Pujllay child rights and sustainable food program
Severe weather events and flooding have highlighted Bolivia's urgent need for a more focused approach to dealing with the consequences of climate change and helping communities prepare for disasters. This program empowers children to learn about their rights and help their community in a positive way.
About the program
Over recent years Bolivia, one of Latin America’s poorest country, has suffered from increased rainfall and hailstorms. Severe weather events and flooding have highlighted the country's urgent need for a more focused approach to dealing with the consequences of climate change and helping communities prepare for disasters.
Pujllay is a child rights and sustainable food program in Bolivia that targets 44 marginalised rural and urban communities in the region of Cochabamba. The Caritas Australia supported project addresses the challenges of food security and its associated costs, such as threats to the rights of the child and the loss of local cultural identity caused by migration for work.
Run by ASONGS, a coalition of 14 non-governmental health agencies, the program empowers children to become involved in the process of promoting human rights and improving the health and level of food security in their communities. The project affirms children as contributors to, rather than burdens on, the community.
The children meet each Saturday to participate in activities that teach them about environmentally sustainable animal breeding and food production, basic first aid, the use of locally grown plants as medicines, leadership skills, child rights and cultural identity.
The whole community benefits from the program, with parents and elders joining in to learn about recycling, water conservation, improving drainage for a safer environment and celebrating their Indigenous heritage.
As an action of solidarity with those affected by the floods in Bolivia in April 2007, the local Pujllay group gathered food, clothing and seeds to help their northern neighbours recover.
The program’s support for crop diversification and better nutrition has brought significant improvements in the health of the children involved. It has also raised awareness of children’s rights both locally and nationally. The program’s success has seen it expand in 2012 to benefit 44 communities.