Our emphasis is on "participatory" human development. We provide school books to rural Bolivia.
PWMin is about helping people help themselves. We stress participatory techniques. Aid agencies long ago realized that for long-term development, "giveaways" and handouts don't help people get better in the long run. In fact, they make it worse as the people develop a dependency on the aid. So our emphasis is on involving the person and community in the process. This is our first effort in Bolivia. The "participatory" aspect of providing books is simple to understand. 1) The family has to promise to let the student go to school instead of forcing them to watch sheep or goats or work in the fields. For many of the students, they are the first ones to attend school. 2) The student has to go to school. While that might seem simple to us from the northern hemisphere, one must remember that there are no truency officers or police in very rural Bolivia. And many students must walk one or two hours *each way* to school. This is a perfect example of how one must *participate* actively in the process of self-improvement. In rural Bolivia the schools are many times poorly equipped and almost never have simple books for topics like reading, spelling and math. The area that we are serving is about 8-10 hours over bad roads from the nearest city (Cochabamba Bolivia). For you geography whizzes, the area is in the northern provinces of the Departmento of Potosí; Torotoro is the nearest town, Carasi is the nearest village. The economy is dominated completely by agriculture. The area is isolated enough that much of the economy is by barter, not money. Thus it is that families typically don't have much money. And school books are not even available for sale. The school season runs from February to November. This is our second school year and we have distributed approximately 800 school books. We have had requests for more books for more subjects for more grade levels for more schools in the area. Our overhead is extremely low. The 501c3 registered non-profit is completely volunteer run. The Bootman family in Bolivia pays a small amount each month for a person who acts as the go-between with the rural area and Cochabamba. Thus ALL of the donations to date have gone to purchase books. If you give $1-10 dollars it goes to books, not overhead, no salaries, nothing but books. In the near future we have some registration expenses to formally establish the non-profit in Bolivia. The Bolivian non-profit is being registered as "Friendship in Action" (Amistad en Acción).
Now in late 2010 we have the count for total books sent to rural Potosí: just over 1000 !