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Interview: Reducing child malnutrition in Bolivia

Nicequest had the opportunity to work with Worldcoo on a donation project to help reduce child malnutrition in Sopachuy. This project focused on children and adolescents, who were seeking improved family and school environments. With the help of 4,427 generous members, we were able to raise over 9,500 Euros to help over 200 children and adolescents.

Miquel and Mireia are two ambassadors of Worldcoo who help audit and visit some of the donation projects they helped fund, with the help of all the “companies with a cause” that collaborate with Worldcoo.

They traveled to Sopachuy, one of the villages with major childhood malnutrition index in Bolivia. In fact, out of 100 kids in Sopachuy, 24 present a state of chronic malnutrition. With the help of our members, the NGO Ayuda en Acción was able to increase the availability of food resources, teach how to increase family income from cultivation, and promote good hygiene practices and responsible consumption. Take a look at the project here.

Worldcoo interviewed Miquel and Mireia about their experience after visiting Sopachuy with Ayuda en Acción.

 

Read the Interview Below

How do you describe Sopachuy?

Sopachuy is a municipality formed by nine communities spread over a wide territory. We went to Amancaya, one of the most important out of the nine. To get there, it took us four hours by car from Sucre, the nearest city. The last hour and a half, the road became an unpaved road that usually becomes impassable in times of heavy rains. There is no type of transport that reaches the community, and the only way for the inhabitants to leave is on foot.

The village is made of dirt roads with large holes made by rainwater. Three years ago, the houses finally were given electricity. Running water is not present in all houses and is not potable, and for this reason, most people go to the river to wash their clothes, clean themselves, and get water for cooking and drinking.

The community has a health center that includes four other communities (San Isidro, Achatalas, Chavarria, and Alisos) along with a primary and secondary school. This year they have 250 students between 6 and 16 years of age. Some of the children have to walk up to an hour and a half every day to get to school.

 

Living conditions in Sopachuy a municipality in Bolivia
Living conditions in Sopachuy a municipality in Bolivia

 

How are its inhabitants?

The inhabitants of Amancaya are Quechua, and this is their mother tongue. Their educational level is very basic, the majority of people only attended primary school. Regarding religion, they are Catholics and maintain some traditions related to the Pachamama.

 

What are the main consequences after the implementation of the social program promoted by Ayuda en Acción?

The main effects that are easily visible in the community. They are improvements in the school (new kitchen, sink, yard cleaning), a new health center was created and there were improvements in the hygienic and alimentary habits of the population.

Thanks to the actions carried out, cases of child malnutrition (under 5 years of age) have been reduced. Before the start of the project, 21% of the children suffered from severe malnutrition, now the number is only 5%.

 

Charity that helped Increase farmers income and improve access to irrigated water.
Charity that helped Increase farmers income and improve access to irrigated water.

 

During the visit, you had the opportunity to talk with some of the families that participated in the project. What do they think about it?

After the visit to Sopachuy, gratitude is the most common and sincere feeling that all inhabitants transmitted to us.

Elvira, elementary school teacher says, “What I liked about this project is that they made us work. Help comes and goes, but the spark of the work hasn’t left.”

 

Although the project ended a few weeks ago, the inhabitants of Sopachuy continue to work in order to continue improving their quality of life. What are their priorities today?

  1. Maintain habits learned in hygiene and healthy eating.
  2. Retain children/teens in school so that they finish high school.
  3. Settle the agrarian economy to avoid having to leave the town.
  4. Continue working on health challenges related to HIV, pregnancies in adolescence, and continue working in the monitoring of malnutrition.

 

Charities that help promote healthy eating habits in all families.
Charities that help promote healthy eating habits in all families.

 

In general, how would you describe the experience of your visit in Sopachuy?

Being able to visit this project has given us the opportunity to get to know another reality of Bolivia, a reality that is widespread but unknown at the same time. The rural environment lives in precarious conditions and with a very low quality of life.

In relation to the project, we were very pleased to be able to visit a success story in which the involvement of all the affected agents (NGOs, teachers, health center, parents, students, municipal government) has achieved its objective.

Read the Full-length interview here.

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