A YEAR IN oni Car
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• Health, sanitation and education services are poor • A fifth of children do not complete primary school, and a third do not attend secondary school
• Supporting families to increase their incomes • Ensuring that children grow up in a Pelo healthy environment tas
Country Office Programme Unit
• Helping families to increase their food production
• Working with the government and community organisations to get children involved in improving their communities
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Our priorities in Paraguay children’s health, nutrition and education Para• napImproving anema
a • Violence Tand oc abuse against children are widespread, and many are forced to work to help their family
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• 60% ofa births are not registered, meaning children cannot Paranaib prove their rights to education, protection and more Tocantins
GOOD REASONS why Plan works in Paraguay ranc Sao F
Goats are an important livestock in Paraguay.
A school group at play.
PARAGUAY FACTS Capital: Asunción Population: 6.2 million Language: The official languages are Spanish and Guaraní Climate: The local climate ranges from subtropical to temperate, with substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, though becoming semi-arid in the far west.
Negro Economy: Paraguay is a developing country and the second poorest country in South America with a 2007 GDP per capita of US$4,000. Approximately 2.1 million, or 35%, of its total population is poor and approximately 1 million, or 15.9%, are unemployed. Paraguay has a market economy marked by a large informal sector that features both re-export of imported consumer goods to neighboring countries, and
thousands of small business enterprises. Paraguay’s largest economic activity is based on agriculture, agribusiness and cattle ranching. Paraguay is ranked as the world’s third largest exporter of chalk boards.
“Plan supports children and society to find solutions to their problems, and build a democratic culture. We help children and families to be informed, organise themselves and play a leading role in promoting and protecting children’s rights” – Belinda Portillo, Plan’s Acting Country Director
A YEAR IN
PARAGUAY 09 SUMMARY REPORT
FOCUS ON: WATER AND SANITATION Plan aims to enable children, families and communities to live in a safe, healthy environment. Yet 32% of people in rural areas don’t have adequate safe drinking water, and 39% don’t have sanitation facilities. Co-ordinating with local and national government, Plan helps to construct, repair and extend water supply systems, and train community committees to manage them. We support the building of toilets in homes and schools, and raise awareness about good hygiene practices including food handling and waste processing. We also support communities to protect the environment, and make good use of natural resources.
WORKING TOGETHER in RECOLETA Children work with local authorities as part of an Adolescents Protection Network.
The Bigger Picture
Plan is working with children, families and whole communities to address the problems that Paraguay faces. This report can only tell a small part of that story. As a further insight, last year we also: • Helped organise the first Latin American regional conference on birth registration, attended by representatives from 18 countries • Launched a manual called You, Your Life and Your Dreams to inform young people about reproductive health and reduce teenage pregnancies • Helped 280 schools to improve reading, writing and numeracy, and encouraged families support their children’s education • Supported 18 community abuse prevention and care networks to identify, report and follow up cases of child abuse and domestic. • In December 2008 Plan was granted the “Orden del Quetzal” Guatemala’s highest award for our work developing children’s, adolescents and youth projects in marginalised regions over the past 30 years. Your support as a sponsor is crucial to achieving these positive results. So on behalf of the communities, partner organisations, and most of all the children we work with – thank you!
“Plan aims to make sure water projects like this one are sustainable far into the future” To learn more about Plan’s work in Paraguay visit plan.org.au/ourwork/southernamerica/paraguay
Produced for Paraguay by the Australian National Office.
or many years the village of Recoleta, in southwest Paraguay, struggled to manage without a proper water supply. Now, thanks to help from Plan, and a lot of hard work, the whole village has a good supply of clean drinking water, and their lives have changed as a result.
Recoleta is three miles from the nearest town, and home to about 70 families. Over the years, the water supplies which the villagers had always relied on became increasingly scarce, expensive and polluted. Many wells dried up, some became privately owned, and others were contaminated with industrial and other waste. A heavy burden This made life difficult, as villager Marta describes: “We had to walk long distances to get water and wash our clothes, carrying heavy containers over our heads.” Many children got water-borne diseases like diarrhoea: “Children were sick from drinking water from springs near roads or from nearby swamps.” Women and children spent a lot of time collecting water. Eleven-year-old Arnaldo remembers: “I couldn’t play soccer, something I love, because I had to fetch water from springs. Only after I’d finished that my mum gave me permission to play, but I got blisters on my hands from grabbing the pitcher handles and that really hurt.” Taking action The villagers decided things had to change and asked Plan for support. Plan helped them to organise themselves to drill a well to provide running water for household consumption. This goal was achieved in August 2007, and now an engine pumps water from a well 110 metres deep into a large container, from where a distribution system carries drinking water to taps in every home. Now every family has a reliable source of clean, safe drinking water. Women and children are free from the burden of walking long distances for
“We had to walk long distances to get water and wash our clothes, carrying heavy containers over our heads”
water. Children’s health has improved because clean water is used for drinking and for food preparation. Marta reports: “Today, water-borne diseases have disappeared completely.” Villagers’ personal hygiene is also better. Marta says: “Now we have taps, we can wash our clothes properly.” “Formerly, my friends and I bathed in lagoons or a spring,” says Edgar. “Today, we take baths at home. Our life has really changed.” Although the project has been a success, it took time to get everyone involved. Héctor Medina, director of Recoleta’s school, explains: “When we started, some people didn’t want to take part. Perhaps they thought the project wouldn’t succeed, or felt afraid. Now, seeing it working, they want to get involved.” Plan aims to make sure water projects like this one are sustainable far into the future, so we encourage communities to find ways to finance ongoing upkeep themselves. Villagers in Recoleta worked together to agree a fee that each household should pay for water and the maximum amount each family can use. The project was planned to supply water for human consumption only (drinking, personal hygiene and food preparation), but people began to use water for their animals, in vegetable gardens and even in local workshops. Each household currently pays 10,000 Guaraníes (about £1.30) per month however much water they use, so water meters are being installed to make things fairer. Perhaps most importantly, the people of Recoleta have shown that, with Plan’s ongoing support, they can work together towards a common goal, solve some of their problems and make a lasting difference to their lives and the lives of their children. Some names have been changed for child protection and privacy purposes.