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  • Gustavo Driau

IELB and Montana Synod: food security program in Bolivia

IELB is one of the most numerous member churches of the LWF, in South America. Native South American peoples like Aymara, Quechua, and Lekos are the membership of the church. IELB has been blessed with a diversity of nations and gifts to serve and accompany the longstanding struggles of the Bolivian people against oppression and exclusion.

Caranavi is in the Yungas region, which are mountain jungles with different characteristics depending on the height of the ground above sea level.

In what is known today as Caranavi, the Lekos lived, which had been a traveling hunter and gatherer town. The Lekos that exploited and semi-enslaved by successive occupations to extract natural resources. First, the Spanish conquested, then the invasion for the raising of cattle, then the exploitation of rubber and now mining.

Caranavi is a city of 14,000 inhabitants. It is a new city, 70 years old. The economic activity created Caranavi as a center of commerce and exchanges between the settlers, original peoples who lived in the surroundings, and the migration from the Andean zone.

IELB has carried out missionary work for decades in Caranavi. Nowadays, there are several faith communities and congregations that are part of IELB.

Caranavi is a region where dengue has been the disease that has caused a lot of pain and death until March 2020.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact in recent months. Due to deficiencies in the management of the health crisis and the national health system, the virus has spread and multiplied with hundreds of infected people.

COVID-19 produces illness and death, and then the quarantine and confinement decision, which brings lack of work and income that mainly affects the poorest people who live from their daily work; lack of income prevents families from buying food, leading to hunger.

The consequence of the pandemic that most affects Bolivians is the paralysis of the country's economic activity. In Bolivia,70 percent of the population is engaged in the informal economy, which are trade and services activities with a daily economic cycle. In these activities, the income of each day is those that allow survival, mandatory quarantine prevents business, which generates a lack of income, and lack of income creates hunger

In this situation, IELB is developing a food distribution, and food security programs supported with Montana Synod -ELCA funds


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