A Look Back At What We Did in 2017 – Mano a Mano 2017 Annual Report
Mano a Mano’s biggest strength is our community-based partnership model – bringing many people together to accomplish things that none of us could do on our own. Every activity, every project new or old, every event, depends on the dedication & effort of many people. Before we look back at what we were able to do in 2017, we want to thank you:
- the communities & municipal governments in Bolivia;
- the people, schools, churches, community organizations, and foundations in the US;
- the people from many other countries that support Mano a Mano;
- and, of course, the core Mano a Mano staff & volunteers at all 5 of our counterpart organizations in Bolivia and the US.
Without you – every person coming together and doing their part – none of this would be possible. Thank you!
Annual Reports from Previous Years: 2014-2016
Check out our previous Annual Reports from the past 3 years (all financial statements, 990s, and previous year’s annual reports are available HERE):
2017 Annual Report
Shipped 205,675 Pounds of Donated Supplies from Minnesota to Bolivia
Mano a Mano was started in 1994 with the goal of saving medical supplies that our co-founders saw being wasted in Minnesota and putting them to use in Bolivia, where they knew that there was a need. The surplus distribution program continues to be a critical part of our programs as we have expanded into other areas.
Supplies are Distributed Throughout Bolivia
Supplies are distributed in Bolivia, free of charge, to Mano a Mano’s projects, other nonprofit/civic organizations that help people in need, and individuals throughout the country. Below is a small sample of where the supplies ended up in 2017:
- Donating Medical Supplies to Senior Living Homes in La Paz and Oruro
- Distributing Wheelchairs and Supplies in Capinota, Bolivia
- Distributing 90,000 Pounds of Medical Supplies to 60+ Organizations on July 1, 2017
- Donating 2 Planeloads of Medical Supplies in San Ignacio de Moxos, Bolivia
- Exchanging Supplies with HERO Fargo in North Dakota
- Giving Supplies for Rodrigo’s Broken Arm
From Minnesota to Bolivia: Distributing Donated Medical Supplies
A Gift in Memory of Tamar
The shipment of a large portion of these supplies was made possible in support of Maya Hanna and Daniel Kaplan’s request to honor their daughter Tamar Kaplan’s 25th golden birthday. From Maya and Daniel’s letter they sent to friends & family: “June 25, 2017 will be Tamar’s 25th birthday. We would like to celebrate her golden birthday in a manner that acknowledges her life, as well as the life she did not get to live.” Tamar tragically died in a car accident in Bolivia in 2013 while traveling in South America.
More than $60,000 was raised in memory of Tamar, to help ship and distribute 5 containers with 120,882 pounds of medical supplies and equipment to people in need in Bolivia.
Constructed 40 Surface Wells & 45 Farm Ponds
Rural community leaders approach us regularly with requests to help them access water. Severe drought has plagued Bolivia’s Andean regions for the past several years. In 2017, the national Bolivian government declared a state of emergency in 172 of the country’s 339 municipalities because of drought-related livestock and crop loss. The drought affected more than 145,000 farming households with damage to nearly 299,000 hectares of crops and loss of 370,000 cattle.
Extensive discussions lay the groundwork for developing formal agreements among the elected community leaders, municipal officials and Mano a Mano, and define, prior to initiating the project, the contributions and responsibilities of each participating entity.
Mano a Mano provides required machinery and raises partial funding for construction and skilled labor. Community residents contribute the unskilled labor, any locally available building materials such as sand, gravel, or stone, and a portion of the funds. Local governments may also provide a portion of the funds, as well as engineering expertise.
Provided 50 Weekend Health Clinics in 2017
In 2017, Mano a Mano’s aviation program provided 50 weekend health clinics to communities with limited access to medical care. The number of weekend clinics is up from 32 in 2010 – a 56% increase.
Constructed 4 New Health Clinics (162 Total)
With a new clinic, medical professionals working in the community have a much more comfortable working environment (which is very important for retaining staff in isolated rural communities), and community residents have regular access to quality health care services provided through the Bolivian Health Ministry. The new clinic has space for a doctor, nurse, and dentist, and typically includes a pharmacy, patient beds, birthing room, and offices to provide comprehensive basic medical services (the number of medical professionals, and services available, vary for each clinic).
Our clinic program’s approach is that health outcomes can be dramatically improved with simple yet effective interventions, beginning with the basic ability to consistently access quality services in their own communities.
As a Mano a Mano clinic, it has access to Volunteer Health Promoter Training and Continuing Health Education workshops provided through our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia; it will also receive equipment and supplies to ensure that it is fully-furnished, and is connected with Mano a Mano Bolivia medical staff via radio for help with any difficult cases or issues.
- Villa Pampa
- Morado K’asa
Mano a Mano’s network of clinics average nearly 1 million patient visits each year.
Provided Emergency Flights for 306 People
The Mano a Mano – Apoyo Aereo (Air Support) aviation program makes it possible for Mano a Mano to partner with and provide urgently needed services to isolated rural communities whose distance from the city would otherwise prohibit their inclusion in Mano a Mano’s projects. Mano a Mano uses aviation for four purposes:
- To safely transport Mano a Mano staff and volunteers to remote communities in order to: determine whether a community’s request to partner with Mano a Mano will be accepted; meet with community leaders and local government officials to develop partnership agreements and project plans; select building sites; supervise construction; deliver medical supplies; provide health care, health education and supervision;
- To airlift critically ill and injured patients to city hospitals for emergency care;
- To make flight hours available to other non-profit organizations whose missions are consistent with that of Mano a Mano;
- To generate revenue by making flight hours available at a commercial rate to businesses and the general public.
Trained 720 Farmers & 1,903 Students, and Constructed 41 Greenhouses through the Center for Ecological Agriculture
Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) provides training and tools to improve food security & nutrition for Bolivian farm families. The tools available include cisterns and other small water projects, greenhouses, livestock pens, and biodigesters. The training includes on-site workshops at the CEA, as well as training provided directly in communities. The CEA has continued to grow and become more and more of an integral Mano a Mano program.
Water Projects – Wirkini
The Wirkini project was completed in October 2016 and joins Mano a Mano’s 8 other large-scale water retention projects that benefit 131,062 people throughout Bolivia (51,062 directly). Our first water reservoir was built in Ucuchi, Bolivia in 2005 (this reservoir is the other project featured in the video) and has been consistently providing water to the community for more than a decade, even in times of drought like Bolivia is currently experiencing.
Volunteers Gave 34,197 Hours in Bolivia
Whether it’s Bolivian medical professionals giving up their weekends to fly to the Amazon to provide health clinics, or helping to organize and distribute donated medical supplies at our Cochabamba warehouse, or travelers from the US that help out for a few months at the CEA, volunteers are a huge part of our success in Bolivia.
Volunteers Gave 18,979 Hours in the United States
Mano a Mano has a full-time staff of 2 in the US – we depend on volunteers in every part of our operations. Volunteers pick up, sort, and pack donated supplies at our St. Paul warehouse; help manage the office; assist with research projects; sell Mano a Mano crafts; serve on our board; host events and raise funds; and many, many other tasks.
Here is a small sample of how volunteers helped in 2017:
- Volunteer Spotlight: Richard and Susan Eyre
- Volunteer Spotlight: Lori Wedeking
- Volunteer Spotlight: Bobbie Baker
- Thanks St. Kate’s Volunteers
- Thanks Volunteers in Action
- Thanks DeLaSalle Volunteers
- Thanks MINN Volunteers
- Thanks MN Alliance With Youth, St. Kate’s, and Mano a Mano Volunteers
Water Projects – Maldonado
Water is starting to fill in Mano a Mano’s water reservoir project in Maldonado, Bolivia.
Mano a Mano staff started work on this new water project in February 2017. As with many of our projects, the working conditions are difficult: it is about 14,000 feet above sea level, and it is cold, wet, and windy.
When completed, 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 severe drought currently affecting Bolivia, water projects like this one are especially important to help rural communities manage their resources.
Constructed 2 New Schools (61 Total)
Access to education in rural Bolivia is a huge challenge; Bolivian adults (25-65) in urban areas have on average 9.98 years of schooling, whereas Bolivian adults in rural areas have on average 4.85 years of schooling, one of the biggest gaps in Latin America. Education can have a big impact; each additional year of schooling can increase income by up to 10%, and a child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past age 5. The first step in improving education for kids in rural areas is to decrease the distance to get to a school, improve school infrastructure & the learning environment, and have motivated teachers that are consistently available.
Mano a Mano completed 2 new school projects in 2017:
The project includes 3 classrooms, a teacher housing unit, and bathrooms. The new school will be a much more comfortable learning environment for the students, and a more comfortable working environment for the teachers.
Every project that Mano a Mano does, including this school in Guitarrani, depends on many people working together. The Guitarrani School project is a collaboration with:
- our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia
- the community of Guitarrani
- the Alcaldia of Icla
- funding from donors in the US, with many Rotary Clubs supporting this school project in Guitarrani: Rotary Club of Thunder Bay (Fort William), Fort William Satellite Club, Rotary Club of Thunder Bay (Port Arthur), Lakehead Rotary Club, International Falls Rotary Club, Duluth Harbortown Rotary Club, Cochabamba Concordia Rotary Club
Constructed New Roads, Landing Strips, and Provided Road Improvements
Transportation infrastructure in rural Bolivia is often lacking, which is especially challenging considering the extreme mountainous terrain high in the Andes Mountains. In response, Mano a Mano partners with communities on transportation improvement projects to cut down travel times and improve access to basic services.
Watch the video below about our El Palmar road project (completed in 2014) to learn more about Mano a Mano’s road projects:
San Lorenzo Runway
Mano a Mano worked to improve the runway in San Lorenzo in 2017. Trees, bushes, and debris had to be removed and much of the runway had to be elevated due to moisture on the platform after a rain. Improvement and extension of the runway surface area allows larger planes (like Mano a Mano’s Navajo) to more safely land and take off with a full load. 60% of the flights Mano a Mano makes are into this area of San Lorenzo. The mayor’s office contributed about 250 gallons of diesel. These projects are important, as we want to to protect our people and our equipment that fly in and out of these areas. Over the years Mano a Mano has built or improved dozens of runways throughout rural Bolivia.
San Lorenzo Road Improvement
Mano a Mano responded to the community’s request to fix the roadbed that had been damaged by flooding. The floods also washed away various bridges. Instead of building bridges, Mano a Mano personnel installed cement rings (which were essentially donated from another project) as outlets for the water to escape under the roadbed.
Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia, in partnership with the Municipal Governments of Icla and Tarvita, and Rotary Clubs in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Bolivia (Duluth Harbortown, Duluth Rotary #25, Superior Rotary, Fargo, Fargo-West, Moorhead, Fargo-Moorhead AM, Skyline Rotary, Rotary District 5580, Rotary Foundation, and Concordia Rotary Club Cochabamba), completed an 8.4 mile road project to improve access between the communities of Mara Pampa and Sumala.
Sustainability of Projects
Mano a Mano has completed more than 300 projects, with a number of new projects underway at any given time. Every new project is a direct request from each community, and they are an active participant throughout the process. There are hundreds of communities on our waiting list for projects, and we are trying to meet the high demand as our resources allow us to.
But the most important aspect of these projects for Mano a Mano is the sustainability of projects that have been built; we want to ensure that anything that we build is used efficiently, is used for its intended purpose, and is in use for a long time. Every Mano a Mano project that has been built continues to be in operation.
One of Mano a Mano’s basic philosophies in our community-based development model is to provide the most basic needs for communities – clinics, schools, roads, water projects, aviation runways, agricultural tools and training – that can serve as a springboard for other projects. (For an example of this, watch this video about our road project in El Palmar, Bolivia.)
- Mano a Mano’s first major water reservoir built in 2006 is now part of the San Isidro Ecotourism Park
- Mano a Mano traveled to Omereque, Bolivia in March 2017 to spend time with community members and see Mano a Mano projects that had been in operation for many years
- In addition to building new clinics, Mano a Mano makes sure to provide health education & training for clinic staff and medical professionals throughout the country. Here’s an overview of health education programs managed by Mano a Mano Bolivia in the last quarter of 2017.
- Our Center for Ecological Agriculture provides workshops to improve food security & nutrition for rural farmers.
- Medical Educators for Latin America (MELA) hosted their 10th international course on acute care for medical professionals in Bolivia, in collaboration with Mano a Mano, in March 2017.
- Teachers from Minnesota traveled to Bolivia in June 2017 to visit rural Bolivian schools and view teaching methods, develop curriculum with their teachers, learn how they keep parents involved, and have an opportunity to interact with them in informal as well as classroom settings. The 2017 trip was our 5th trip with Minnesota & Bolivia teachers. Check out 31 pictures from their trip here.
Thank you to everyone that is a part of Mano a Mano!
How You Can Help
If you are interested in learning more about us, and how you can help, please feel free to contact us.
Stop by to volunteer.
Buy a book (all proceeds benefit Mano a Mano).
Share this page with friends & family. (There are sharing links at the bottom of this post.)
Together, we can make a real change – in Bolivia, and coming together as supporters in the US.