Mano a Mano Speaker Series: April 9, 2019

Join us at Mano a Mano on Tuesday, April 9 for our monthly Speaker Series event. April’s speaker is Jesús N. Pinto-Ledezma, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He will be discussing the Hyacinth Macaw program in Bolivia. The event is free and takes places at Mano a Mano (925 Pierce Butler Route, St. Paul, MN 55104) from 6:30pm-7:45pm.

Note: There is not a Speaker Series event scheduled in March 2019.

Please RSVP with Carmen if you plan on attending – carmen@manoamano.org. We hope to see you there!

2,711 Visitors to the Center for Ecological Agriculture in 2018

In 2018, the CEA provided agricultural/environmental training and education to 2,711 people.

Here are some recent examples from the past few weeks:


Two recent groups of visitors to Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA): Scouts visited to learn about local environmental challenges in Cochabamba and how the CEA works to address them through ecological agriculture (top); and local area students learn about different methods of irrigation (bottom).

Busy morning at Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA): Maria is demonstrating the benefits of local irrigation methods to a group of visitors (mostly in the blue and red, center-right), and staff and volunteers are working on installing a new corral for chickens (the yellow sheet in the upper left).

When we started the Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) about 5 years ago, we barely generated enough organic/green material to make one pile of compost. In 2018, we made 39 piles (like this one), and our goal in 2019 is 70 compost piles.

Visiting Mano a Mano’s Newest Water Reservoir in Maldonado, Bolivia

Yesterday (February 26, 2019), Mano a Mano staff visited our newest water reservoir project in Maldonado, Bolivia – and it’s at close to full capacity of its maximum water level.

Mano a Mano staff started work on this water project in February 2017. As with many of our projects, the working conditions have been difficult: it is about 14,000 feet above sea level, and it is cold, wet, and windy.

This project will make it possible for 96 subsistence farm families (about 600 people) to irrigate 250 acres of cropland and to water their livestock, as well as having water for household use.

With the recent severe drought in Bolivia, with effects felt for many years, water projects like this one are especially important to help rural communities manage their resources throughout the year.

Because of the need, water projects are a high priority for Mano a Mano and the communities that we partner with. In addition to building large-scale water reservoirs, we also build surface wells and small water ponds in communities where the smaller projects are a better fit.

Mano a Mano Plane Close to Flying in Bolivia

Mano a Mano Plane Close to Flying in Bolivia

Last week we painted on the new plane registration number as we are close to finalizing being certified in Bolivia – it is almost ready to start flying and providing emergency flights! We are very excited for the impact this plane will have on our aviation program in Bolivia, allowing us to better serve the people in need that our program focuses on.

Mano a Mano’s plane has been re-painted with its new registration number – CP-3118, formerly N900RG when it was registered in the US – for flying in Bolivia.

Getting this plane ready to fly has taken over 2 years; from searching for a plane throughout the US that would meet the requirements to navigate the difficult flying and landing conditions in Bolivia, to raising funds to purchase the plane, to having our pilots fly up to the US from Bolivia for training in the summer of 2018, to flying the plane from St. Paul, Minnesota to Cochabamba, Bolivia over the course of a week in October 2018, to the many months of paperwork and inspections that are required to import and certify a plane…this is a long process. We are grateful to the many people that have put in a lot of time, energy, and resources – and that continue to do so – to make this possible.

First Flight at Fleming Field in Minnesota – Summer 2018

Learn more about Mano a Mano’s aviation program, and the impact this new plane will have, here (and check out its test flight at Fleming Field last summer).

Mano a Mano Water Project in March 2019 Rotarian Magazine

Mano a Mano Water Project in March 2019 Rotarian Magazine

One of Mano a Mano’s water projects in Omereque was mentioned in the most recent edition of The Rotarian. The text is below, or you can read a PDF of the March 2019 Rotarian article here.

Write-Up of Rotary’s Project with Mano a Mano in the March 2019 Rotarian Magazine

Omereque Water Projects Started with a Request from the Community to Mano a Mano

Farmers from the Omereque, Bolivia municipality presented a compelling request to our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo in 2016. Its farmers said, “Drought is killing our crops. Please help us with water. We will not waste a drop.”

Together with municipal officials and community leaders, Nuevo Mundo designed a surface well project to assist farmers who live near a river. The surface wells access water that seeps underground from rivers during the dry season. 

Surface Wells

The surface wells consist of digging a well near a river basin.

The surface wells consist of digging a well near a river basin.

Wells are lined with cement rings and covered with a solid lid. Pumps are used to extract water to irrigate fields.

Wells are lined with cement rings and covered with a solid lid. Pumps are used to extract water to irrigate fields.

Water Ponds

For farmers who do not live near a river, Nuevo Mundo dredged and re-built ponds that farmers had dug but had not been able to filter properly. Their ponds filled with silt and no longer held water.

One of the 140 water ponds improved by Mano a Mano in the Omereque area.

5,200 People Benefit from these Water Projects

The 40 surface wells and 140 farm ponds that we have since built throughout Omereque now provide water for livestock, crops, and household use for about 5,200 people. Farmers tell us that their crop production is doubling. Thanks to generous donations from Rotary Clubs (see the article above) and many individuals, these farm families now have enough to eat.