Roots of change: Cocoa farmers tackle gender, climate justice in Bolivia
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Roots of change: Cocoa farmers tackle gender, climate justice in Bolivia

A WACC-supported project in Bolivia will work to establish a network of rural communicators, a higher percentage of them women, who can produce content on gender and climate change for the radio station of El Ceibo, the first certified organic cocoa operative in the world.

“The project seeks to empower women’s equal participation in development processes through the strengthening of capacities in communication and impact on actions of local authorities,” said Lorenzo Vargas, WACC program manager for Communication for Social Change.

The Central Regional Agropecuaria Industrial de Cooperativas or “El Ceibo,” which is committed to protecting the native rainforest, will implement the project. “Utilizing a tiered cultivation system, El Ceibo works to protect against the degradation of their lands using natural and organic methods. Today, El Ceibo farmers grow an estimated 70 percent of the total organic cocoa cultivated in Bolivia,” according to its website. “Cocoa is grown without using chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Farmers share their knowledge from farmer to farmer to increase productivity and improve quality.”

Trainees include 25 female and 24 male leaders of cooperatives and communities in the municipalities of Palos Blancos, Alto Beni, Teoponte, and Ayopaya in the Alto Beni de Los Yungas region of La Paz. Ten leaders of women’s organizations will also participate in the training.

Aside from radio production, participants will also monitor relevant legislation in their area, “with the purpose of being able to influence them in a positive way to the mainstreaming of gender and climate change,” said Vargas.

“WACC is proud to partner with El Ceibo to advance gender equality and climate justice by promoting communication rights,” said Philip Lee, WACC General Secretary. “Bolivia is a country that is at the forefront of the struggle for communication rights and this project represents a unique opportunity to demonstrate the impact of communication rights on lives of people at the grassroots level.”


Photo above: Courtesy of El Ceibo

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