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Mano a Mano: Creating Partnerships to Improve Lives


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Since 1994, Mano a Mano has worked to create partnerships with impoverished Bolivian communities to improve health and increase economic well-being.

Learn more about Mano a Mano - why we started, our programs, why we work in rural Bolivia, how we work (which is very important for us) - and learn how you can be a part and make a difference.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Mano a Mano: Creating Partnerships to Improve Lives

  1. 1. 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, which works “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 Mead’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 award for innovation as a social entrepreneur. A CALL TO ACTION
  2. 2. 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. Picking up supplies. Storing Outside. Moving pallets in the snow. Sorting in the driveway.
  3. 3. Bolivia staff and volunteers unpack and distribute these materials to Mano a Mano medical centers and others who serve the poor. Distributing wheelchairs and other medical supplies. Sorting supplies in our Bolivian warehouse. Using supplies during Air Rescue operations Using medical supplies during training
  4. 4. 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: FUNDRAISING Almost all projects in Bolivia begin with seed money raised in the U.S. RESEARCH AND REPORTING Leading trips to Bolivia to showcase projects to sup- porters . MEDICAL SURPLUS Hosting volunteer groups and friends in Saint Paul to sort, pack, categorize and ship medical supplies.
  5. 5. Mano a Mano International has a strong volunteer program at the St. Paul office which includes collaboration with service groups and corporations. It organizes volunteer and donor trips to Bolivia; manages research partnerships and student engagement with universities; and sponsors opportunities for local teachers to share with and learn from teachers in Bolivia. Hosts volunteer groups in the warehouse to sort and pack supplies. Facilitates training and travel opportunities. Provides internship opportunities. Prepares medical items for shipment.
  6. 6. 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 donated medical supplies to Mano a Mano clinics, improve rural roads, and manage a stellar continuing education program. HEALTH CARE We construct rural community clinics, set up their programs and co- administer them along with the municipality. We stock the clinics with medical supplies. IMPROVED SANITATION Webuildbathroomswithshowers nexttoschoolstoreducethe spreadofinfectiousdiseaseand improvehygiene. EDUCATION We construct rural public schools and housing for teachers. We send school supplies and books to distribute to students. TRAINING Ourcontinuingmedicaleducation andhealthpromotertraining programsleadtoexcellentquality careinourclinicsandbeyond.
  7. 7. Cantar Gallo residents clear site for a new medical center. Training health professionals through US partnerships. Leque residents celebrating their medical center’s dedication. Dr. José Velásquez Mano a Mano Bolivia - Executive director
  8. 8. WATER PROJECTS 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. ROAD CONSTRUCTION Webuildroadstoincreaseaccess andconnectruralcommunitiesto urbancenters. ECONOMICDEVELOPMENT Because farmers have water to irrigate their fields from our wa- ter retention projects and roads to transport goods—incomes can double or triple. MANO A MANO NUEVO MUNDO (NEW WORLD), an independently incorporated Bolivian nonprofit organi- zation, focuses on rural economic development and food security. Its all-Bolivian staff builds water reser- voirs, roads and other community infrastructure projects.
  9. 9. Carving roads out of mountains. Community Residents working hand in hand moving rock to work site. Trucks making use of the newly completed road, creating safe travel to the community of El Palmar. Ing. Boris Rodriguez Franco Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo
  10. 10. EMERGENCY AIR RESCUE We air rescue ill and injured persons and fly them to emer- gency care in city hospitals. The majority of emergency air rescues occur in the region of Beni in the Amazon basin. SUPPORT WEEKEND CLINICS IncollaborationwithManoa ManoBoliviaandotherorgani- zations,wetransportvolunteer healthcareprofessionalsto conductweekendclinicsinremote regionsthathavenohealthcare programs. FLYSTAFF&VOLUNTEERS 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. MANO A MANO APOYO AEREO (AIR SUPPORT), incorporated as an independent nonprofit organization that is directed and staffed by Bolivians, operates an aviation program that supports the work of our other coun- terparts. The aviation program raises funds to support this work by offering charter and cargo transport services to businesses and private individuals.
  11. 11. Rural communities are responsible for maintaining their own airstrips for emergency landings. Providingemergencyrescueofaccidentvictims. Mano a Mano responding to devastating floods in the remote region of Beni. Capitan Ivo Daniel Martínez Mano a Mano Apoyo Aéreo
  12. 12. HOSTS TRAVELERS 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. SEEKS DONATIONS WITHIN BOLIVIA Wesearchforfundingopportunities fromembassies,businessesand individualsinBolivia. PILOTS INITIATIVES CurrentpilotprojectsincludeThe CenterforEcologicalAgriculture wheresubsistencefarmerslearn bestpracticesforirrigation,useof naturalfertilizer,waterfiltration processes,anduseofbio-digesters toturnmanureintocookingfuel. MANO A MANO INTERNACIONAL, our fourth independently incorporated Bolivian counterpart, seeks funds from businesses and other organizations within Bolivia, hosts foreign visitors, and pilots new initia- tives such as our recently opened Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA).
  13. 13. Community leaders from Jironkota attending an agricultural workshop. ManoaManoAgronomistteachesfarmersabout mulching. Oxford University students volunteer at the training center. Ben Samuel Martinez velasquez Mano a Mano Internacional
  14. 14. The Mano a Mano model is community driven and built on strong partnerships with clearly defined accountability. The US 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 residents and government officials to forge working relationships. We implement projects through careful attention to these essential elements: Communities request a project in which a formal agreement is defined. The government contributes partial funding, pays for medical staff and teacher’s salaries and maintains the projects. Community residents contribute labor.
  15. 15. Mano a Mano leads the partnership and contributes funds, equipment, skilled labor, expertise and project management. Mano a Mano provides supplies and ongoing training to develop human resources to strengthen the long-term quality and sustainability of the project. This partnership model, sealed with a written agreement, ensures not only the successful completion of each project but also its sustainability. Every project initiated by Mano a Mano has been completed and is still used for its intended purpose.
  16. 16. So children can find a future through education. So families don’t leave difficult conditions in rural communities only to be forced into urban poverty. So families can feed themselves and their livestock.
  17. 17. So Bolivians obtain the training they need to be agents of change. So cross-cultural friendships can give hope for the future. So mothers and babies survive childbirth.
  18. 18. Rural adults average 5 years of schooling compared to 10 in urban areas, one of the largest gaps in Latin America. 100 of every 1000 rural children die by the age of 5 compared to 57 in urban areas. 2 of every 3 rural Bolivians live below the poverty line compared to 2 of every 5 in urban areas. Bolivia has the second highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the western hemisphere.
  19. 19. Babies born to the poorest 20% of mothers die at nearly three times the rate of babies born to the wealthiest 20%. Adults in rural areas have the 2nd lowest life expectancy in Latin America. Communities most affected by natural disasters are the least likely to receive support.
  20. 20. MANO A MANO IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER WE PROVIDE ... Access to quality health care for hundreds of thousands of rural Bolivians where little was available before. Water projects that improve nutrition and can increase incomes for Bolivian farm families. Schools and teacher housing that attract teachers to work in rural areas and provide a comfortable environment where students can learn. Roads that connect communities to markets and significantly reduce travel time. Training and continuing education programs that empower community residents and improve the effectiveness of projects. Cross cultural exchanges that transform lives. Sustainable infrastructure as all Mano a Mano projects continue to function as intended. ... And there is so much more to do
  21. 21. Our office staff in the US and Bolivia depend on your help to stretch our resources as far as possible. We are the bridge that brings many groups together, so that we can achieve results that nobody could do on their own. COMMUNITIES IN BOLIVIA Communities are our partners; they request each project, contribute 3-10% of funding and volunteer time to build their projects in partnership with Mano a Mano. BOLIVIAN MINISTRY OF HEALTH Our medical 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. All medical staff salaries are paid by Bolivian sources. Your contribution is the seed money that allows projects to become a reality. D O N A T E V O L U N T E E R MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS They are significant supporters of each project and typically contribute from 20-50% of the project costs.
  22. 22. YOUR CHANCE TO JOIN THE MANO A MANO FAMILY AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE MAKE A MONETARY DONATION VOLUNTEER IN ST PAUL Sorting, packing and loading medical supplies, selling crafts, assisting with events ... Be creative. VOLUNTEERINBOLIVIA - Distribute medical supplies. - Train teachers. -WorkintheAgriculturalCenter. HOLD A FUNDRAISER - At your home with friends or at your workplace. Invite Mano a Mano staff to speak and provide materials.
  23. 23. HELPUSOBTAINMEDICAL SUPPLIES ORGANIZEATRAVELGROUP - Get together a group to travel to Bolivia and witness the impact of our work. ORGANIZE A YOUTH GROUP - Ask about our Niño a Niño program and how to get classrooms involved in making global impact. HELP US SPREAD THE WORD - Share this information and our story with others. YOUR CHANCE TO JOIN THE MANO A MANO FAMILY AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE
  24. 24. Thank you Muchas gracias Dius pagarapusuchun Mano a Mano International | 925 Pierce Butler Route St Paul MN, 55104 | 651.457.3141 | Printed in Bolivia for