As part of our monthly focus on the work of our partner organisations, we look at how CEDLA (the Centre for Labour and Agricultural Development) helped make tax work for Bolivia's poorest communities.
In 2006, as little as 18% of the value of oil and gas exports stayed in Bolivia. Now that figure is 50%, helping fund enormous improvements in social welfare.
CEDLA is one of the organisations that led the calls for change in Bolivia.
It supported huge popular protests, urging the government to nationalise its oil and gas industries so that Bolivian people could benefit from its natural resources.
Now, the increased tax revenues mean 2.4 million of Bolivia’s most vulnerable people receive direct financial support, school children have money to buy school books and uniforms and everyone over the age of 60 gets a monthly state pension.
CEDLA's key role
CEDLA played a key role in keeping up public pressure for this change.
The organisation helped ordinary Bolivians understand the unfair taxation system that existed before 2006, and helped show them change was possible.
By producing radio shows and leaflets in different indigenous languages they helped people from all social backgrounds to get the information they needed to have a say.
Together we’re stronger
Christian Aid, which has been supporting CEDLA since 1994, helped in the campaign.
Using data from CEDLA, our policy team wrote a report putting the tax situation in Bolivia in the international context.
Our partner used this document to successfully influence the process of drafting new hydrocarbons laws and renegotiating taxes with transnational companies.
This year, Christian Aid gave CEDLA a grant of £30,000 to continue its research into economic policies and practices to see how they can better benefit the poor.
CEDLA is also monitoring Bolivia’s expenditure from its oil and gas revenues to make sure people know where the money is going.
In this way, the organisation hopes to make sure it doesn’t disappear into the pockets of politicians or the country’s elite but instead continues to benefit the people of Bolivia.