This article was originally published on The World Bank’s Latin American and Caribbean opportunities for all blog.
“When the company let us down, we only imposed a fine. We must be firm with companies and with vendors, otherwise they fail to fulfill their end. This is how to move the project forward”. This testimony impressed me a lot when I heard it from an indigenous woman in Bolivia, who was proud to be part of the steering committee and defend the interests of the community in the project.
Bolivia has a terrific success story to tell about encouraging rural women to take the lead in their communities and organizations and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
The PAR, meanwhile, focuses on agricultural subsectors of high added value, such as cacao, in which the women are the principal actors in production and pre-processing. Several studies confirm that in the past decade, the participation of women in agriculture, both as part of the labor force and as self-employed producers, has significantly increased and benefited the region. By giving rural women the chance to get organized, assume enhanced commercial roles, and improve their earnings, the PAR project is sparking dynamism in families and regions. In the vibrant cacao communities covered by the PAR, women have become the driving force in creating prosperity through their involvement, fortitude, and capacity.
Because these stories are so powerful, our partners at EMPODERAR decided to capture them in a short documentary that you can watch at the top of this post. It was unveiled at the Annual Meetings in Lima to a global audience and we’re sharing it with readers now, to give a glimpse of rural development in Bolivia and why it is so important to empower rural women.
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Author: Francisco Obreque is a Senior Rural Development Specialist at The World Bank.
Image: Native Bolivians pose with quinoa plants, a variety of Andean grain cultivated at high altitudes. Picture taken April 8, 2013. REUTERS/David Mercado.