Church of Jesus Christ and UNICEF work to help babies, children and mothers in South America

The most vulnerable will receive health, water and hygiene services in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

The more-than-10-year collaboration between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and UNICEF is now blessing tens of thousands of lives in the Church’s South America Northwest Area.

Because of significant monetary donations from the Church to UNICEF in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, the most vulnerable babies, children and mothers will have access to better health care, safer water and improved hygiene.


Around 64,000 people — including children and their families — will benefit from a donation from the Church to UNICEF Bolivia.

The money will go toward strengthening early childhood development in El Alto and Santa Cruz de la Sierra through the “First Steps” program, which focuses on early detection and intervention in cases of delay and disability during the first years of children’s lives.

The donation will also build better water, sanitation and hygiene conditions at 15 schools in Montero, in a country where only 62% of schools have access to basic sanitation and 32% have handwashing facilities, reported the Church’s Bolivia Newsoom.

La Paz Bolivia Constitución Stake President Ednar M. Sanes delivered the donation on April 5 to Rafael Ramirez from UNICEF Bolivia.

“This generous donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reflects a shared commitment to the future of Bolivia and the well-being of its girls and boys,” Ramierz said. “With these projects, we are not only addressing immediate needs, but we are also investing in the sustainable development of entire communities.”

President Sanes said the collaboration between the Church and UNICEF Bolivia is “an inspiring example of how joining forces can make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of children and families.”


A child's arm is measured during a malnutrition screening in Colombia.
A child's arm is measured during a malnutrition screening in Colombia. A donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April 2024 to UNICEF will support efforts to improve health, water and hygiene services in the country. | UNICEF Colombia

In Colombia, around 60% of rural schools do not have adequate water and sanitation. Millions of people live in food insecurity, with malnutrition high among children who are under 5 years of age. And 10% of infants are not up to date on their vaccinations.

To help improve health and child development in the country, the Church made an official donation to UNICEF Colombia on Wednesday, April 24.

Projects will focus on improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services in schools in the municipalities of Istmina and Quibdó, explained the Church’s Colombia Newsroom.

Work will also be done to help prevent malnutrition in children under 5 years of age and pregnant women from the ethnic population and the rural areas of Chocó, Vichada, Arauca and La Guajira.

And vaccination efforts will reach children in Nariño, Chocó and Guainía.

Elder Yan Carlos Vega, Area Seventy, said, “We want to unite with various organizations around the world with the purpose of doing good, of serving our neighbors, of helping the most vulnerable population.”

Tanya Chapuisat with UNICEF Colombia said, “We thank the Church of Jesus Christ for the support for these initiatives that will benefit the most vulnerable in the country.”


The Church and UNICEF Ecuador are joining forces to improve access to safe water in 30 indigenous communities in the province of Chimborazo — and thereby bless more than 22,000 people.

Ecuador has a high rate of chronic childhood nutrition, and Chimborazo has the highest rate, reaching 35.2%, explained the Church’s Ecuador Newsroom.

In the province, four out of 10 homes with children under 5 years of age consume water contaminated with the E. coli bacteria, said Luz Ángela Melo with UNICEF Ecuador. The lack of safe water prevents children’s proper development, directly affecting their nutrition, health and ability to learn.

A woman in traditional clothing holds her child in Ecuador.
A mother holds her child in Ecuador. A donation in March 2024 from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to UNICEF Ecuador will help improve the lives of women, children and babies in the country. | UNICEF Ecuador

Elder Rafael E. Pino, General Authority Seventy and second counselor in the South America Northwest Area, and other Church leaders and officials were present at the donation ceremony on March 15 in Quito.

Elder Pino spoke about how the humanitarian relief efforts of the Church are a direct result of its doctrine centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Melo thanked the Church for its support of UNICEF’s mission and said how moved she was by the kindness and generosity of the members of the Church whose donations make it possible to help those in need.

UNICEF will now work to improve the operation of 10 community water supply systems and improve safe water access in five community health centers, 12 child development centers and two intercultural centers.

UNICEF will also work to make sure local pregnant women and children under 2 years of age have access to essential health services — in addition to promoting breastfeeding and hygiene, and infection prevention and control.


Because of the Church’s donation to UNICEF Peru on April 12, more than 7,000 children and babies will receive care in the regions of Huancavelica, Loreto, Ucayali and Lima, while tens of thousands of students will have access to new water and hygiene services.

The Church’s Peru Newsroom said the first project will focus on early detection of vision and hearing problems in newborns by providing equipment to health centers and training personnel.

The second project will improve drinking water and sanitary services at 20 schools, in an area where less than 14% of the population has access to such facilities.

Elder Henry Herrera, an Area Seventy in the South America Northwest Area, said the Church strives to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ to love God and love one’s neighbor.

“These contributions, which come largely from the donations of individual members, make it possible for us to raise awareness and be able to support, in this case, the boys and girls of our country,” he said.

Javier Álvarez with UNICEF Peru said: “This collaboration with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an inspiring example of joint work to improve the living conditions of children and adolescents in Peru. We are grateful for their generous support and commitment to our mission.”

About UNICEF and the Church

Boys wash their hands at an outdoor sink in Colombia.
Boys wash their hands in Colombia. A donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to UNICEF in April 2024 will improve health, water and hygiene services in several areas. | UNICEF Colombia

UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories and has been in South America since the 1940s, with efforts to improve the health and livelihoods of children and families and provide humanitarian aid to those who are vulnerable.

The Church of Jesus Christ works in collaboration with local and international organizations to help those in need, and has supported UNICEF since 2013 with closely aligned goals. In 2023, the Church had more than $1.3 billion in expenditures and 4,119 humanitarian projects in 191 countries and territories.

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