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Bolivia: Increasing Indigenous Leadership, Government Ties and Media Outreach

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Update to the Global Board
(April 2009)

In Bolivia, The Hunger Project contributes funding to a partner organization, Fundación Acción Cultural Loyola (ACLO), for its project on “Rural and Indigenous Leaders Training for the Exercise of Power in a Local Development Context.” This document is ACLO’s report on this project.

Overview

In the last six months, ACLO’s work has been designed to adjust existing and apply new methodologies to the planned activities in the project, both in the training of men and women leaders and in supporting the action and advocacy of peasant and indigenous organizations. We are taking into account that the main challenge is to support the adoption and implementation of the new Bolivian Constitution. This will aid in the realization of social, political, economic and cultural transformations that have been demanded for many years.

Details on Progress

Training program for indigenous leaders and campesinos updated and running

A training program for indigenous leaders and campesinos was organized and updated, with a second group, made up of 152 leaders (59 women and 93 men), in the process of training until June 2009.

Teams of committed and updated educators

Three teams of educators from Chuquisaca, Potosí and Tarija (7 women and 5 men) are refreshing their knowledge and skills in educational techniques for working with adults.

Indigenous leaders and campesinos trained

In two training courses, 308 indígenas and campesinos (125 women and 183 men) from Chuquisaca, Potosí and Tarija gained leadership skills for influencing public policies and local development. 99 campesino leaders (70 men and 29 women) from Chuquisaca Center have been trained with financial support from local governments.

Proposals for local development

Three proposals that contribute to local development, on issues such as strenthening livestock production and unifying campesino organizations, were developed and promoted by campesino organizations from Chuquisaca, Potosí and Tarija.

Strategic Alliances in campesino and indigenous organizations

Campesino and indigenous organizations of Chuquisaca, Potosí and Tarija are motivated to establish strategic alliances, with no significant progress to date.

Advocacy Training

In two training courses, 308 campesinos (125 women and 183 men) from Chuquisaca, Potosí and Tarija are strengthening their skills in managing and influencing public policies.

Women leaders, both indigenous and campesinas, trained and in representative positions

In two training courses, 125 indigenous women and campesinas from Chuquisaca, Potosí and Tarija gained leadership skills for influencing public policies and local development. 41% (51 women) of the 125 women trained occupy decision-making positions in their campesino/indigenous organizations.

Indigenous and campesina development proposals

Organizations of indigenous and campesino women are motivated to build local development proposals. They have already incorporated proposals in municipal management in 2009: leadership training, organic gardens, poultry farms and craft and sewing centers.

Campesino and indigenous leaders in positions of power

30% of campesinos and indigenous people that participated in the training program (43 women and 51 men) in Chuquisaca, Potosí and Tarija are involved in critical areas and processes of governance.

Radio Reporting Training

In two years of this project, 60 communities (38% women) from Chuquisaca, Potosí and Tarija have completed their training in radio communication through monthly internships at ACLO.

Partnerships

In the last six months, due to management efforts by campesino organizations, agreements were established with four municipalities in Chuquisaca (Sopachuy, Tarvita, Alcalá and El Villar), who economically supported the development of training workshops for indigenous leaders and campesinos in their municipalities, thus expanding program coverage.

In November 2008, an agreement was reached with the municipal government of Tacobamba (Potosí), through which six training workshops for leaders were developed (since December 2007). The agreement was promoted by Ms. Sabina Fernandez, councilor of the municipality, who also participated in the training program supported by THP.

The relationships with nine indigenous and campesino organizations in Chuquisaca, Potosí and Tarija have been maintained and strengthened. The close link with the indigenous and campesino organizations is critical to the impact of our actions.

Broader Awareness and Advocacy

ACLO Foundation directors have continuously participated in radio and television programs with local, national and international coverage, and are exposing complaints and reflections on the violence and racism that emerged and deepened in 2008. Discussions of the opportunities and challenges presented by the process of change Bolivia were also aired.

Through three FM radio stations aimed at the urban audience of Sucre, Potosí and Tarija, ACLO delivers its opinion on various topics, promotes respect for individual and collective human rights, disseminates views and proposals from campesino organizations, and promotes the State’s Constitution that was approved and enacted in January-February of this year.

The ACLO Foundation, directly or in conjunction with networks of development institutions, have had contact with authorities of municipal governments and Bolivia’s central government to raise concerns or suggestions concerning public policy design and implementation, especially relating to: municipal development projects; water management and soil pollution in the Pilcomayo River; and implementation of distance primary education programs by radio.

Recent Innovations

In recent months, ACLO teams, together with the indigenous and peasant organizations, have developed methodologies to support and nurture the development of public policy proposals and plans that create favorable conditions for a dignified life, social and cultural integration, respectful intercultural relationships and sustainable development.

Responding to the accelerated process of urbanization in recent years due to intense urban migration, ACLO has initiated pilot projects to promote processes of rural-urban linkages, particularly for communications activities from three radio stations in frequency modulated (FM) in Sucre, Potosí and Tarija.

May 18, 2009

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