By Maria Luetticke and Chantal Bussmann - Project Leaders
In Bolivia, the situation regarding the pandemic remains critical. Despite the obstacles, we continue to help the local people, especially the children in Micani, to eat healthy and support the immune system as best as possible. In March, the school year had initially started normally, and we were able to use the time in the schools to conduct training sessions and intensively supervise the work in the school gardens. Some villages were able to harvest during the last months. Pupils, parents and teachers were enthusiastic about the variety of vegetables, we introduced to them, some of which they hadn’t seen before. In June however, school activities had to be suspended again due to the high incidence of infection in Bolivia's cities. The winter vacations usually scheduled for July were brought forward and extended to 4 weeks. About a week ago, classes resumed. Fortunately, this meant that the construction phase of the "Carpas Solares" could also start with a slight delay. The people in the villages currently have about one month to prepare local material such as adobe and to carry out the excavation work, since the "Carpas Solares" will be built about one meter deep into the ground. At the beginning of August, the actual construction will begin. For this purpose, we are currently organizing the purchase and transport of materials and are completing a descriptive manual that will serve as a reference book for the village community even after the construction phase supported by us.
Also if a person gets infected with COVID, the mentality is that "better to die in family, than alone in the hospital". Also the locals cure themselves or self-medicate with plants and natural ancestral remedies".
In the past three months, a lot has happened in the project. The trainings in the Escuelas de Campo continued as before. In the meantime, about 473 families are taking part in these trainings. And 183 families from 16 villages are involved in the cultivation of Tara. In addition, we were able to carry out a detailed monitoring of the project's progress and the situation in the families for the first time. For this purpose, a questionnaire was developed in advance and with the help of the monitoring app developed by Aktion Sodis, the survey was then carried out on site.
In addition, a community fund was set up to provide financial support to families who want to start their own business.
In our project work in Germany, we have also been focusing more on the issue of gender equality in recent weeks and are developing a strategy to achieve our goals in this regard. In the course of this, we also held an extensive workshop with our partner organisation to ensure that our ideas on this topic are the same.
Finally, there was a personnel change at our partner organisation on the ground in Bolivia. From now on, it is no longer Antonia Oporto but Lily Negrete who is responsible for the training of the families in the ECAs.