Through our 5 counterpart organizations in St. Paul, Minnesota and Cochabamba, Bolivia, Mano a Mano continues to be busy building clinics and schools, deep water wells and water reservoirs, and greenhouses; providing medical supplies and equipment to people and organizations in need throughout Bolivia; providing emergency flights and cargo transport through our aviation program; and other projects.

Below is more information about some of these projects currently underway in November 2021. Every project is a partnership: the community in Bolivia requests a project and is involved throughout the process, Mano a Mano in the US and Bolivia has their role, the local government in Bolivia is typically involved (depending on the project type), and donors and volunteers provide the base of support to make each project possible.

Making Progress on Water Reservoirs and Water Wells

Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo constructs water projects in partnership with Bolivian communities; they are currently working on creating access to water for Punata’s drought-stricken farming communities. The 3rd expansion of the Laguna Sulti Reservoir, a critical resource for hundreds of the region’s subsistence farm families, is nearing completion. We have also completed multiple deep water well projects in recent months, with more scheduled in the coming months.

Expanded reservoir begins to fill with seasonal rain flowing from the Laguna Sulti River.

Eating the First Salad From a Mano a Mano Greenhouse in Corani Pampa

The high tropical village of Corani Pampa, Bolivia, home to 28 families (130 people), is partnering with Mano a Mano to build covered wood-framed greenhouse structures in which to plant fruits and vegetables. The community invited our agronomist Juan Carlos to eat the first salad grown with lettuce from their greenhouse a few days ago.

One of the Mano a Mano greenhouses in Corani Pampa.

Mano a Mano’s Aviation Program Made 498 Flights in January-October 2021

For nearly 15 years Mano a Mano’s aviation program has effectively delivered these services at no cost to Bolivian communities that have minimal access to health care:

  1. Emergency rescue of ill and injured individuals, transporting them to urban hospitals for life-saving treatment;
  2. Weekend clinics for which we transport volunteer health care professionals into remote areas to provide primary medical care, health and hygiene education, dental care, and referrals, if needed.

While issues related to the COVID pandemic have created added challenges, our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Aviation has airlifted 254 patients and transported 215,600 pounds of cargo in the first 10 months of 2021.

Bolivian Teachers Apply Workshop Learning in Their Classrooms

Last month, while traveling to deliver COVID-related medical supplies, Mano a Mano staff traveled through the municipality of Santivanez, site of several schools whose teachers attended our teacher training workshops. Teachers for grades 2 and 3 of the Unidad Educativa Cayacayani invited our traveling staff to visit their classrooms, excited to share how they continue to use and expand on the methods they learned.

In 2013 a group of Bolivian public school teachers approached Mano a Mano with this request: “Our educational system is based on rote learning. We know that teachers in the U.S. have found ways of involving their students in the learning process. Could you bring teachers to Bolivia to share their methods? And we will share our experiences with them. We understand how Mano a Mano works, Hand in Hand, so everyone benefits.”
Our response: for seven years (2013-2019) Mano a Mano recruited groups of volunteer teachers in Minnesota who prepared the requested workshops, then traveled to Bolivia to deliver them.

During this seven-year project, the week-long workshop experiences involved:

  • 40 US teachers and related education professionals,
  • 495 Bolivian teachers,
  • 15 Bolivian schools, and
  • 5 Bolivian school districts.

To build on the workshop experiences and expand the number of teachers who could benefit from them, Minnesota and Bolivian teachers worked together to produce a training manual. This document presents the teaching methods that were taught during the workshops and gives examples of how Bolivian teachers applied them in the classroom.

Conceptual maps created by teachers and students, displayed on classroom wall.

Equipping Mano a Mano’s Network of Clinics and Other Healthcare Organizations Throughout Bolivia

Mano a Mano collects donated medical supplies and mobility equipment in Minnesota and ships them to Bolivia, where they are distributed to people and organizations throughout the country. Many of these items go to our network of clinics that we have built in partnership with communities. On Thursday, November 11th, our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Internacional (who organizes supplies sent from Minnesota for distribution, among other projects) loaded supplies & equipment for our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia (who oversees construction and management of our network of health clinics, among other projects). Mano a Mano Bolivia will distribute these supplies to Mano a Mano clinics, and also respond to requests they receive from healthcare organizations in need of supplies.

Here are other recent medical supply distributions in November:

Chirusi School is 30% Complete

Mano a Mano’s school project in Chirusi is now 30% complete! The school will be two floors and six classrooms, and will provide a more comfortable environment for local students to learn and for teachers to teach. This school is 1 of 5 Mano a Mano clinic & school projects currently under construction, through our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia and in partnership with the local communities and their municipal governments.