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“Daughter, your faith has made you well.” —Mark 5:34

Presbyterian Hunger Program
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Jennifer Evans
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UMAVIDA (Uniendo Manos por la Vida)

Our vision

Companionship facilitator:
Chenoa Stock

Sponsoring Presbyteries:
San Francisco, Cascades

The UMAVIDA network, through its actions and proposals, seeks to contribute to the construction of a more just, equitable society that values diversity. UMAVIDA joins together organizations and institutions of civil society in solidarity, questioning the current system and generating proposals that affect the structural causes of poverty and exclusion. Our mission is to promote reciprocal solidarity of and between social movements (South-North, North-South and South-South) as an alternative to the current model of injustice, discrimination and oppression.

Currently there are nine member organizations of the Bolivian Joining Hands for Life Network (UMAVIDA). Additionally, several institutions have formally requested their inclusion in the network, to be decided after the network has achieved legal status. The network is countrywide, however, these new members will help us expand our presence into additional regions of the country.

people posing in front of a banner

UMAVIDA delegates and leadership team. Photo by Susan Ellison.

Among its affiliates, the UMAVIDA network includes a diverse range of organizational types, for example, four national church institutions or faith-based organizations and six secular organizations. Among those are two grassroots groups, THOA (Taller de la Historia Oral Andina), an indigenous organization, and COIJ (Coordinadora de Organizaciones e Instituciones Juveniles), an organization of young people. UMAVIDA members work in both urban and rural areas. Additionally, all of the member organizations work with communities that include diverse groups of vulnerable peoples, among them people of indigenous descent, women and youth. For example, the non-governmental organization, Gregoria Apaza, is dedicated to gender justice.

The coordinating committee has formed three task forces according to the "action lines" of the network to further allow for the full participation of the affiliates in the planning and execution of all activities. We will be referring to these task forces throughout. Because responsibility for workshops and other activities is in constant rotation, all of the member organizations have the opportunity to lead, plan and execute activities.

During the development of the last five-year strategic plan, the members of the network once again reflected on the external context in which we are working, analyzing Bolivian reality and discussing whether or not it was necessary to change or adjust our foci.

This analysis allowed us to validate our earlier decisions to work on three main issues: environment, North/South relations and democracy and citizenship given their ongoing importance. Based on this analysis, each task force has expanded its vision to include other related issues within these larger themes.

Each task force has prioritized one or two themes as foci. They are:

  1. North South/South South relations task force: political/policy relationships that create dependency and fair trade.
  2. Environmental Task Force: Water contamination, focusing on the cases of Oruro and Potosí, and mining contamination (as a base for studying other cases in other regions).
  3. Democracy and Citizenship Task Force: Focusing on the Constitutional Assembly and the development of a new Political Constitution of the State (CPE).

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