Gabrielle Angers-Gosselin, Quebec Without Borders intern
Following our first blog post, we felt that it would be a good idea to provide more details about the women’s centres that we work with on a daily basis. As you already know, our internship with CEPROSI has led us to work with women from the Max Paredes and Cotahuma boroughs of the city of La Paz and the Ciudad Satelite district of the city of El Alto. These are the target populations of CEPROSI, and to reach them, they are working with the Sembrando Semillas women’s association, which has more than 300 women in over 20 centres.
Here we are at the finishing line! We’ve made it to the last week of work. Only the final details are left: thinking about our goodbye party; finishing our internship project; purchasing souvenirs; … and writing up a few blog posts to tell you about our experience here in Bolivia! We believe that it’s important to describe the daily life we’ve shared over these last two and a half months.
In honour of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8th all across the planet, Development and Peace wants to highlight the contribution made by millions of women as they strive to create a more just world. Women, for instance, are crucial players for achieving food sovereignty. In developing countries, 79 percent of women on the labour market work in the agricultural sector, yet they have less access than men to credit, markets, technology and agricultural services.
It has now been two years since the suited managers of the San Martin open pit gold mine, owned by Goldcorp, packed their bags and left the Siria Valley in central Honduras. They had spent literally hundreds of hours of air time, reassuring the population that the mine hadn’t harmed the surrounding environment.
As proof, they even built an eco-tourism hotel on the mine site, raised cattle and poultry and planted eucalyptus trees everywhere – although the thirsty nature of these in an area with a gradually diminishing water supply seemed to escape them.
These days, things are booming in the mining town of Huanuni, Bolivia. Tin prices are at nearly $10 a pound, compared to $2 in the eighties. The tin extracted from the mine is processed in local foundries, and then sent by boat to Asia, where it ends up in cell phones, laptops, iPods and other electrical goods. Miners are earning unprecedented salaries, which has spawned a tin rush that has men literally fighting for jobs at the COMIBOL state run mine, and young women fighting over the wage-earning miners.