Rural Transformational Development
Since 1981, Amistad Mission has been partnering with communities in the poorest regions of the Andes to identify and overcome the obstacles that prevent them from breaking free of poverty. Hundreds of indigenous families lack secure sources of food and suffer from high levels of malnutrition. Malnutrition leads to stunted physical and mental development in children, and increases their susceptibility to disease. Malnourished children are likely to miss school, and sick, hungry adults are often unable to provide even basic care for their families. For these families, hunger is often the root cause of hopelessness. Amistad Mission is dedicated to tackling these challenges and building self-sustaining, healthy communities through the following programs:
In the region of Tapacari, the region with the highest rate of poverty in Bolivia, Amistad Mission operates a health care program that has brought emergency and preventative health care to more than 1,500 indigenous people in 13 communities. As a result of our programs, child mortality has been reduced from 30% to 0%, 100% of the children have been immunized against preventable disease, and 100% of expecting mothers receive pre-natal care and 100% of the communities we serve have access to preventative and emergency health care.
Building on the success of our health care initiative, Amistad Mission has expanded our programs to include education initiatives with the goal of empowering the Quechua Indians to build self-sustaining communities:
- Implementing training workshops to educate villagers on water-efficient irrigation techniques, seed planting and harvesting methods, crop rotation, and other pertinent agricultural skills.
- Working with families to develop family garden plots and gain knowledge of farming practices with the end goal of establishing self-sufficiency and independence.
- Providing daily nutritious and well balanced meals to children in the communities to ensure healthy development while agricultural programs are being implemented.
- Providing opportunities for families to effectively sell their excess produce in the market, leading to increased family income.
These combined projects have literally transformed the lives of the villagers who now have the skills and tools they need to not only survive, but thrive. Flourishing gardens rather than scorched earth now dot the landscape of the village and children who once suffered from developmental delays and chronic illness are now healthy students in the local schools.
In the village of Aramasi, draught conditions plagued the community for 9 months of the year, making agricultural production an elusive dream. Thanks to the support of Rotary International and the regional government, Amistad Mission first began by drilling small wells to enable villagers to develop family gardens. Today, the program has expanded to include a dam project that will provide a year-round water source to irrigate more than 70 acres of land year-round.
With these initiatives, Amistad Mission is dedicated to meeting the Millennium Development Goals of reducing the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. Most importantly, Amistad’s goal is to equip families with the tools, training and resources they need to build a healthy future for their children and their community.