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UMAVIDA (Uniendo Manos por la Vida)

Our vision

Companionship facilitator:
Chenoa Stock

Sponsoring Presbyteries:
San Francisco, Cascades

Give: Joining Hands-Bolivia 

The vision of UMAVIDA is to create a just society, where women and men fully exercise their rights and duties; a just society with sustainable development in the framework of an intercultural, holistic, and equitable life together, with solidarity in international relationships.

Our Organization

The Bolivian Association Joining Hands for Life (UMAVIDA Network) has been carrying out its activities since January, 2001. We are an ecumenical solidarity network of Bolivian civil society organizations, churches and grassroots groups who question and create proposals that affect the structural causes of poverty, exclusion and environmental injustice.  We work in partnership with the Presbyterian Hunger Program of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the US Presbyteries of San Francisco and Cascades (Oregon).

UMAVIDA logoUMAVIDA is constituted of nine organizations, which include three national church institutions and six grassroots and community groups who work in both urban and rural areas. Its members, situated in the Bolivian departments of Chuquisaca, Potosí, Oruro and La Paz-El Alto, work with communities that include diverse groups of vulnerable peoples, among them people of indigenous descent, women and youth. Many of these groups also focus on environmental justice.

Our Spirituality

One of the most important characteristics of the network lies in its spirituality.  The network gathers the wisdom and knowledge of the people, using the essence of Christianity, to speak about the care of the Earth – as tutors but not as owners. It is recognition that we are all brothers and sisters with the same rights and duties, which translates into respect and recognition for the other from your integrity, wisdom and knowledge. Thus, spirituality manifests in the network through its ecumenical and multicultural character as a base for our actions within these four themes.

  1. Environment and Sustainable Development
  2. Social Justice and Human Rights,
  3. International Relations
  4. Internal Institutional Strengthening.

Our Objectives

  1. To strengthen the exercise of individual and collective rights of women and men in social organizations
  2. To contribute to sustainable development with the responsible use of natural resources that guarantees quality of life
  3. To promote a relationship of respect, equality, solidarity and reciprocity between countries of the north and the south and between countries of the south
  4. To increase effectiveness and efficiency in the network and its institutions.
Group photo

2012 International Youth Congress in Cochabamba, Bolivia. A space where youth from 5 countries share their realities of environmental injustices in their regions and countries and develop strategic plans together.

Our Programs


Environmental Program

Kori Kollo open pit mining

Kori Kollo open pit mining operations in Oruro, Bolivia, of which the Bolivian government carried out the recently released environmental audit. Views of the mound of mining tailings which contaminate the surrounding community waters and lands (left), as well as the artificial lagoon created by the excavation of minerals (right).

Our campaigns “In the face of increasing poverty we defend water” and “Freshwater is worth more than gold,” focus our work on the search for environmental justice for communities affected by the mining contamination in the state of Oruro, Bolivia.

After the release of a government environmental audit, which was to assess the levels of contamination from local mining operations, UMAVIDA is supporting these affected communities by organizing acts of awareness raising and advocacy, calling for corporate responsibility and remediation and re-assessment of Bolivian and international mining laws and policies and their implementation.

Within the formation and education processes for our youth in this program, we carry out water schools, international youth congresses, environmental fairs, photo contests, and local actions, in order to provide opportunities for capacity building and sharing of realities between them.

Human Rights and Social Justice Program

We work with women and men of churches and grassroots groups, raising their awareness of their rights and duties and strengthening the leadership of their artisan, farming and micro business groups.

The network recognizes that to speak of human rights is to recognize the principles of respect for difference, the rights of indigenous people, the rights of nature, the right to live without contamination, and many other principles.

All humans know and exercise their right to not live in situations of injustice and know how to denounce them. It is recognized that women and youth are vulnerable populations before the violation of rights and also recognized that vulnerable populations have the most potential to exercise new leadership for the generation of proposals of change.

 International Relations Program

This program creates spaces of analysis, reflection, and advocacy about global problems that affect our country and its people, creating a relationship of solidarity with Presbyteries of the North and alliances at the global level. We have also promoted analysis workshops about fair trade and solidarity economics.

 Internal Strengthening Program

We promote capacity-building, where spaces of institutional strengthening are created for all of the partner organizations about the strategic themes in which the network works Communication, where newsletters are written and a webpage for dissemination of information and campaign activities is utilized. We are also 1 of the 125 member organizations of the ACT Alliance, working in long term development, humanitarian assistance, and advocacy, as well as a member of the national Bolivian ACT Forum.

We promote capacity building, where spaces of institutional strengthening are created for all partner organizations on the strategic themes and issues in which the network works. We also place importance on communication within the network partners, which is carried out in the form of newsletters and a webpage for dissemination of information and campaign activities.

 The Institutions that Form the Network:

  • The Evangelical Methodist Church in Bolivia (IEMB) – La Paz
  • The Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELB) – La Paz
  • The Independent Presbyterian Church in Bolivia (IPIB) – La Paz
  • Center for Social Investigation and Work in Mutidisciplinary Systems (CISTEM) – El Alto, La Paz
  • Services for Community Development (SEDEC AYNI) – El Alto, La Paz
  • Center for Studies and Formation of Workers (CEFOT) – El Alto, La Paz
  • Alliance for the Promotion of Agroecological and Integral Services in Development (AGROECODES) – Sucre
  • Center for Regional Development (CDR) – Potosí
  • Center for Ecology and Andean People (CEPA) – Oruro