10 Years at Mano a Mano
Today marks exactly 10 years for me working at Mano a Mano – time really flies! I wrote a little about this personal milestone a few months ago (Almost a Decade at Mano a Mano (and Why I’m Still Here)) but even in that short time span, quite a bit has changed.
Just to mention a few project updates:
- at the time we had 151 health centers; we have completed 3 more since then and now have 154 (this clinic in Quiroga was completed in July).
- we have made a lot of progress on our large-scale agricultural water reservoir in Wirkini (here are a few recent pictures) and are working on getting the funding in place for another water reservoir that would provide irrigation water access for 7,000 people, hopefully to begin in 2016.
- our Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) continues to develop; so far this year the CEA has had 1,100+ visitors, hosted 12 agricultural education workshops for rurual farmers, and built 102 greenhouses (here are 10 pictures from the CEA).
- we shipped almost 100,000 pounds of surplus supplies from our Minnesota warehouse to Bolivia in September; we are also hosting a distribution event at our hangar on November 23rd to distribute 50,000+ pounds of supplies from a previous shipment.
Mano a Mano Has a LOT of Projects…
One of the most impressive things to me about Mano a Mano is just how much we have going on. All of our 5 counterpart organizations always have multiple new projects underway, multiple new projects under consideration in other communities, and many many more activities taking place on a daily basis.
These new activities don’t even mention the projects that are already completed and serve hundreds of thousands of people. Last year Mano a Mano’s network of clinics had 1,197,078 million patient visits; that means that on any given day our clinics had 3,280 visits. Our roads and water projects benefit tens of thousands of rural Bolivians every day. Volunteers in Minnesota are contributing an average of 49 hours every day. We are providing an average of 1.3 people with emergency air rescues every day. Almost every weekend there is at least one education workshop (agricultural or health-related) or jornada (weekend health clinic) or both. And there are many more that aren’t even mentioned there. This isn’t meant to brag; we just have a lot going on!
Where are We Going?
Going forward, we are hoping to continue to build on our base: responding to communities in Bolivia and the needs that they have identified for themselves; maintaining the projects that we already have built, to make sure that they can continue to provide high-quality services for the long-term; and continuing to collect surplus supplies in the Twin Cities that equip our projects in Bolivia and reduce waste in Minnesota.
I am now Executive Director of Mano a Mano in the US (another change from my last post!), and I am very excited for the future of Mano a Mano and building the next generation of our organization, both here and in Bolivia. Mano a Mano’s co-founders Joan and Segundo Velasquez have done so much – they have been doing this basically full-time+ for more than 20 years, as volunteers – and we are working hard to build Mano a Mano as an organization so that they can have more manageable roles going forward, and so that we can continue to make a meaningful impact for many more years to come.
There are always a lot of things going on, and also many ways to help; I want to make sure to share more about what’s going on and let you know what we’re up to and how you can get involved. (Here is an upcoming volunteer opportunity at our St. Paul warehouse on November 19th, and on December 1st from 5.30-7.30p we are having an open house at our St. Paul warehouse. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information if you are interested in attending (RSVP required for that event).)
Mano a Mano has been around for more than 20 years, and we have built a base that is truly impressive. We owe a lot of our success to you – our volunteers & donors – and the many people that are involved in every single project we do, including our staff & volunteers in both the US and Bolivia, the municipal and national governments in Bolivia, and the rural communities in Bolivia that are the drivers of their projects; we truly couldn’t do it without all of you! Working together, we have been able to accomplish hundreds of projects that none of us could do on our own. Every dollar you donate, every hour you volunteer, is multiplied many times over by every one else that partners with us. Whenever we say the word ‘we’, that in reality means a lot of people, because that is the only way ‘we’ can get big things done.
Support Mano a Mano on Give to the Max Day – Thursday, November 12th
Also, just a friendly reminder that tomorrow, Thursday, November 12th is Give to the Max Day – a day of giving for Minnesota-based schools and nonprofits. Any donations made November 11th or November 12th are eligible for a number of prizes to increase the impact of your gift.
If you are interested in supporting Mano a Mano, CLICK HERE to go to our Give to the Max Day page.
Thanks to everyone that I have gotten to know over the past 10 years, and I’m looking forward to the future!
Nate Knatterud-Hubinger, Director – U.S. email: email@example.com
Support Mano a Mano on Give to the Max Day
If you live in Minnesota, you are no doubt aware that this Thursday is Give to the Max Day – a day of giving for Minnesota-based nonprofits and schools. There are many prizes and giveaways that every donation is eligible for, and it is a good opportunity for a chance to increase the impact of your donation. Any donations made this week, between now and November 12th will be automatically transacted as part of Give to the Max Day.
We Collect Supplies in Minnesota to Change Lives in Bolivia
This child was one of nearly 200 recipients of custom-fit wheelchairs from Mano a Mano (in collaboration with Hope Haven); that distribution was one of many events that we do every year.
Our Goal – To Ship 25,000 Pounds of Supplies Like This Wheelchair (above)
To support Mano a Mano, you can go to our Give to the Max Day page and DONATE HERE. Our goal is to cover the cost of shipping one 40-foot container – with about 25,000 pounds of donated medical, school, and construction supplies – from Minnesota to Bolivia to equip Mano a Mano projects, give supplies to other organizations working with those in need, and give supplies to individuals that request supplies. Learn more about our surplus distribution program – and why it’s so important – here.
43 Pictures from our Surplus Distribution Program
Donate to Mano a Mano on Give to the Max Day
CLICK HERE to go to Mano a Mano’s Give to the Max Day, and please share our page with anybody that may be interested. Thanks!
Distributing Supplies in Bolivia with the Mano a Mano Plane
In Minnesota, Mano a Mano collects donated surplus supplies like crutches, wheelchairs, medical & school supplies. We ship these supplies to Bolivia, where they are distributed to Mano a Mano projects and other organizations throughout Bolivia. We have distributed more than 3.5 million pounds since 1994.
Mano a Mano projects, and the supplies we distribute, are especially focused on small, isolated rural communities. Our aviation program helps with this outreach, allowing Mano a Mano to work in areas that could take hours or days to reach, but only take minutes in the plane.
In the department of Beni, we respond to requests for flights in cases of emergency, where it could take residents 10-20 hours or more to reach emergency care; with the plane we can get them to a hospital in a couple of hours. We also take advantage of flights to transport supplies; here we are dropping off crutches and medical supplies in San Ignacio de Moxo.
In 2014 the Mano a Mano aviation program was hugely important after extreme flooding; it allowed us to respond by air-dropping food and supplies to communities that were cut off and also provide weekend health clinics and other support.
Thanks Cumberland, WI Urban Immersion Volunteers
Thanks to the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches Urban Immersion volunteers from Cumberland High School in Cumberland, Wisconsin that sorted and packed supplies this morning! These supplies will be included in our next shipment to Bolivia, where they will be distributed to Mano a Mano programs and other organizations throughout the country.
The picture below is an example of a small distribution of similar supplies to what was sorted this morning – crutches and medical supplies – using one of the Mano a Mano planes, which allows us to distribute supplies to the most remote areas of Bolivia.
Volunteer Opportunities in November 2015
Interested in helping reduce waste in Minnesota while making a difference in thousands of Bolivians’ lives?
You are welcome to stop by Mano a Mano (925 Pierce Butler Route, St. Paul, MN 55104) to volunteer and help sort & pack donated surplus supplies at any of the following times this month, no RSVP needed.
- Saturday, November 14th from 9a-noon (AT CAPACITY)
- Thursday, November 19th from 5-7p
You are welcome to come at any time in those windows, for as long or as short of a time as you’d like. We are also happy to set up other times – whether for you on your own or for a group. Please email Carmen (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the times that you are interested and we will try to make it work. If you have any questions please contact Carmen.
Why I Volunteer – Bob Lundgren
Below is a brief interview with Bob Lundgren, a longtime Mano a Mano supporter, about why he volunteers with Mano a Mano. Over the next few months we are going to be sharing a number of ‘Why I Volunteer’ stories, to highlight some of the wonderful people that truly make our organization go. Thanks Bob!
How did you get started at Mano a Mano?
My wife, Margi, had worked with Joan Velazquez at Ramsey County. One day Margi got an email from Joan saying that she and Segundo (Mano a Mano’s founders) needed volunteers to help load up a semi trailer with donated medical equipment and supplies. I didn’t know anything about the organization but was willing to help. We went over there and my jaw just dropped. The backyard and half the house was full medical supplies and equipment. A group of people was already there. We all pitched in. It felt good and it was fun. I started looking forward to calls for volunteers.
What do you do for Mano a Mano now?
Mostly I do warehouse work. I sort supplies and equipment and load them on shipping pallets. When shipping containers are being sent to Bolivia I help load the containers which is usually done over a crazy, fun three days. It’s good, physical work.
Why do you keep volunteering?
I keep doing it because Mano a Mano is creating sustainable long term development solutions that address rural poverty in Bolivia. It’s not a short-term build-something-and-leave program. It’s a dynamic, constantly evolving organization.
I keep doing it because I think I’m helping out communities that don’t have a lot of resources but have a commitment to bettering their situation.
I keep doing it because the people I work with are without exception delightful.
I also keep doing it because for me working in the warehouse is like playtime. Who wouldn’t enjoy wrestling towering pallets of boxes around with pallet jacks and a fork lift?