As mayor of the arid region of Toro Toro in Bolivia, Eliodoro Uriona Pardo is committed to improving the local water supply. GIZ is helping him to equip families with their own irrigation systems. Thanks to the work carried out on behalf of the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the harvest in Toro Toro is now more reliable and plentiful. The income of poor families has risen by an average of 300 per cent.
I have first-hand experience of how difficult it is to have no roads, no schools and no health care in the surrounding area. From the stories I have been told, I know how hard life used to be for my father and for others. I wanted to change that. That’s why I started standing up for poor village communities. I want to provide new opportunities for people and offer guidance, especially to women, so that they are no longer simply responsible for taking care of the home and livestock.
I convinced GIZ to visit our region. We eventually signed an agreement and now cooperate very effectively. That is important for us because the right irrigation technology plays a crucial role in our arid region. We were able to boost our harvest by diversifying the crops we grow and making good use of crop rotation. This made us more independent. We are still taking part in consultation and training activities to learn more about new farming methods.
Become independent of the municipality and aid organisations and learn to be self-sufficient.
There should be no more malnutrition. I hope that even more communities will have good irrigation systems and, like us, will be able to grow more vegetables and other crops. For Toro Toro, I believe the future lies in further processing to boost the region’s income and set an example for other communities.
I work 14 to 15 hours every day. There are no weekends for me – quite the opposite, in fact. The weekend is when I work most. As mayor, I am primarily responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of the people here in my region. Luckily, my wife is head of the local school. She has a lot to do, too, and supports me.