To create partnerships with impoverished Bolivian communities to improve health and increase economic well-being.
A CALL TO ACTION
In October of 1994, Segundo and Joan Velasquez sounded a call to action to a small group of family and friends because they wanted to do something about a glaring incongruity. Each year, health care providers and suppliers in Minnesota dispose of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of usable, but no longer needed, medical inventory. At the same time health care providers in Bolivia, where Segundo was born and where Joan had served in the Peace Corps, are unable to provide essential care to the poor because they lack the most basic supplies and equipment.
Thus was born Mano a Mano ("hand to hand"), a nonprofit organization founded on the simple premise that committed volunteers can reach across national boundaries to make a dramatic difference in the lives of others. Today, what began with Joan and Segundo’s friends and family has grown to a large network of volunteers and staff members in both the US and Bolivia who work “hand to hand” in countless ways to improve the health and economic well-being of some of the world’s most impoverished communities. Mano a Mano’s remarkable journey affirms renowned anthropologist Margaret Meade’s observation: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
In 2008, Joan was awarded the Peace Corps' highest honor: the Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service.
In 2012, Segundo received a prestigious Opus Prize Foundation award for innovation as a social entrepreneur.
PICKING UP SUPPLIES
MOVING PALLETS IN THE SNOW
SORTING IN DRIVEWAY
Starting with nothing but commitment to a vision, Mano a Mano’s volunteers began by collecting 500 pounds of surplus medical supplies. Within a few years this had grown to 200,000 pounds yearly, all sorted and packed in our founders’ home and stored in their backyard.
Bolivian staff and volunteers unpack and distribute these materials to Mano a Mano clinics and others who serve the poor.
SORTING SUPPLIES IN BOLIVIAN WAREHOUSE
USING SUPPLIES DURING MEDICAL TRAINING
USING SUPPLIES DURING AIR MEDICAL RESCUE MISSION
MANO A MANO INTERNATIONAL
Since its founding in 1994, St. Paul-based Mano a Mano International has grown enormously. As the NEED became more apparent in Bolivia and as donations of medical supplies flooded in through Minnesota networks, the organization’s growth made it imperative to support these volunteer efforts with paid staff. For many years, the organization was supported entirely by volunteers—led by Joan and Segundo Velasquez. Until 2012, Mano a Mano International operated out of their home. Today the organization manages:
Almost all projects in Bolivia begin with seed money raised in the U.S. Executive Director, Dan Narr (left), with Crystal, New Hope, Robbinsdale Rotary Club.
Office Manager, Dana Dallavalle (middle), sorting medical supplies with an Urban Immersion youth volunteer group.
Director of Communications and Research, Nate Knatterud-Hubinger (striped shirt), leading trip to Bolivia with Duluth and Superior-area Rotary Clubs to show the projects they’ve supported.
RESEARCH & REPORTING
Our New Facility
Joan and Segundo remain involved, contributing a combined 80 hours of volunteer support per week.
CREATING PARTNERSHIPS IN THE U.S.
VOLUNTEER TRIPS TO BOLIVIA—TEACHER TRAINING
Mano a Mano International also coordinates several volunteer and introductory trips to Bolivia for U.S. volunteers and donors, manages research partnerships and student engagement with local universities, a strong volunteer and internship program at the St. Paul office, a youth program (Niño a Niño) in Minnesota schools, and collaborates with local corporations in volunteer efforts.
VOLUNTEERS FROM THE MEDTRONIC RETIREE ORGANIZATION
CHILDREN FROM HIGHLAND PARK MIDDLE SCHOOL RAISING MONEY FOR NIÑO A NIÑO
2013-14 INTERNS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA & MACALESTER COLLEGE
OUR BOLIVIAN COUNTERPARTS
MANO A MANO BOLIVIA is independently incorporated as a nonprofit organization in Bolivia. Its work focuses primarily in the areas of health and education. It is operated entirely by Bolivians who build each clinic, co-administer the clinics, organize staff, distribute the donated medical supplies, improve rural roads, manage a stellar continuing medical education program and more.
We construct rural community clinics, set up their programs and co- administer them along with the municipality and community leaders, and stock them with medical supplies.
We build bathrooms with showers next to schools to reduce the spread of infectious disease and improve hygiene. We improve access to communities through road expansion when needed.
SANITATION & ACCESS
We construct rural public schools and housing for teachers. We send school supplies and books to distribute to students.
Our continuing medical education and health promoter training programs lead to excellent quality care in our clinics and beyond.
MANO A MANO BOLIVIA
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF
MANO A MANO BOLIVIA:
Dr. José Velásquez
RESIDENTS MOVING ROCK FOR CLINIC CONSTRUCTION IN THE COMMUNITY OF CANTAR GALLO
MEDICAL EDUCATORS FOR LATIN AMERICA (MELA) TRAINING HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
FINISHED CLINIC DEDICATION CEREMONY IN THE COMMUNITY
MANO A MANO NUEVO MUNDO (NEW WORLD), an independently incorporated Bolivian nonprofit organization, focuses on rural economic development and food security. Its all-Bolivian staff builds water reservoirs, roads and other community infrastructure projects.
OUR BOLIVIAN COUNTERPARTS
We build reservoirs to retain rain water for crop irrigation during the dry season. With access to water, subsistence farmers can raise enough produce to feed their families and have enough left over to transport it to market for sale.
We build roads to increase access and connect rural communities to urban centers.
Because farmers have water to irrigate their fields from our water retention projects and roads to transport goods—incomes can double or triple.
MANO A MANO NUEVO MUNDO
PROGRAM DIRECTOR OF
MANO A MANO NUEVO MUNDO:
Sr. Ivo Velásquez
CATERPILLAR MACHINES CARVING ROADS OUT OF MOUNTAINS
COMMUNITY RESIDENTS WORKING HAND TO HAND MOVING ROCKS FROM A WORKSITE
OWING TO A FLOODED RIVER CROSSING, THESE TRUCKS WAITED AS THE ROAD WAS FINISHED AND WERE...
THE FIRST TO USE THE COMPLETED ROAD MAKING A SAFE TRIP TO THE COMMUNITY OF EL PALMAR
MANO A MANO APOYO AEREO (AIR SUPPORT), also incorporated as an independent nonprofit organization in Bolivia that is directed and staffed by Bolivians, operates an aviation program that supports the work of our other counterparts. The aviation program raises funds to support this work by offering charter and cargo transport services to businesses and private individuals.
OUR BOLIVIAN COUNTERPARTS
We air rescue ill and injured persons and fly them to emergency care in city hospitals. The majority of emergency air rescues occur in the region of Beni in the Amazon basin.
EMERGENCY AIR RESCUE
In collaboration with Mano a Mano Bolivia, we transport volunteer health care professionals to conduct weekend clinics in remote regions that have no health care programs.
SUPPORT WEEKEND CLINICS
Air travel can reduce a trip from 20 hours to 2 hours, making it possible for us to serve more isolated communities and speed the delivery of needed supplies or equipment parts.
FLY STAFF & VOLUNTEERS
MANO A MANO APOYO AEREO
RURAL COMMUNITIES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING THEIR OWN AIRSTRIPS FOR EMERGENCY LANDINGS
CHILD WITH CLEFT PALLET BEING TRANSPORTED TO MEDICAL TREATMENT WITH HELP OF BOLIVIAN SAVE AND RESCUE TEAM VOLUNTEERS
MANO A MANO RESPONDING TO DEVASTATING FLOODS IN THE REMOTE REGION OF BENI
MANO A MANO APOYO AEREO:
Capitán Ivo Daniel Martinez
MANO A MANO INTERNACIONAL, our fourth nonprofit organization counterpart, also independently incorporated in Bolivia, seeks funds from businesses and other organizations within Bolivia, hosts foreign visitors and pilots new initiatives such as our recently opened Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA).
OUR BOLIVIAN COUNTERPARTS
Travelers visit Mano a Mano projects, work alongside beneficiaries and witness the impact of our programs. Many see this experience as one that transforms their lives.
We search for funding opportunities from embassies, businesses and individuals in Bolivia.
SEEKS DONATIONS WITHIN BOLIVIA
Current pilot projects include the Center for Ecological Agriculture where subsistence farmers learn best practices for irrigation, use of natural fertilizer, water filtration processes, and use of bio-digesters to turn manure into cooking fuel.
MANO A MANO INTERNACIONAL
COMMUNITY LEADERS FROM JIRONKOTA ATTENDING AGRICULTURE TRAINING
REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION, BUILDING BRIDGES WORLDWIDE, IS VISITING A SCHOOL IN THE COMMUNNITY OF SANCAYANI WHILE COLLABORATING ON THE BUILDING OF A WATER IRRIGATION SYSTEM IN THE AREA
STUDENTS FROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY HELPING AT CENTER FOR ECOLOGICAL AGRICULTURE
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF
MANO A MANO INTERNACIONAL:
María Blanca Velásquez
COMMUNITY REQUESTS PROJECT AND WILL OWN IT
The Mano a Mano model is community-driven and built on strong partnerships with clearly defined accountability. The U.S. organization provides resources and oversight while our Bolivian counterparts determine what needs to be done and how best to do it. Bolivian staff members and volunteers work closely with community citizens and government officials to forge a working relationship. We implement projects through careful attention to these essential elements:
COMMUNITY RESIDENTS CONTRIBUTE LABOR
GOVERNMENT ENTITIES CONTRIBUTE PARTIAL FUNDING, PAY CLINIC STAFF AND TEACHER’S SALARIES AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONGOING PROJECT MAINTENANCE
FORMAL AGREEMENTS AMONG THESE PARTNERS DEFINE THE PROJECT
This partnership model, sealed with a written agreement, ensures not only the successful completion of each project but also its ongoing sustainability. Every project initiated by Mano a Mano has been completed and is still used for its intended purpose. 100% of Mano a Mano clinics are now self-sustaining.
MANO A MANO LEADS THE PARTNERHIP AND CONTRIBUTES FUNDS, EQUIPMENT, SKILLED LABOR, EXPERTISE, AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
ALL PARTNERS PARTICIPATE IN THE OPENING CEREMONY WHEN THE PROJECT IS OFFICIALLY TURNED OVER TO THE COMMUNITY FOR OWNERSHIP AND TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT FOR MAINTENANCE RESPONSIBILITY
CLINIC PERSONNEL PROVIDE SERVICES AND INITIATE NEW PROJECTS WHILE MANO A MANO CONTINUES TO CONTRIBUTE SUPPLIES AND PROVIDE ADVISORY SUPPORT
MANO A MANO DEVELOPS HUMAN RESOURCES TO STRENGTHEN THE LONG TERM QUALITY AND SUSTAINABILITY OF THE PROJECT
SO THESE BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN CAN FIND A FUTURE THROUGH EDUCATION
SO FAMILIES DON’T LEAVE DIRE CONDITIONS IN THEIR RURAL COMMUNITIES ONLY TO BE FORCED INTO URBAN POVERTY
SO FAMILIES CAN FEED THEMSELVES AND THEIR LIVESTOCK EVEN THROUGH THE DRY SEASON
SO MOTHERS AND BABIES SURVIVE CHILDBIRTH
SO CROSS-CULTURAL FRIENDSHIPS CAN GIVE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
SO BOLIVIANS OBTAIN THE TRAINING THEY NEED TO BE AGENTS OF CHANGE
CHALLENGES IN RURAL BOLIVIA
2 OF EVERY 3 RURAL BOLIVIANS LIVE BELOW THE POVERTY LINE compared to roughly 2 of every 5 in urban areas
100 OF EVERY 1,000 CHILDREN
IN RURAL BOLIVIA DIE BY AGE 5 compared to 57 of every 1,000 in urban areas
ADULTS IN RURAL AREAS HAVE AN AVERAGE OF 4.85 YEARS OF SCHOOLING compared to 9.98 in urban areas—one of the largest gaps in Latin America
2ND HIGHEST INFANT AND MATERNAL MORTALITY RATES IN WESTERN HEMSIPHERE
ADULTS IN RURAL AREAS HAVE THE 2ND LOWEST LIFE EXPECTANCY IN LATIN AMERICA
BABIES BORN TO POOREST 20% OF MOTHERS DIE AT NEARLY 3 TIMES THE RATE of babies born to the richest 20% of Bolivian mothers
RURAL COMMUNITIES THAT ARE THE MOST HEAVILY IMPACTED DURING NATURAL DISASTERS OR EMERGENCIES ARE THE LEAST LIKELY TO RECEIVE ANY SUPPORT
MANO A MANO IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Access to quality health care for hundreds of thousands of rural Bolivians where none was available before
Water projects that improve nutrition and can increase income for Bolivian farm families
Schools and teacher housing that attract teachers to work in rural areas and provide a comfortable environment for students to learn
Roads that connect communities to markets for the first time and significantly reduce travel time
Training and continuing education programs that empower community residents and improve the effectiveness of projects
Cross cultural interchanges that transform lives
Sustaining infrastructure as all Mano a Mano projects continue to function as intended
...And there is so much more to do
TOGETHER WE PROVIDE...
AMPLIFYING YOUR DONATION
MANO A MANO’S CAPACITY & PARTNERSHIPS
Your donation is the seed money that allows projects to become a reality.
Our office staff in the US and Bolivia depend on your help to stretch our resources as far
MANO A MANO
We are the bridge that brings these disparate groups together, so that we can achieve results that nobody could do on their own.
Communities are our partners; they request each project, contribute 3-5% of funding and the volunteer time to build it, and ultimately manage each project.
MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS IN
They are significant supporters of each project and typically contribute anywhere from 20- 50% of project costs.
OF HEALTH AND SPORTS
Our health clinic program is part of the national health care system and is eligible for reimbursement for vaccinations, maternal-child care, and other areas of primary care. 82% of all clinic staff salaries are funded through the Health Ministry, as well.
This Includes: Clinics, Schools, Roads, Water Projects, Aviation, Distribution of Donated Medical Supplies, and Training and Continuing Education Programs.
WHY YOU ARE SO IMPORTANT
YOUR FAMILYYOUR CHANCE TO JOIN THE MANO A MANO FAMILY
AND DIFFERENCEAND MAKE A DIFFERENCE
VOLUNTEER IN ST. PAUL
Loading containers of supplies, sorting and packing medical supplies, selling crafts, assisting with events—Be creative using your skills and networks
VOLUNTEER IN BOLIVIA
Training rural teachers, medical professionals, farmers, or helping set up and equip new facilities
HOLD A FUNDRAISER
At your home with friends and family or at your workplace or civic organization and invite Mano a Mano staff to speak and provide materials
MAKE A MONETARY DONATION
In support of whichever Mano a Mano project you choose
ORGANIZE A TRAVEL GROUP
Get together a group to travel to Bolivia and visit the communities where Mano a Mano works and witness the different projects as they’re being built, inaugurated, and fully functioning
ORGANIZE A YOUTH GROUP
Ask about our Nino a Nino program and how to get classrooms involved in making a global impact
HELP US SPREAD THE WORD
Share this information and our story with others
HELP MANO A MANO OBTAIN MEDICAL SUPPLIES
Search for new networks in the medical field to donate surplus medical supplies and/or arrange medical supply pickups