about the author
Public Information Officer
Ximena Loza has been a Public Information officer for WFP in South America since 2000. She has a masters degree in gender and development.
In the community of San Juan de Mocoví, some 150 kilometres from the city of Trinidad, in Bolivia, the United Nations is making a difference in the lives of 25 indigenous families. This zone, prone to flooding and other natural disasters, benefits from resources of the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNHSTF) implemented by three agencies: WFP, FAO and UNICEF.
SAN JUAN DE MOCOVÍ- The actions carried out in four municipalities of Beni have reached upwards of 4,500 indigenous farming families. The objective is to promote human security, defined as the sum of food security, economic security, sanitary security and environmental security, to achieve a full impact.
Learning from the Past to Develop the Present
Recovering ancestral knowledge from the Moxeña culture- ancient inhabitants of these lands- the FAO and the WFP support the construction of hills in the community of San Juan de Mocoví. This is an ancient technique to safeguard the livestock in times of flooding on the embankments, upon which there is usually storage sheds and seeded grasslands for feed. In addition, both agencies support the improvement of the storage of grains produced in the community, specifically rice and corn, with the production of metal silos. These would be more resistant to the climate in the region.
Meanwhile, with the support of UNICEF, the community is working on the construction of a water treatment system to connect the homes of the 25 families to the distribution network. At the same time, the community is being taught the importance of hygiene and the access and use of safe water.
Today there is also food assistance in the community, as the people are spending their days on the construction of works to improve the human security in their community. Many have had to put aside their income generating activities, mainly subsistence farming, to dedicate this time.
Preserving Health and Nutrition
A health brigade has reached the community today to help with child nutrition. The nearest health centre is located in Santa Rosa, around eight kilometres away. In order to improve the nutrition of children in the community, WFP assists pre and postnatal mothers and their children from the ages of 2-6. As an incentive to attend the health checks, women and children receive Super Cereal (precooked corn and soybean flour) and vegetable oil with vitamin A.
Belén Huasase, 31, is a mother of three, the youngest of whom is the two year old Aldania. Belén takes all of her children to the nutritional checks set up by the health brigade every month in the community of San Juan de Mocoví. After nutritional surveillance, in order to receive the food rations, mothers are organized to deliver the health check cards to the health centre in Santa Rosa; they are taken there by motorcycle.
With the Super Cereal, Belén makes chicha (fermented drink), frito (fried foods), rosquillas (doughnuts), and bollos (rolls), for everyone in her family. “After eating the yellow grains, one feels a full belly and a happy heart…” says this mother. She also notes that before this support, health brigades rarely came to the village, and they moved the children to the health centre in Santa Rosa even less frequently. “Now nutritional and health checks are a routine in the village” she says with a smile.
All of these comprehensive actions have made San Juan de Mocoví, much like 108 other communities in Beni, a safer and more developed place to live.