Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Internacional has 2 main program areas:

  • Distributing medical supplies and mobility equipment sent from Minnesota to people in need throughout Bolivia
  • Training, education, and learning programs:
    • Agriculture education & training provided through our Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) in Cochabamba, Bolivia
    • Physical therapy
    • Teacher training
    • Other pilot programs and research projects that fit a relevant need

Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA), located on the outskirts of Cochabamba, provides low-cost training and tools to rural Bolivian farmers.

Distributing Medical Supplies and Mobility Equipment Sent From Minnesota Throughout Bolivia

In 2022, Mano a Mano shipped 9 40-foot containers with 220,704 pounds of supplies from Minnesota to Bolivia. Distributing medical supplies & equipment is managed by our St. Paul, Minnesota office and received by our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Internacional in Cochabamba, who then distributes supplies throughout Bolivia.

Organizing supplies sent from Minnesota for distribution at our Cochabamba warehouse.

Mano a Mano staff and volunteers sort medical supplies sent from Minnesota to organize them for distribution throughout Bolivia at our Cochabamba warehouse.

One recipient of a Mano a Mano wheelchair in 2022.

Geographic Locations of Types of Institutions That Received Supplies and Equipment From Mano A Mano Internacional In 2022

Mano a Mano distributed supplies to 293 organizations across all 9 departments of Bolivia – in 67 municipalities and 1,088 communities. 194 of these 293 receiving organizations were primary care clinics; 27 were 2nd and 3rd level hospitals; 72 recipients were churches, nonprofits, orphanages, schools and universities, and other civic organizations; and in addition 71 individuals received supplies.

We distributed 6,992 mobility aids in 2022:

  • 246 wheelchairs
  • 463 walkers
  • 2,340 pairs of crutches
  • 3,493 canes
  • Other items including specialty wheelchairs, walkers with seats and wheels, etc.
  • We also provided prosthetics for 12 individuals

The number of mobility aids is down from the 10,000+ we distributed in 2021, but still in line with our number of mobility aids distributed in previous years (7,293 in 2020 and 6,426 in 2019). This is mainly because we are sending less of these items from Minnesota; our primary source of these items throughout our history stopped their collection of these items about a year ago, so we have had to spend much more time and resources searching for mobility equipment to send (and mobility equipment is one of our most in-demand, high priority items year after year). When we have less mobility equipment available, we prioritize sending items to people with severe or permanent conditions and supporting primary care clinics in rural areas.

A distribution of crutches and walkers at the Mano a Mano Internacional office/warehouse in 2022.

20,289 Volunteer Hours

Volunteers contributed 20,289 volunteer hours with Mano a Mano Internacional in 2022. This encompasses a wide variety of projects that we do through Mano a Mano Internacional: volunteering and internship experiences at our Center for Ecological Agriculture; organizing medical supplies and mobility equipment for distribution (3,371 people spent 13,481 hours on this never-ending process!); and volunteering and internship experiences through our Physical Therapy program. These volunteer hours only include time spent with our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Internacional and do not include the thousands of hours of volunteer time contributed with our 4 other counterpart organizations (3 in Cochabamba and 1 in St. Paul, Minnesota).

A distribution of medical supplies in 2022.

Learn More About Our Medical Surplus Distributions in Bolivia in 2022

Center for Ecological Agriculture in 2022

In 2022, Mano a Mano Internacional provided guided tours to 1,194 visitors (mostly students) and implemented 100 workshops for 2,076 participants, 569 of whom were farmers (the others include professionals, students, teachers, and volunteers). This number of workshops is the most we have hosted through our CEA (there were 68 in 2019, 8 in 2020, and 41 in 2021 as we slowly got back on track post-severe-COVID). Most of these workshops happen onsite at our CEA in Cochabamba, but we also travel to provide workshops in rural communities or at agronomy institutes in rural areas.

Learn More About CEA Projects in 2022

Other Training & Education Projects

Over the past year, we completed a new office building in Bolivia so that all 4 of our counterpart organizations have their own permanent space that is not connected to our co-founders. This new office building hosts our physical therapy program, which in its first year provided intensive treatment for 30 young children with challenges requiring specialized PT support; made specialized equipment available to 40 additional children; trained 20 physical therapists and 5 interns; and trained 30 caregivers (mostly parents) to assist the child who is in their care.

We also expanded our teacher training programs. This project builds on a teacher training pilot project undertaken by Mano a Mano from 2013-2018. The pilot concluded with the publication and testing of a training manual in June of 2019. In 2022, our goal was to improve the education offered to rural Bolivian public school students with an emphasis on interactive learning through use of conceptual maps. During our search process for a qualified teacher to help manage this project, the Normal Simon school, located about 15 miles from our Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) in Cochabamba, approached Mano a Mano with a request: could we provide agriculture-related training for their students. Given that Normal students would be teaching in rural schools, the faculty wanted them to be better prepared to include lessons in their classroom teaching that rural students and their parents would find relevant to their daily lives. In addition to providing agricultural training, CEA staff saw this request as an opportunity to provide training on interactive and conceptual maps to students whose teaching practices are in the formation stage, ones who are most likely to integrate new methods into their classroom teaching. We are expanding this teacher training to other communities over the next few years.

A teacher training workshop at Normal Simon Bolivar in October 2022. (You can see the Mano a Mano Teacher Manual in the foreground.)

Learn More about Mano a Mano Internacional’s Training & Education Programs in 2022

Training & Education; Distributing Supplies in Bolivia – 2022 Photos