Sharing skills in the Altiplano

14 May 2021

A man and a woman standing among tall vegetables

Vladimir showing Nikki, CAFOD's Programme Officer for Bolivia, his vegetable garden.

Over the last 12 months, the ripples of the Covid-19 pandemic have reached every far corner of Bolivia. In the Altiplano, families who were part of CAFOD's previous Hands On project there have been sharing their skills and food with neighbours during this difficult period.

Life in the Altiplano

As in the UK, Bolivian communities have been affected by drastic lockdown measures, limiting movement, and closing schools, markets and many other essential areas of public life. Under these conditions, the rural indigenous families like Vladimir and Maria - who featured in CAFOD's Hands On project - found themselves unable to travel to sell their produce or find temporary work.

Without income, many families were unable to buy seeds for next year’s harvest nor dry foods like oil and salt.

Initially, local experts supported by CAFOD, who work directly with Altiplano communities, were unable to visit families due to restrictions and because they didn’t want to put the communities at risk. Now that restrictions have eased, they have been able to visit the families who were part of Hands On. They were relieved and surprised to find that some families had coped much better than expected during the worst of the lockdown period.

A man holds up a piece of paper proudly. A woman and a child next to him are smiling.

Vladimir, Maria and their son were part of CAFOD's Hands On Altiplano project.

Sharing skills

Challenging moments over the past year had a silver lining because they have shown that communities have become more resilient and have really benefitted from being part of Hands On.

Families supported by CAFOD managed to grow enough food to see them through the difficult periods and even to share food with their neighbours. They also began to support their neighbours by passing on skills they had learned as part of the Hands On project so that their neighbours could grow better quality vegetables.

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