Partner Organization: Federación Nacional de Mujeres Campesinas, Indígenas y Originarias de Bolivia "Bartolina Sisa", FNMCIOB-BS.
Activities: Training of members to increase awareness and capacity to exert power over their own lives. The project will train women at various levels.
Project Started in: 2007.
Project Budget: 580 000 SEK for the period 2009-2010.
Indigenous women reform Bolivia
Bolivia has undergone several important changes in recent years. People who previously had no political or economic power finally have the possibility to determine the country’s development.
Traditionally, political control in Bolivia has been in the hands of the minority of European extraction. But since the end of the 1900s, discontent with the repression of the country’s indigenous population has grown, and led to massive protests against the neoliberal and US-friendly policies. The struggle for social justice culminated in the election of Evo Morales to the presidency in 2006 as the candidate of MAS, Movement Toward Socialism. For the first time in the country’s history the head of State came from the majority population.
Bolivia’s new government adopted a development plan that was in harmony with the millennium goals and included measures to deal with poverty, hunger and homelessness. It also provided for a countrywide literacy campaign, free food for school children and a housing program. Additionally, MAS has the stated goal of increasing the participation of women from the previous level of 30% of candidates in the Assembly elections to an even gender representation at all levels of decision making, as well as a fair representation of the indigenous population.
In spite of how little time has transpired since MAS won the presidency, big changes have occurred. Women’s and indigenous people’ rights have not only been established in the new constitution; concrete results have been achieved. But many informal obstacles remain for the real exercising of women’s political rights. It is important that the many indigenous women who were elected to various offices are able to fully participate in the building of the new, democratic Bolivia.
In 2007 VIF started a project together with FNMCIOB-BS that aims to support training of women who are elected representatives and activists in different levels of the organization. Additionally, the project will contribute to the establishment of a network for these women at local, district and national levels.
Federación Nacional de Mujeres Campesinas, Indígenas y Originarias de Bolivia
"Bartolina Sisa" (FNMCIOB-BS, the Bartolina Sisa National Federation of Bolivian Peasant Women) was founded January 10, 1980. The majority of its founders were active in Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CUTCB, Bolivia’s farm workers’ union) but were subjected to a double oppression, in part because they were indigenous peasants and in part because they were women.
FNMCB-BS was one of several social movements that stood behind the building of Instrumento Político para la Soberanía de los Pueblos, IPSP (Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples Movement Toward Socialism), the formal party organization of the Movement Toward Socialism, MAS. Accordingly, FNMCIOB-BS is one of the various social movements that makes up MAS and that works in a partisan political way through its involvement in IPSP/MAS. FNMCIOB-BS actively participated in the formulation of Bolivia’s new constitution and many of the women’s association’s members have been elected to public office via MAS.
Languages: Aymara, Spanish, quechua and another 33 official languages.
Population: 10 million (2010, estimated)
BNP/capita: 4 700 USD (2009, estimated)
Area: 1 098 581 km²