Last November we approved a partnership activity aimed at strengthening the collaboration between DIB and TEKO KAVI, as well as identifying possible future activities and projects in Bolivia. The activity started with an introductory workshop in January 2015, in which DIB sent three people to Bolivia.

First project trip

We - Lea, Søren and Majken - were the lucky ones who were allowed to go to Bolivian for the first time. We have worked as volunteers in the Bolivia Group since the beginning of 2014 and have been involved throughout the application process. After the long trip across the Atlantic, we were greeted by the hearty Bolivians whom we would spend the next three weeks with. We stayed at ’Hotel TEKO KAVI’, that is, the first floor of the office in the capital La Paz, where TEKO KAVI belongs. So it was here that we spent most of the three weeks. That way we would not have to move by taxi into the traffic noise every morning, which we were very pleased with. 

Most of the time was spent holding meetings and workshops with the entire TEKO KAVI team and expanding the network to other organizations. At the meetings, we were given, among other things, a great insight into the Bolivian context and the problems and challenges they have as a NGO in relation to legislation, government and civil society. At the networking meetings with other NGOs in and around La Paz, who also work with children and education, the focal point was how we can learn from each other and how best to work with the government, the local autonomías and children, parents and teachers. All of this should lead to the fact that we at DIB and TEKO KAVI can identify new sustainable projects in the future. In the partnership activity, there is also a focus on strengthening and building the internal part of the organization, so that we can ensure that TEKO KAVI develops and remains here for many years to come.

In addition, we had the opportunity to meet several different organizations involved in civil society work, including Profesor Martín, a teacher at a local school in Tumupasa. He works with children and young people and since 2006 he has led a school initiative focusing on environment and volunteerism among young people. Among other things, he is at the forefront of promoting local people's knowledge of waste management, agroecology, and the impact people have on the surrounding nature. On a three-day trip to the Rurrenabaque area, we were given the opportunity to visit Professor Martín in Tumupasa in the jungle near Rurrenabaque, where we also spoke with one of his students, Alesandro. He was happy to talk about the work he and the other young people are doing in the local area. It has also meant that, as a 15-year-old, he is already ready with what he wants to be when he grows up - agronomist.

We spent a total of three days in the area around Rurrenabaque. One of the days we went with one of the locals to one comunidad in the jungle. The way to get there is with a small boat. The area was hit by heavy rains last year, which caused heavy flooding, and the river we sailed on has swallowed several meters of shore. When we arrived ashore, we could see the consequences this has had for the people. Several houses have disappeared down the river and locals have left the area and have moved further into the jungle fearing that the second time the river will cross its banks. It was interesting, but also horrifying to see its consequences. We also spoke with several leaders of the indigenous people during our stay, all of whom expressed great concern for the future.

The three week long tour will be completed on the last night with the signing of convenio- the written agreement between TEKO KAVI and DIB. Of course, it is celebrated with handshakes, big smiles and a glass of champagne. We were then able to return home with good results for the first workshop and a great experience in the backyard.

Status of the project

Today we are writing as we are temporarily over halfway through the partnership activity. After returning from Bolivia, TEKO KAVI has hired Sandra Martínez as coordinator. She will be at the forefront of the partnership activity until its end in August and has already devised a time and action plan for the remaining months. We are very much looking forward to meeting her when the DIB delegation goes to La Paz again for the final workshop in August.

/ Søren, Lea og Majken

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