Ecuador: Health, education and a carefree childhood
The slums of the port city of Guayaquil are dangerous. Better education for children, improved healthcare and the support of the parents pave the way for a better future for children.Learn more
Working in Ecuador since 1979, we now support some 4,500 children in 6 projects. Our partner organisations are primarily church groups.
Social inequalities and poverty remain widespread in Ecuador despite efforts by the government to alleviate these problems. People of indigenous or Afro-Ecuadorian origins are still disadvantaged and discriminated against. Enormous differences in income persist between rich and poor segments of the population. Nearly three-quarters of Ecuadorians earn their living from agriculture, but the ownership of land is also characterised by great inequality. In spite of a social welfare system and free access to education and healthcare, not all individuals in need benefit from these services.
Ecuador is characterised by a huge gap between rich and poor, as well as between urban and rural populations – 38.3 percent of the population has to eke out a living on less than two dollars a day. Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian peoples are particularly affected by this situation, as they still suffer from enormous structural discrimination.
When growing up in a poor environment, children usually don’t stand a chance to attend school. Many children suffer from physical and mental violence at home and in their communities. The health situation of children is extremely poor: Over six percent of children under the age of five suffer from malnutrition (2012). Among indigenous children in rural areas this figure is 46.6 percent.
In Ecuador, our work focuses on supporting children, young people, and their families, particularly members of the indigenous rural population and residents of peri-urban areas. Our projects build children’s capacity in demanding that their rights are respected and in joining forces to improve their living situations.
Together with our partners we have established a community centre for children and their families in the slums of the port city of Guayaquil. Children receive tutoring, nutritious food, and the opportunity to pursue recreational activities during afternoons. Our partners closely collaborate with local city schools to ensure that teachers can take part in continuing education measures. This leads to major improvements in the quality of school instruction. The parents of these children have an opportunity to take courses on nutrition and healthcare. Mothers in particular can take part in a micro-loan programme that allows them to establish small businesses. Project staff supports them and ensures that both parents and children can gaze to the future with a renewed sense of hope.
The projects give farmers training on organic cultivation methods, village residents join hands in renovating their local schools and courses offer children and adults knowhow about human rights issues. These projects that support entire communities receive special funding from the German Federal Ministry of Development and Cooperation (BMZ).
Sources: World Factbook, United Nations