In Bolivia, as in many parts of the world, the current COVID-19 pandemic has not yet eased - be it in the health system, basic health care or the persistent poverty, especially in the rural areas of the country. Therefore, it is still important for us to help the people locally with the means at our disposal and, in doing so, to manifest and secure an important basic building block of everyday life with our food security project.
Fortunately, despite ongoing pandemic measures, classes in the village schools could be resumed after several months in March 2021.
As of now, training on the operation of the drip irrigation system, sustainable agriculture and healthy nutrition can be conducted again at the village schools. All postponed trainings will be made up in a timely manner. For this purpose, a workshop was held in February with all village schoolteachers. In early March, each village school developed an action plan for the project in the 2021 school year and dates for trainings were agreed upon.
The trainings are essential for the continued success of the project, as the project cannot function sustainably in the long term without knowledge transfer and assurance. The year 2020 has explicitly shown us how important a stable and resilient food system is nowadays. Whether COVID-19 or climate impacts, empowering smallholder families, healthy food diversity, and a sustainable perspective for local agriculture are vital.
While no classes could take place, the village schoolteachers, the actual people in charge of the gardens, were partially not on site. Therefore, in the meantime, we have successfully appointed other responsible persons who have taken care of the gardens. Just in time for the beginning of the school year, the drip irrigation systems will be refurbished so that the students can benefit from the gardens with immediate effect.
In 6 of the village schools from the project, the low temperatures, which can be below freezing at night, make it difficult to use the land for agriculture. This is due to the very high altitude of the village schools in the Andes. Until now, a great deal of effort had to be expended in order to still be able to grow vegetables. For example, plants are covered at night to protect them from frost. We want to remedy this problem and build greenhouses in 6 village schools.
Thanks in part to donations on GlobalGiving, we have managed to secure funding for 3 of the 6 greenhouses. These will be built promptly so that they will be ready in May, before the cold months begin. At the moment, we are still in the planning phase: material is being selected and purchased, transportation is being organized, local material is being prepared and the actual construction is being planned together with the village community so that many residents can participate and learn during the construction.
We hope to be able to finance the missing 3 greenhouses as soon as possible and are very happy about support!