For my International Cooperation and Development class this semester, I had to do a presentation on an International Development Agency. It was a really interesting project, so I thought I would share it with the interwebs.
My project focused on SIDA or the Swedish International Cooperation and Development Agency. They’re a bilateral organization, headquartered in Stockholm, that funds development projects in over 35 countries around the world. One of their projects that I focused on is currently underway in a small town in Bolivia.
Sida partnered with a Bolivian organization called Agua Tuya to build a new water treatment facility. The goal was for the pilot community to become the first municipality in Bolivia to treat 100% of their wastewater by 2020. Currently, they are at 75%, so I’d say they are well on their way!
The water treatment facility is based on Swedish technology and half of the budget is directly funded by SIDA. My favorite part of this project, however, is how the plan was implemented. Before construction began, SIDA and Agua Tuya spent 6 months communicating with the community, educating them on what the waste management facility would do and how it would help them, as well as answering all of their questions and concerns. Even after all of that, construction didn’t begin until the community agreed to the project. I have seen so many examples of development projects harming communities because they don’t want the help or understand it. The dedication shown here to helping the Bolivians with their consent is honestly heartwarming. Even better, a local Bolivian woman from the community learned how to run and maintain the plant, allowing the community to remain self-sufficient, and they have already seen the benefits in larger harvests and higher economic output.
Agua Tuya is planning 14 more waste management facilities to be installed in different rural Bolivian communities, based on the success of this project.