Background: Paraguay achieved its independence from Spain in 1811. In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70) - between Paraguay and Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay - Paraguay lost two-thirds of its adult males and much of its territory. The country stagnated economically for the next half century. Following the Chaco War of 1932-35 with Bolivia, Paraguay gained a large part of the Chaco lowland region. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER ended in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, Paraguay has held relatively free and regular presidential elections since the country's return to democracy.

Languages:  Spanish (official), Guarani (official)

Religions: Roman Catholic 89.6%, Protestant 6.2%, other Christian 1.1%, other or unspecified 1.9% (2002)

Population: 6,703,860 (July 2014 est.) Country comparison to the world:  105



Myriam De Narvaez, a pastor’s wife from Puerto Botanico, a low-income community in Paraguay, had an idea to start a bakery business, but didn’t know where to start:

“We wanted to start a community-based business that’s mostly run by the youth of our church so that they can learn about operating a business. That’s how our idea for a bakery shop came. There aren’t any bakeries in our community, and this would be a chance for many of our locals to participate, and help reduce poverty in our village. In our bakery, we would sell baked goods, as well as locally grown vegetables.”

 Through the business mentorship of KPM, Myriam was able to plan and start her bakery business in Puerto Botanico, and received a loan through KPM to purchase a commercial oven for baking bread.

Myriam De Narvaez (Bakery)

“I want to thank KPM for providing me funds to purchase a motorcycle for my milk delivery business. I started selling sausages and seasonal fruits as well this month. Though it is slow, my business is growing and growing.”

 Zunilda Santacruz (Milk Delivery)