Bolivia is a country or more than 10 million people, nearly 70% live in urban areas. Life expectancy is 68 years at birth. Its per capita Gross Domestic Product, purchasing power parity, is 6881 (USD)[1]. It has significantly improved access to quality primary education, but there is still more to be done to increase access to education for all, improve learning outcomes, and reduce inequalities across the sector, especially for girls. School buildings, for the most part, are poorly constructed or maintained and do not count with basic facilities such as potable water and electricity.[2]

UNICEF has been in Bolivia since 1950 with the objective of ensuring the fulfillment of the rights of children and adolescents, promoting their development, ensuring their legal protection and their participation in society. These same purposes extend to women and indigenous peoples.[3]

The WinS4Girls project in Bolivia aims to sensitize learners, school staff, and family members to the importance of MHM, empower girls to adopt healthy behaviors, and to support municipal authorities to effect change at the school level.

The Plurinational State of Bolivia is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Approximately 42% of its 10.6 million inhabitants are indigenous and are divided into 37 native nations. The country has 3.8 million children, 66% of them in the cities.

Over the last 10 years, Bolivia has achieved economic and social improvements, thanks to a favorable international context. Between 2006 and 2015, the average growth rate of gross domestic product was 5% and, in 2013, reached 6.8%. This led Bolivia to be classified as a low-middle-income country by 2015.

Extreme poverty has fallen by 21 percentage points (from 38% in 2006 to 17% in 2014), or 1.7 million fewer people. And, at the same time, the gap between the rich and the poor narrowed. However, despite these socio-economic trends, many children continue to live in poverty, and are the most affected by it. In addition, the economic analysis shows that the country's economy has stagnated in the last two years, which has forced the Government to increase its public debt. This is likely to affect the availability of resources for social programs within the framework of long- and medium-term public development (Patriotic Agenda 2025 and Economic and Social Development Plan 2016-2020), which in turn could lead to cuts in initiatives aimed at reducing poverty and inequality, especially in marginalized indigenous peoples.

Bolivia is also experiencing rapid urbanization and the exodus of the indigenous people to the cities. Its four largest cities hold almost half of the total population. These trends are resulting in improvised settlements, poor and insufficient infrastructure, pollution and land degradation, as well as increased pressure on the basic services; freshwater reserves and increased risk of insecurity and vulnerability to all forms of violence. These trends are also likely to lead to depopulation and shortages of basic services in large rural areas or even entire municipalities, putting children and adolescents at risk.

Children face several challenges that affect their chances of survival and development.

Quick Facts
Percentage of schools with:
Basic drinking water
Basic sanitation or toilets

Literacy rate for youth (15 - 24 years old) 55,5
Primary education completion rate 27,10
Secondary education completion rate 3
Gender parity rate in secondary schools competition (number of females to male) 29,98 (female)
26 (male)


Global Education Monitoring Report, Education for People and Planet: Creating Sustainable Solutions for All. UNESCO, 2016. Paris, FR.


  • Save the Children International.
  • Autonomous University of Beni (Local Academic Partner).
  • Autonomous Departmental Government of Beni.


Under WinS4Girls, UNICEF worked with ministries of education and other partners at national level (typically through MHM Working Groups) to develop and promote a MHM intervention package informed by the WinS4Girls formative research.

Depending on the country, the intervention packages have taken different forms in response to the diverse needs expressed by girls, their teachers, and their families during the research. For example, they may include national or sub-national policies and guidelines; learning and communication materials; and training modules for teachers, health workers, and peer educators. In some cases, the package has included infrastructure development and pad production or distribution.

The package includes the following:

  • My diary: Personalized friendly journal, affective key info /calendar.
  • Education by entertain: Radio novel, promotes individual and social change.
  • Reflection guide radio program: Chapter by chapter guide, reflections and motivational questions.
  • Family guide: Wall calendar with info, promotes dialogue, healthy practices, and support for the menstruating girls and woman at home.
  • Evidence based decision portfolio: Fact sheets and basic info every authority should know on MHM, how to provide friendly toilets at school, promotes engagement to action.
  • Educational audiovisual: Animated video, informative and clarifying for video debate and other participatory dynamics.
  • Washable sanitary pads, and pattern girls: Reusable, washable, absorbent material, explanatory pattern guide: how to wash, use and take care of the pads, DIY pattern guide.
  • Masters Compendium: Facilitates the appropriation, use, reproduction, and adaptation of the package by ministries and other strategic partners.
  • Puberty book: Education for puberty, addressing key information, frequent myths and questions.
  • Maintenance guide for WASH facilities at school: A WASH facilities maintenance and operations guide.


The research revealed specific recommendations to address MHM challenges including: advocacy, curriculum development, peer communication strategies, improving linkages between the education and the health sector, behavior change communications, and access to reusable absorbent MHM material to decrease the waste disposal problem.

Currently, though local sectoral policies and actions are being pushed by municipal and departmental governments, at national level policies have not incorporated MHM into the education, WASH, health or protection sectors. Given the clear intersection of all challenges faced by girls that are presented in this report, engagement from a wide range of community, civil society, the government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and its Ministries of Education, Environment and Water, Health and Justice at multiple levels will be required to create an impactful change in the lives and well-being of girls.

Visit the Resources Section to download the implementation package