We Have Been Able to Accomplish a Lot Together in 2023
We are so grateful to you for helping Mano a Mano continue to partner with Bolivian communities – on projects they request & ultimately own – to improve their lives. 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. As we look back at another busy and successful year in 2023, 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;
- the core Mano a Mano staff & volunteers at all 5 of our counterpart organizations in Bolivia and the US.
In 1994, Mano a Mano Co-Founders Segundo & Joan Velasquez came together with friends & family to address 2 problems: in Minnesota, hundreds of thousands of pounds of usable medical supplies and equipment are thrown away each year; in Bolivia, basic supplies were desperately needed and we knew we could put these supplies to good use. At the time, Bolivia had one of the highest rural poverty rates in the world, and despite making progress, it continues to be the poorest country in South America.
Where We Are Today
Over the years, we have grown into 5 counterpart organizations that have kept the same “mano a mano – hand in hand” approach – connecting resources in the US & Bolivia with strong community-based partnerships – to construct hundreds of sustainable community projects throughout Bolivia. We ensure that each project is well-equipped and maintained, and that training and education programs are also provided.
Celebrating 30 Years in Operation in 2024
In October 2024, Mano a Mano will be celebrating 30 years in operation! This video was made at our 25th anniversary celebration in 2019:
Saving Supplies from Minnesota Landfills and Putting Them to Good Use in Bolivia (and the Twin Cities)
We have sent 9 containers with 228,954 pounds of medical supplies, mobility equipment, and other in-demand items from Minnesota to Bolivia in 2023, with 3 containers loaded in December and now on their way to Bolivia. Almost all of these supplies would have ended up in the landfill in Minnesota, and instead they are getting put to good use throughout Bolivia (we also provide supplies to organizations and individuals in the Twin Cities area). We shipped 9 containers with 220,704 pounds in 2022.
- Mano a Mano shipped 9 containers with 228,954 pounds of medical supplies and equipment from Minnesota to Bolivia, where they are given to people in need throughout the country.
- Most of what we send is mobility equipment (4,730 pieces of mobility equipment, including 667 wheelchairs) and medical supplies, but there are many other kinds of items that are in demand in Bolivia.
- 22,320 pounds were given to other organizations with programs in the US and around the world; we donated 200 pieces of equipment benefiting 140 individuals in the Twin Cities area through our Mobility Closet.
- US volunteers spent 16,609 hours volunteering in 2023.
- Local Partnerships
- 75,272 Pounds of Supplies Leaving Minnesota for Bolivia This Week
- Equipping a Dental Clinic in the San Antonio Prison in Cochabamba
- Hosting 12 Visitors from Bolivia at the Mano a Mano Office in St. Paul Yesterday
- Mano a Mano Receives Presidents’ Community Partner Award from St. Kate’s University
- Getting Ready For Our Second Shipment of Supplies from Minnesota to Bolivia (July 2023)
- Containers From Minnesota Arrive in Bolivia (July 2023)
- 3 Containers of Supplies Now on Their Way to Bolivia (May 2023)
- Distributing Nearly 3 Tons of Medical Supplies and Equipment to Organizations from Oruro and Santa Cruz (October 31st, 2023)
- Mano a Mano’s Current Wishlist for In-Kind Donations (Medical, Mobility, etc.)
Providing Access to Health & Education for Rural Bolivian Communities
We completed 2 new health clinics and a new school, with 2 other clinics underway, and other school and clinic projects in process. Mano a Mano’s network of 183 clinics in Bolivia had 1,389,436 patient visits in 2023 (1,129,712 visits in 2022).
- Mano a Mano completed 2 new clinics and a new school in 2023.
- There are 2 signed agreements for school projects, 44 on waiting list; 2 clinics are under construction, 2 more signed agreements, 38 on waiting list
- 546 medical professionals work in our 184 clinics, with 100% of salaries paid within Bolivia (80% by Health Ministry).
- Mano a Mano Bolivia hosted 11 health education workshops for 520 attendees in 2023.
- Mano a Mano’s Network of Health Clinics in Bolivia Had 605,760 Patient Visits in the First Half of 2023
- Dedicating a New Health Clinic in 20 de Septiembre, Bolivia (July 2023)
- Dedicating a New Health Clinic in Santa Ana, Bolivia – July 28th, 2023
- Providing Access to Healthcare and Education: Mano a Mano Bolivia 2022 Report
- Our Counterpart Organization Mano a Mano Bolivia on Facebook
- Starting Construction on a New Health Clinic in Catariri, Bolivia (October 2023)
- Pictures from 5th Course of Advanced Trauma Support in Cochabamba, Bolivia (November 2023)
- 14th Acute Care Conference on April 26-28 – Continuing Health Education in Bolivia
- Dedicating a New School in Kaspicancha Alta (April 2023)
Building Community Infrastructure Projects
In addition to continuing work on the Punata Regional Complex (including the future airport/home of Mano a Mano’s aviation program), we have completed 4 new deep water wells in 2023, with 6 wells scheduled over the coming months.
- Mano a Mano completed 4 deep water wells providing access to potable water in 2023 (with 6 scheduled/underway for 2024)
- To date, Mano a Mano has constructed:
- 10 agricultural water reservoirs
- 453 water holding ponds
- 52 surface wells
- 25 deep wells
- These projects serve over 120,000 people, doubling food production and improving nutrition for subsistence farmers.
- We are progressing on Mano a Mano’s large Punata Regional Complex that includes a reservoir, road, 6-story water tower, airport, school, and other projects over the next few years.
- Maintenance and repairs at our Cochabamba warehouse are key – and never-ending!
- Traveling to Peru For Well-Drilling Parts – to Be Able to Complete Water Projects in Bolivia
- Dedicating a Deep Water Well in Villa Rosario, Bolivia (September 2023)
- Dedicating a New Water Well in Islas Malvinas, Bolivia (May 2023)
- Dedicating the Mamanaca Water Well on March 14th, 2023
- Celebrating 15 Years of Laguna Sulty Reservoir and Progress on Mano a Mano Airport in Punata (May 2023)
- Daily Work Continues on Mano a Mano Airport (March 2023)
Providing Training, Physical Therapy, and Distributing Supplies Throughout Bolivia
We have hosted 450 Physical Therapy sessions through August 2023, and have hundreds of visitors each month to our Center for Ecological Agriculture for farmer-training workshops, agronomy internships, and tours.
- Mano a Mano Volunteer Grace Shares Her Experience in Bolivia from June-August 2023
- Sacabamba Students Proudly Display Their Greenhouse Vegetable Crops
- Health & Agriculture Workshops at Mano a Mano Internacional – August 2023
- Containers From Minnesota Arrive in Bolivia
- Students, Sheep, & Supplies – How Mano a Mano is Developing the Next Generation
- Donating Medical Supplies and Equipment to Municipality of Vacas in Cochabamba
- Local Students Tour the Center for Ecological Agriculture in Cochabamba
- Hosting our 6th Physical Therapy Workshop for 25 Bolivian Medical Professionals – June 30,2023
- New Baby Llama Born at the Mano a Mano CEA in Cochabamba
- Minnesota Educator Article – “Minnesota teachers bring training to rural Bolivia” (Originally from 2017)
Transporting People & Cargo in Isolated Rural Communities
In 2023, Mano a Mano’s aviation program in Bolivia:
- provided emergency transport for 81 people (4,624 emergency flights since our aviation program began)
- provided transport for volunteer medical professionals for 48 weekend health clinics (530 weekend health clinics since our aviation program began)
- transported 647,170 pounds of cargo, mostly medical supplies and equipment
- Celebrating 5 Years with a Cessna Caravan and Increased Capacity for our Aviation Program in Bolivia (July 2023)
- Aviation Brings Healthcare to Remote Underserved Communities in Bolivia (May 2023)
- Mano a Mano Aviation Program: 2022 Results
- Weekend Health Clinic in Potosí on March 4th-5th, 2023
- Transporting Teachers To Their Schools in the Bolivian Tropics (September 2023)
- Recent Weekend Health Clinic in San Lorenzo, Bolivia
- Unitel TV Segment: Cochabambinos de Oro – Voluntarios de Mano a Mano (October 2023)
- Transporting Firefighters to Rurrenabaque (November 2023)
Mano a Mano Provides the Capacity to Connect Resources with Community Projects
To be able to partner with Bolivian communities on projects that they request from Mano a Mano and ultimately own themselves, Mano a Mano depends on our skilled staff and machinery (in addition to base funding from people like you!) as our contraparte alongside the community, so that we can complete projects like deep water wells – a high priority in Bolivia where it has not rained once in many communities this year. In 2019, Mano a Mano purchased a drilling rig which can drill to a depth of 350 feet. The drill has completed 24 deep well projects that provide water to 33,380 people. Drilling through hard rock takes a toll; repairing the machine presents challenges. Once hauled to our repair shop in Cochabamba, our mechanics could see that an entire overhaul would be needed. But the overhaul repair kit is not available for purchase in Bolivia. To get the kit ASAP, Mano a Mano mechanics Daniel and Jorge searched for a supplier near the Bolivian border and located one in the Puno, Peru area, near the high-altitude Lake Titicaca which Peru and Bolivia share. A purchase in Puno would require a 4-day round trip by pickup, one they felt was worth the time and effort.
After some unfortunate challenges on their trip through El Alto, they drove to the shore of Lake Titicaca, crossed the lake in a canoe, then rented a bicitaxi (a bicycle taxi) to take them to the supplier’s office. They purchased the kit they had ordered, returned to Lake Titicaca, and repeated the journey back to Cochabamba. After assembling and installing the kit, the drill is now back to drilling wells (the far-right picture above) – a typical challenge Mano a Mano deals with on a daily basis across all of our work, and an example of the capacity that we bring to the table to connect your funding support alongside the local community’s active involvement, so that we can accomplish projects together that none of us can do on our own.
We Make a Difference Together
Thank you for partnering with Mano a Mano! Together, we can make a real difference in 2024 for Bolivian communities in need, as we have done together for close to 30 years.
Your donation provides the seed money that kickstarts every Mano a Mano project and program. We need your help to make new projects a reality for the communities that are on our waiting list, to be able to continue to save supplies from the landfill and put them to use throughout Bolivia.
Learn More About Mano a Mano
- 2022 Annual Report
- Buy Gaining Ground – the Mano a Mano Book
- 8 Years as Executive Director, 17+ Years with Mano a Mano – Nate Knatterud-Hubinger
- Mano a Mano Volunteer Grace Shares Her Experience in Bolivia from June-August 2023
- Mano a Mano Trip to Bolivia in May 2023
- Pictures From Our March 2023 Trip to Bolivia
- Get All of Our Social Links on Linktree