SEATTLE — With a high dependency on agricultural products, Paraguay is the sixth-largest producer of soybeans in the world and has an impressively low inflation rate of 3.7 percent. It is also the smallest landlocked country in the Americas. Unlike many other countries in the Americas, its indigenous language and culture, Guaraní, continues to be highly influential. However, some 26 percent of citizens live in absolute poverty and there are still many social issues such as country-wide violence. Despite these negative aspects, there are many projects that address Paraguay’s weaker points. These five development projects in Paraguay have had an impact in those areas.
Peasant Development Fund Credit Project
The International Fund for Agricultural Development commenced a project in 1996 to develop a credit system for even the poorest of rural workers and farmers. The Peasant Development Fund Credit Project’s main target comprised of 65,000 farm families who lived well below the poverty line.
Results anticipated that it would directly increase the income and living standards of 12,550 families, about 20 percent of the target group. It took much longer than expected to achieve certain goals because of political unrest, but by 2003 number of families helped was 3,470.
Mother & Child Basic Health Insurance Project
This project, created by the World Bank, hoped to decrease the infant mortality rate in Paraguay through basic services in healthcare. Implemented in 2005, it planned to improve the healthcare quality in chosen areas and the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare’s management capacity. The main component delivered an essential package of services to women of childbearing age and children under six to the ten poorest departments. The second component then strengthened the Ministry of Public Health’s administrative and implementation capacity to achieve these goals.
Energy Sector Strengthening Project
Approved in 2010 with a planned closing date of October 2018, this development project in Paraguay hopes to increase the quality and quantity of electrical services to the country and its citizens. It will foster country growth and competitiveness in the sphere of worldwide electricity, seeing as Paraguay has many hydroelectric sources it can harvest and export to neighboring countries. Its creation of a proposed transmission line will ease electrical use for citizens and facilitate the operation of generators across the country.
Conservation of Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Management in the Atlantic Forest of Eastern Paraguay Project
One of the development projects in Paraguay was to assist in Paraguay’s continued effort to achieve a sustainable natural-resource-based economy in the project area, thereby conserving the natural area and decreasing land development. Their most impressive goal was to establish the Mbaracayú-San Rafael conservation corridor through public and private land, which would have sustainable biological practices in place. By providing technical and financial support to about 2,500 farmers, they project conserved 230,000 hectares of area and undeveloped land.
Qualified Human Resources in Response to the Needs of the Industries Project
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency, or JICA, has started a four-year program, running from 2016-2020, that will create and implement better HR teams in Paraguay. As a country that is historically based in agriculture, it has trouble with certain aspects of industrialization such as human resources. JICA plans to offer courses about aspects of HR and industry, and strengthen the already existing groups in the National Service of Professional Promotion to create a better HR system in Paraguay.
With these development projects in Paraguay bringing change, the country hopes to step further away from poverty, diminish its medical and social issues and grow into a more stable nation.
– Nick McGuire