2013 Annual Report
2013 was a busy and exciting year for Mano a Mano! As we get closer to celebrating our 20th year in operation in 2014, we wanted to look back at a few of the things that we were able to accomplish with YOU – our amazing staff, donors, volunteers, and communities in the US and Bolivia (annual reports for previous years are available HERE):
Moved Into our Own Combined Office/Warehouse Space in St. Paul
In January, Mano a Mano moved out of our co-founders’ home in Mendota Heights, which had been our offices for our first 18 years, and into our own combined office/warehouse space in St. Paul. This was a huge change for us but was very much needed (learn more about why we moved here). Having this new space has opened up many opportunities that were simply not possible before.
Started a Dedicated Internship Program
Since our move into our new location in St. Paul in 2013, Mano a Mano has, for the first time, had sufficient space to develop an internship program. Mano a Mano interns have helped with research projects, office and administrative tasks, and working with volunteer groups; in our first year we have had interns from the University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Humphrey School, London School of Economics, Johns Hopkins University, Grinnell College, University of Denver, DePaul University, and Macalester College, among others. Special thanks to all of our amazing interns!
Brought our Demonstration and Training Center into Operation
Our Demonstration and Training Center is a new pilot project, which you can learn more about here.
Completed our 10,000th Individual Distribution of Supplies in Bolivia and Shipped 76,129 Pounds from Minnesota
We reached a milestone in our distribution of donated supplies with our 10,000th individual distribution of supplies in 2013! Every container that we ship from our Minnesota warehouse is distributed to our own infrastructure projects, as well as to other nonprofit organizations, hospitals, and individuals throughout Bolivia.
We also shipped 76,129 pounds in 2013; that is the most we have shipped in a single year since 2008. Shipping has proven more difficult for a number of reasons – primarily much higher shipping costs (costs have nearly tripled), and not being eligible for the funding program that allowed us to ship most of our first 2 million pounds completely free of charge – but the distribution program is extremely important to ensure that our network of clinics and other projects are fully equipped to maintain high-quality care, and we have made it work!
Completed 9 New Health Clinics
Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia completed 9 new health clinics in the following communities:
Surpassed 5 Million Patient Visits
In 2013 our clinic program had its 5 millionth patient visit since the program began 15 years ago. Mano a Mano’s clinics are focused on primary care, especially for mothers and children up to 5 years old. Our clinic program is getting close to 1 million patient visits each year, with more than 700,000 Bolivians having access to health care for the first time through Mano a Mano clinics; read more about our comprehensive health program at the following links:
- Health Program Update for first half of 2013
- Health Program Update for third quarter of 2013
- Health Education Program Results in 2013
- Overview of Mano a Mano’s Partnership Model
Organized Trips to Bolivia for 79 People
Traveling to Bolivia is a tremendous opportunity for Mano a Mano supporters to see first-hand what we are doing and how their efforts – ‘hand in hand’ with local communities, municipal governments, and Mano a Mano staff and volunteers – are making a difference. Below are a few of the trips from 2013:
- Mano a Mano Intern Samantha Carter writes about her experience in Bolivia in August 2013
- Mano a Mano Executive Director Dan Narr writes about the emotional experience of distributing wheelchairs to disabled Bolivians in December 2013
- In June, 9 teachers from the US traveled to Bolivia as part of a teacher exchange pilot program
- Volunteers from Medical Educators for Latin America (MELA) organized 2 continuing health education workshops for Bolivian medical professionals in collaboration with our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia (MELA also moved into our new office/warehouse space in 2013 as well!)
US Volunteers Contributed 22,448 Hours
Mano a Mano depends on its volunteers to support our small US staff in every aspect of the organization – everything from collecting and sorting supplies to ship, to helping with office tasks, to providing pro bono consulting and working on research projects. US volunteers contributed 22,448 hours in 2013, up from 19,068 in 2012.
Since our move, we have also been able to comfortably host many larger groups, including corporate volunteer groups from Cargill, Target, Environmental Resources Management, Anchor Bank, and more than 420 employees from Medtronic in June as part of their Project 6 volunteer effort. Student groups from St. Kate’s, the University of Minnesota, Macalester, and other schools volunteer regularly.
With our new space we can now participate in events like Citizen Katie Day; on October 12, 20 St. Kate’s students, faculty, and alumnae volunteered at Mano a Mano as part of a larger group of 300 people that volunteered around the Twin Cities.
More than 600 people from the Twin Cities volunteered with Mano a Mano for the first time in 2013!
Bolivia Volunteers Contributed Tens of Thousands of Hours
Everything we do in Bolivia originates from the community itself, and the spirit of volunteerism starts with the community. In 2013, community residents volunteered literally tens of thousands of volunteer hours working on their own projects; this is in addition to Mano a Mano staff in Bolivia and volunteers in Bolivia contributing more than 25,000 hours with our counterpart organizations.
Built 2 New Schools
Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia completed new school projects, which included community bathrooms, teacher housing, and classrooms, in 2 communities:
- Santa Fe
- Huanuma (2 classrooms, 2 teacher housing units, community bathroom station with 2 showers and 4 bathrooms, and laundry facilities)
Completed a New Water Project in Pasorapa
In 2013, our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo completed a water project in Pasorapa. Pasorapa is the largest and driest municipality in the department of Cochabamba, and raising cattle is one of the principal activities for Pasorapa residents. Recent years have seen severe droughts – 30,000 families have lost cattle, and Pasorapa was declared a National Emergency Zone. The new reservoir holds 40,000 cubic meters, more than eight times the original capacity, and water is now available year-round rather than 3-4 months of water access previously. 540 Bolivians (or 90 families) benefit from the Pasorapa reservoir.
Made Progress on our Biggest Road Project
Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo has been working hard on our largest and most challenging road project to date – a 60-kilometer road in El Palmar, Bolivia. More than 40 kilometers of the road has been complete; the rest will be finished this year. The road will provide access and communication to 18,180 people who live in the area, allow farmers to take products to outside markets, and create opportunities for families and hope for the children of this whole region. Travel time from the village of El Palmar to Culpina’s southern border (the road to Tarija and Santa Cruz) will be reduced from 24 hours on horseback to 2 hours by truck. The project location is so isolated that it takes our staff 27 hours to drive from Cochabamba to the site.
- More information on El Palmar road project
- Dedication of road project in Curzani, Bolivia in September 2013
Provided 501 Emergency Air Rescues
Every project that we do – whether it is building a road, clinic, school, or water project; providing education and exchange programs; or collecting and shipping surplus supplies – is a huge collaborative effort. Every project brings together many disparate groups, in many countries, working ‘hand in hand’ to achieve things that no one group could accomplish on its own. Some contributions are small, some are large, but every single contribution is important.
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu