CED Practice in Bolivia

The CED training in Bolivia is having significant results! Participants have been able to incorporate the CED practices in their work places and to create community  initiatives framed by the CED approach. These impacts of the training program have been identified in the following fields:

  • Economic Development
  • Food Security
  • Municipal Planning
  • Changes in Institutional Practice

Economic Development

  •  A graduate who works in an NGO in Santa Cruz, developed and obtained financing for a project with youth in marginalized urban areas  to participate in creating solutions to their common economic challenges.
  •  An instructor who participated in the program has incorporated CED principles and tools into his work with miners in an impoverished highlands region of the country, to develop economic alternatives to mining.
  •  A participant from a rural development NGO in Sucre has worked with women in a rural indigenous community to develop a community tourism project, using a CED approach.  He states that DEC has helped him to incorporate social and human development as an integrated part of economic development, from the visioning to planning to implementation stages of any project.  Further, that the CED approach has showed him the importance of all members of a community, not just those who are in a leadership or representative role, but everyone who is behind.
  •  A participant from a rural community of 3000 people in Oruro used the asset-based approach to assessment in his community.  By identifying the current economic, social, and environmental capitals of the area, he was able to mobilize interest of local leaders for an agroecological tourist network to show: agricultural crops, fauna (the condor), microclimates (thermal waters in the low lands) and, other landscapes.
  • A leader originario from the community Achica Baja participated in the CED program in Viacha and incorporated CED principles in the work strategy for a project of potable water in his community. According to the graduate, knowing about the CED theoretical framework was a ‘revelatory experience’ in that it re-activated ancestral traditions. He mentions that the communities were already cognizant of the values proposed by CED; thus, knowing about it contributed to the revalorization of the community capitals   and cultural knowledge.

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 Food Security

  •  A graduate who works in El Alto has incorporated CED strategies into their programs to re-introduce native foods into the diets of the children of rural migrants, to improve their nutrition and overall health.
  •   An indigenous leader from the highlands regions has been able to develop three food security initiatives in his community of 100 families since starting the CED training:  a trout hatchery, and collective tarwi and quinoa crops. The initiatives emerged when he brought back the CED approach to his community, bringing together community members to analyze their assets. They recognized the strength of their natural, human, cultural and social capital but also realized that they were not using sufficiently their traditional knowledge of growing native foods, and that they could mobilize their social capital for collective food production. For all the three projects they used local partners identified through a planning tool learned in the CED program.  The municipality provided the funding for the trout hatchery, a local foundation provided the quinoa seeds to plant a community plot and for a seed bank that provided seeds for 50 families; and with another foundation they were able to plant Tarwi in community land.  The trout and communal crops were cared for by a group of people, and all who participated received a portion of the harvest.

The graduate says that “CED has been of significant influence for the emergence of these initiatives because previously, the community was always waiting for external actors to develop projects. The CED approach is different, first, we look at our own resources and second, we see how we can develop our own projects. It is about having our own strategic partnerships with institutions, organizations, friends, etc.”


Municipal Planning – toward Asset-Based and Collaborative Governance

  • A Quechua leader from Chuquisaca brought the CED approach to his municipality’s process to create their Charter of Autonomy, and to the town’s five-year development plan.
  • Aymara leaders from the highlands worked with municipal staff to incorporate CED as the approach for community planning in 64 rural communities.  As a result, CED initiatives proposed by communities can now receive funding from the municipal annual budget.
  • In a municipality in Santa Cruz, a program graduate taught the CED approach to the assistant mayor and the economic development staff, who are now using many of the principles and tools in their local economic development activities.
  •  An NGO in Chuquisaca supported a municipality in creating their Charter of Autonomy, integrating many components of the CED focus.  The approach works well at a municipal level, says the participant, because it includes all the areas of development needed and possible in a particular territory, incorporation social and economic development as well as collaborative governance and funding mechanisms for initiatives.
  • In the highlands, an indigenous leader worked with his community on an analysis of their capitals (assets) and identified the potential for a milk processing plant to increase their market potential.  Due to the action-oriented approach of CED, the community proactively proposed to municipal staff to work together on making this initiative happen.  The community will donate 4 hectares for the plant to the municipality, and the plant will be a municipal company.  The community will benefit from training, improvement of their livestock, forage and an expanded market for their milk production.
  • Aymara leaders from the highlands worked with an NGO who had participated in the same CED program as them, to conduct an analysis of the assets and potential in five rural indigenous communities, and to collaborate in planning and implementing CED initiatives.

Changes in Institutional Practice

1. An NGO changed their way of planning and implementing projects after taking the CED program:

  • Their 5-year strategic plan is based on a CED approach, piloted in four rural communities.
  • Through the CED training, they recognized the importance of the participatory approach in development, particularly, the importance of involving the beneficiary community directly in planning and implementing projects
  • Previously, they saw development as a process that moves from “the top to the bottom”, but now their vision has changed:

“With CED you must understand and incorporate the lived experience of the               community — understand their culture, the social, human and natural components of their environment. You have to mobilize the existing assets, like they talked about in the course. Basing on those assets, the community begins to structure its strategy for development.”

 2.  A graduate who manages an association of milk producers in   Chuquisaca incorporated the CED approach into the organization in many ways:

  • Previously, the organization engaged in top-down planning, and did not see the complementary value of the knowledge and experience of the milk producers.
  • The participatory emphasis of CED has brought in bottom-up forms of planning for the association.

“We see the milk producer just as the milk producer ,but he is human capital for the association, as he is also submerged in an environment of natural and physical capital, which are assets for all of us. This is important to be noted because this is a vision that must emerge from the community. Also, there is a new emphasis on the necessity to strengthen the human capital of the milk producers, in order to avoid their dependency on external factors. Thus, they move from technical assistance to management and handling production themselves.”  In addition, one of the milk producers (female) said, “Previously, when we were starting, we were shy. We were fearful to express ourselves, but because we have workshops and training, then we have learned to let the fear go. In this way, we feel more empowered to solve the problems that arise.”




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