CUSO/VSO through its Accenture partner under the ‘Making Markets Work for the Poor’ project, from March 2 to 8, hosted for the first time a delegation from Bolivia for a study tour to observe the practical implementation of the project in Region 9 and to be informed of its successes and challenges.
According to a release, the delegation visited members of the Women Agro-Processors Development Network (WADNet) where they viewed the production facilities of the Aranaputa Agroprocessors Group and the Wowetta Women’s Group.
The Aranaputa group produces organic peanut butter while the Wowetta group produces farine, tapioca and cassareep.
The release said that one of the differences between Guyana and Bolivia, noted immediately by the Bolivians was that women were the ones who organised and were in charge of these enterprises. This impressed them very much because the opposite was more common in Bolivia. They were also impressed with the level of organisation of the groups and with the network as a whole.
Tourism is also a part of this project’s focus areas so the team visited the villages of Moco Moco and Surama.
Moco Moco is known in Region Nine for its vegetable farms and its rice project which the team visited. The tourism plans of the village were also presented. The team took some time to enjoy the Moco Moco Falls.
The release said that in Surama, the team was exposed to the concept of community-based eco-tourism and the challenges of implementation from its founder Sydney Allicock. The delegation was impressed and said that they could adopt this to implement in their communities.
The team attended a performance by the cultural group of Surama and were reported to admire their dedication to keep the indigenous cultural expression alive.
The release said that the delegation also visited Shulinab where they also had an opportunity to interact with the members of the South Central
Peoples Development Association (SCPDA). They listened to a presentation on the challenges of implementing their 10-year long mapping project. They were told that this map serves as a key resource for SCPDA and plays a significant role in natural resources and land management planning.
The release said that at the Bina Hill Institute, they were serenaded by the students and the concept of the indigenous technical institute was shared by Tourism Director Alphonso Forde and the Principal Mr DaSilva. One of the delegates Vilm
a Lopez, a vocational school administrator of a similar institution in Bolivia was interested in establishing further collaboration, especially with the teachers.
The rest of the Bolivian contingent comprised Santiago Etcheverry, a tour guide; Modesto Tapia, a traditional handi-craftsman and Kenny Knapf, a member of the municipal administration of Santa Cruz. They were accompanied by two CUSO volunteers, Christian Orellana and Yadilca Coe.