.
  • 15% of women are managers in women community organizations, and 9% are recognized as leaders by the communities as they hold various positions of responsibility in both private and public organizations (compared to 4% previously, an increase of 5%).  At the qualitative level, there has been a change of attitude based on the recognition that the role of women in the family has changed. The power relations have changed as women are directly responsible for providing to the needs of the family, and therefore a higher appreciation to the role of women is given by the family. The economic benefits also revert into improved economic conditions for the family and thus a decrease in conflicts. With these internal changes in the families, it is also less likely that women will be victim of domestic violence.


Outcome 3:

A favorable institutional environment has been created  to exercise  civil and political rights for women.

Outcome achievements:

  • 241 municipal civil servants trained in human rights and the PNIO. Another 34 department level staff participated in the training modules on human and citizen’s rights and gender-based planning. 42 local civil servants participated in the validation of the training modules for the civil servants. 11 municipalities have signed agreements with productive women to support them economically with the municipalities’ own resources. VIO (Vice-ministry of Equal Opportunities) has included economic rights in its management and with the JP support it was able to intensify the application of gender at the field level. VIO has further incorporated the experience gained on citizen’s use of their rights in the formulation of public policies. Municipal budgets have incorporated specific lines of support for women businesses.


Best practices:

  • Having from the start a well designed monitoring system helps in decision-making. Support given in response to demand (rather than just offering any kind of support) is the best mechanism to transfer gradually resources to rural women entrepreneurs. The contribution of the JP to increase women holdings is an effective tool for poverty reduction and contributes to local economic development. Having incorporated women respecting their regular life-style and not requesting forms of work that are not compatible with their normal living, and capitalizing on their own skills, was a good approach, together with the holistic approach used to identify the various economic activities and their interaction with women’s other spheres of activity. At the institutional level, the ownership of the Ministry of Justice for formulating public policies was key. The linkage between the JP to the on-going national policies ensures local support from the municipalities and other local authorities. The participation of the Vice-Minister for Equal Opportunity contributed to the JP results, as well as that of locally established organizations with which formal agreements were developed. The methodology of the JP is emerging as a development model that contributes to women empowerment.


Lessons learned:

  • Support to women in order to manage a business is an effective tool to reduce inequalities and facilitate the exercise of women’s rights in the family and in the community.
  • Supporting productive business based on demand contributes to women owning the process and ensures its sustainability.
  • The development of women productive activities and business has given higher visibility about the role of women and their contribution to community development. At the JP level, consideration should be given to create a basket fund to avoid each agency using different norms and procedures. It is necessary to ensure sufficient funding availability within each UN agency for coordination.


More details can be found in the final project report:

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Bolivia or the lead agency for the programme.

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