Below is a brief update about each of our major programs; although the first half of 2021 (and 2020 before it) has been extremely challenging, Mano a Mano continues distributing medical supplies, providing emergency flights, and building new health, education, water, and agricultural infrastructure projects in partnership with local communities in Bolivia.

Mano a Mano 2021 General Information

Recovered Resources Program: Shipping Medical Supplies From Minnesota to Bolivia

Mano a Mano has shipped 5 containers with 121,000+ pounds of medical supplies, mobility equipment, and other items from Minnesota to Bolivia in 2021. These supplies are distributed on a near-daily basis to individuals, Mano a Mano clinics, and other health organizations throughout Bolivia. Our most recent large-scale distribution took place on Friday, June 25th, when Mano a Mano and Rotary Club Oruro distributed medical supplies and equipment to 18 Oruro-area health centers.

Mano a Mano staff and volunteers loading medical supplies and equipment at our Cochabamba warehouse for transport to Oruro, June 2021.

Since April, we have been distributing durable medical equipment to individuals in need in the Twin Cities every other Saturday. The vast majority of the donated supplies and equipment we receive at our Minnesota warehouse (90%+) is shipped to Bolivia. Our core mission is to help communities in Bolivia, and that will continue to be our focus. But we are happy to partner with other organizations when we have excess supplies, items that we cannot send to Bolivia, or items that are not the highest priority for our programs. Ultimately, we want to keep these supplies out of the landfill in Minnesota, and get them to people in need.

Mano a Mano staff and volunteers loading containers with medical supplies and equipment at our St. Paul warehouse, June 2021.

Providing Emergency Flights

To watch the documentary on Amazon Prime Video: search for “On the Wing”; go to Season 2, Episode 1 – “Pilot of Hope.”

Mano a Mano Aviation provides air transport for people in need of emergency care; medical professionals to provide healthcare in rural communities during weekend health clinics; Mano a Mano staff, volunteers, and equipment as we partner with Bolivian communities on development projects; and the distribution of medical supplies and equipment. In spite of the unprecedented challenges of 2020, which included multiple months of being grounded due to COVID restrictions, our aviation program made 452 flights and transported about 95,000 pounds of medical supplies and equipment in 2020.

Arriving in Mapiri to transport a patient on the Mano a Mano plane, May 2021.

Here are pictures and more information about some of our emergency flights in May 2021. Many of our flights in recent months have been transporting COVID patients. One flight recipient wrote about his experience and gratitude for Mano a Mano Aviation; read Oscar’s story here.

Health & Education Infrastructure in Rural Bolivia

Despite the challenges of 2020, our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia completed 2 new schools and 4 health clinics; distributed medical supplies & equipment for COVID-19 support and basic health care; and provided continuing health education and educational materials (often virtually). Mano a Mano’s network of 173 clinics had 896,346 patient visits in 2020. We currently have six clinic and school projects with funding in place and construction planned for 2021. In spite of the resurgence of COVID (early June 2021 was the peak of COVID cases in Bolivia over the past 15 months), Mano a Mano Bolivia staff has been meeting with mayors and community leaders to re-negotiate agreements that were made with previous mayors and leaders prior to election of new officials.

Distributing medical supplies and equipment for Mano a Mano Bolivia, February 2021.

Building Water Projects & Economic Development Infrastructure

Through our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo, we have been building water reservoirs to improve community’s access to water since 2006, and over the past few years we have also acquired the heavy machinery and equipment necessary to drill deep wells – another means to improve access to water for communities in need.

Dedication brochure for the improved runway in Toro Toro, Bolivia, completed in May 2021.

Center for Ecological Agriculture in Cochabamba, Bolivia

Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) in Cochabamba, Bolivia provides training and tools for Bolivian farmers, with the goal of increasing food security and nutrition using an ecological approach. While the COVID-19 pandemic has limited in-person training and visits, Mano a Mano staff have been busy experimenting with new projects such as hydroponic lettuce and fodder. We have also expanded our internship program; interns perform essential tasks required to care for CEA’s gardens, animals, and hydroponic projects.

Drone view of Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

How Can I Help?

Every project Mano a Mano does is a partnership, with many people working together to make these projects possible. Communities and their municipal governments provide some funding, unskilled labor, and other resources; Mano a Mano’s counterpart organizations in Bolivia provide project oversight, skilled labor, and needed in-kind support (use of heavy machinery, donated supplies & equipment, etc.); and Mano a Mano International in Minnesota works on providing the resources that serve as the springboard to unlock support in Bolivia.

Regular meetings with communities are a critical part of Mano a Mano’s partnership-based approach to community development.

We need your support to ship donated medical supplies and equipment from Minnesota to Bolivia; to build new clinics, schools, water reservoirs and wells, roads and airstrips, and agricultural improvement projects in communities lacking these resources; to provide emergency flights for people in need; and to provide health education & agricultural training. We have 100+ communities on our waiting list – your financial contribution makes these projects possible.

Donate to Mano a Mano

You can make a donation here. Every dollar helps: with $1, we can ship & distribute $15-30 worth of medical supplies; with $2, a family in Bolivia can have access to water for 25 years; and with more, we can complete large-scale infrastructure projects that support communities for decades.

You are welcome to contact us if you are interested in volunteering or have any questions. Also, simply following us on social media (all links are on the top of this page, or go to our Linktree here) and sharing with your friends can be a big help. We are grateful for the many people that work together to make these projects possible!