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Ecuador

Working in Ecuador since 1979, we now support some 4,500 children in 6 projects. Our partner organisations are primarily church groups.

Ecuador

Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian children are often victims of discrimination

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.

The challenges

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.

A girl looks sadly down to the ground. (Source: Martin Bucholz)
Afro-Ecuadorian and indigenous children are still strongly disadvantaged.

The country is marred by inequalities when it comes to access to education, clean drinking water, and the health system. In rural areas, only 38.2 percent of the population has access to clean water, which – in addition to the poor health situation and widespread malnourishment – leads to the spread of infectious diseases. Due to huge inequalities in the educational system (elite, expensive education for the rich upper-class, poorly equipped public schools for the middle and lower classes), many Ecuadorians have little hope of finding a regular job with full social benefits. This forces large numbers of people to work in the informal sector, making it difficult for them to pursue a career. Although children are legally protected from exploitation and have a right to education, in reality the situation is often very different.

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.

  • Our work in the country

    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).

  • Key figures on Ecuador

    • 15.7 million people live in Ecuador
    • 29 % of all Ecuadorians are under the age of 15
    • 7 % are age 65 or older
    • 6 % of all children under the age of 5 are underweight
    • 8 % of all children between the ages of 5 and 14 have to work

    Sources: World Factbook, United Nations

Ecuador: Health, education and a carefree childhood

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.

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How we work

How we work

Learn more about how we realize children’s rights.

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An overview of our projects and countries

An overview of our projects and countries

We are currently supporting 1.8 million children in 29 countries. Click here to read selected project descriptions.

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