Bolivia: Vocational education program in agricultural school to develop professional and social skills

Objective

Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America. Different climates within its regions, diverse land types and difficult access to water require specific agricultural skills. Unfortunately, young adults living in poverty have limited access to such know-how and little opportunity to work on a common goal in the agricultural field.

The Agricultural School of Fundación Cristo Vive Bolivia (FCVB), based in Cochabamba and supported by the Louis Dreyfus Foundation, aims to give personal and professional development to youngsters from rural parts of the country. In order to improve their quality of life, the school provides agricultural knowledge, as well as practical and management skills. In addition to the specific agricultural education program, a boarding house for students, adjacent to the school, will open in 2017.

The house, designed by the Technological Institute of Berlin (Technische Universität Berlin), is being built with the help of Procasha, a local foundation of women construction workers who are expertly carrying out the works. By working and living together, the main objective of the boarding house is to create a sense of responsibility and community.

Results

The FCVB Agricultural School is part of a technical college, founded in 2006, which focuses on developing health, social and personnel skills during a 3-year program. The program is recognized by the education authorities of Bolivia as delivering a certificate equivalent to an academic diploma. The ‘agronomy campus’ has become a reference point in an area which enjoys a long tradition of agriculture.

By combining traditional Bolivian agriculture, which has a direct impact on the production of day-to-day food, with other alternative fields (like growing flowers for sale or breeding farm animals), the school has become a model of social and professional development. The new boarding house will enable students from rural and poor regions to strengthen their contact with others, and will help to guide them in their personal development.

Key figures

  • 64 students including 38 women enrolled in the 2016 academic year
  • 73 students including 42 women enrolled in the 2017 academic year

In partnership with:

Fundación Cristo Vive

Fundación Cristo Vive (FCV) gathers independent and ecumenical foundations dedicated to public welfare in Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Founded by German nun Karoline Mayer, who has been living and working in the slums of Santiago de Chile for more than 45 years, FCV aims to improve impoverished peoples’ standard of living, their individual advancement and their integration into society.

To find out more visit:
www.fcv-bo.org
www.fundacioncristovive.cl

Technological Institute of Berlin (Technische Universität Berlin)

To find out more visit:
www.code.tu-berlin.de
www.bellavista-code.de

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I chose this curriculum because I want to learn the theory as well as practical skills. At the beginning of the first year, when we came to do activities in addition to the courses, we saw that the ground was not so good and the environment was very different to what it is now (full of herbs, no crops... the land seemed abandoned). But over the years, we have worked and seen an improvement. Since the beginning, we participated actively at the school, we came here to help build the classrooms, to make the soil more fertile; now we see that these efforts have helped to make the school become a reality.

Marlene, student at the Agricultural School in Cochabamba