Food for Work: "Helping Bolivians Stand and Walk Once More"

With the waters receding, families affected by the floods in Bolivia have entered the recovery phase, which starts with the rehabilitation of their communities. Currently, 500 communities in Bolivia are active participants in the ‘Food for Work’ programme which rebuilds homes, schools, roads and agricultural land throughout their communities, in exchange for food.

Hernán Ramallo Rivero, community leader of Lago del Carmen an Amazonian town in the Department of Riberalta, has mobilized his community of 15 families to start reconstruction through WFP’s ‘Food for Work’ programme. Groups work to rehabilitate schools and homes in order to reconstruct their community. 

Along the riverside, the 15 families of Lago del Carmen gather to receive family food rations that will provide food for the next 15 days. WFP distributed 20 kilos of noodles, 6 kilos of High Energy Biscuits (HEBs), 4 cans of sardines and 2 liters of oil, with 4 bags of salt provided by the municipal government of Riberalta. Prior to the flood, the community was well known for its agriculture and fishing, both activities were interrupted by the floods, the water drowned their crops of banana, cassava and rice and as a result of the heavy rains, fishing became impossible. They are still unable to replant their main crops because they do not have seeds, however many families managed to grow watermelons and tomatoes sold in the market. 

Path to Recovery 
Fatima Aroquipa Curupi and her family, from multi-ethnic indigenous territory where different tribes coexist, such as the Trinitario, Yuracaré, Ignaciano, Movima and T’simaneand, lost five hectares of banana, their main profitable crop. "Although we returned to sow today, we won’t have our sustainable livelihoods until a year from now, which is the amount of time it takes for the bananas to grow...We are growing watermelon and tomatoes, but there are no seeds for bananas and we are still preparing the land “ said Fatima. As part of the Bolivian Government’s recovery plan, nicknamed plan “Patujú”, these communities will receive seeds and other agricultural inputs from the Ministry of Rural Development and Land (MDRyT), that complement WFP’s ‘Food for Work’ initiatives. "But now is no time to complain," continued Fatima, "now it's time to work, because we need to stand on our feet and walk again. We are progressing with the assistance we are receiving, and we will continue to advance until the next harvest season and begin to live off of our land again”, she said with her voice full of hope and determination. 

On the day before the food delivery, President Evo Morales acknowledged and thanked WFP for the rapid emergency response, coordinated with the Deputy Minister of Civil Defence (VIDECI). With this operation, WFP managed to assist some 15,000 indigenous and rural families in the Departments of Beni, Pando, La Paz (north) and Cochabamba (tropics). In addition to food assistance, WFP provided technical assistance for the design and implementation of the plan “Patujú” in the realm of food security for smallholder farmers. Currently, WFP is developing an Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) to determine the direction of future operations.