New Communities / Saemaul Undong in Bolivia Bolivia / Ecuador SSC exchange


Thematic Area: Local Development, Gender Equality, Sustainable cities and communities, Productive development

Country: Bolivia, Ecuador

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Under the project New Communities / Saemaul Undong in Bolivia, financed by the Korean Cooperation (KOICA), on October 26 / 30 took place the first South-South Cooperation exchange between Bolivia and Ecuador, aimed to promoting mutual learning in different areas of rural production and local entrepreneurship. Projects in Ecuador are part of the Small Grants Programme.

Six Bolivian producers and local leaders of Sacaba and Tiquipaya municipalities (Cochabamba), two representatives of Sacaba government and one representative of Tiquipaya government visited the region “Sierra Centro Sur” in Ecuador (municipalities of Cayambe, Cotacachi, Intag and Junin) and focused on five production areas: milk production, organic coffee, woven alpaca, vegetables and community tourism. Social organization, sustainable and organic agriculture, sustainable energy solutions, logistics and access to markets were also part of the agenda. It is worth noting that two local councilors of Sacaba joined the mission paid by their local government, which showed the interest raised by this SSC initiative, while the Ecuadorian mayor of Cotacachi received the delegation in a relevant and useful meeting. The agenda included a series of visits and workshops and an opening and closing meeting with representatives by UNDP CO, KOICA and the Technical Secretariat for International Cooperation SETEC.


How was the exchange implemented?

After an extensive search of experiences in local development supported by the South-South Cooperation Unit from the CORE/UNDP Regional Centre it found that the extensive experience in municipal development carry out by UNDP Ecuador together with the similarities in many aspects with Bolivia, could to strengthen the projects’ objectives. In that order, since a couple of weeks, colleagues from different offices (ART Bolivia), (ART Ecuador and PPT) and (CSS Unit / CORE UNDP Regional Center) have worked together in planning the first South-South knowledge exchange for the project including a field visit from local Bolivian leaders to Ecuadorian municipalities with the aim, among others, to develop local capacities to promote the economic development of the most vulnerable populations of the municipalities in Ecuador and Bolivia.

Representatives of local organizations as Women Association Bartolina Sisa, Women Association Entre Rios, Association of Fishermen of Tiquipaya, Association of Flower Producers of Montecillo Bajo, Association of Milk Producers of Sacaba Valley, Producers Association Bruno Mogo and councilors of the municipalities of Tiquipaya and Sacaba, accompanied by representatives of UNDP Bolivia and UNDP SSC LAC (CORE RBLAC in Panama), visited first diverse productive initiatives in Intag, central Ecuador.

In this region the delegation knew about the experience of Association of Agro Ecological Farmers of Intag, which promotes agro-ecological production and food security, and also works on energy sovereignty through innovative technologies as biodigesters. The Coffee Producers Association Rio Intag showed its processing plant, and presented its complex cooperative organizational structure, which goes from ecological and sustainable coffee production to fair trade techniques and access to global markets.

The Bolivian delegation visited next the community El Rosal where it met the entrepreneur experience of the local Women's Association, which developed a local craft industry of creams, soaps and shampoo made with aloe. In both regions the delegation had the opportunity to share experiences and discuss ecological production and community tourism.

The mission then visited the Great Valley Workshops Corporation, led by an association of women entrepreneurs which shared their experience in development of handicrafts made from natural fibers, as well as the production of natural yogurt, and the generation of added value through the commercialization of grains and beans.

What was this cooperation experience achieve to date?

It has been important to see that the organizations had a fund to finance technical, trade promotion and investment, so they could avoid a high dependence on local government entities.

They could feel that the work was more organized in Ecuador, they had a greater representation of producers and hence greater flexibility in reaching a production, according to the specific market needs

This experience has aroused high awareness in productive leaderships, based on “if they can do it so I can do it too" expressed in the methodology of Seamaul Undong.

What evidence is there that the initiative has overcome or transformed the specific experience to which it responds?

  • Increased participation of women in private producers’ enterprises.
  • Regulations of productive organizations, in the process of adjustment to a corporate vision.
  • Design and concerted productive enterprises, in close coordination with productive development directions of municipal governments.
  • Inclusion of environmental mitigation measures for productive activities that are consistent with the conservation of the environment.

What instruments, tools, or methodologies have been developed to support or facilitate the transfer/replication of the solution or experience of the offering countries to recipients?

Methodologically, the project will promote multi-actor and multi-level Work Groups. Small farmers, women, youth and community institutions are part of the working groups, giving special attention to their active participation. In those work groups, the methodology works for a better understanding of their needs and try to identify appropriate measures to build capacities (for example in decision making tools in the community), and empower those participants in a participatory manner.

The local working group is comprised of national, departmental and community actors as well as private and university actors, allowing a horizontal space for dialogue, where they decide the guidelines of the territory from a strategy and perspective concurrent investment.

The diffusion of the experiences of their peers producers, so that the knowledge can be replicated to other community members.

What exchange activities have taken place between offering and requesting countries?

It has strengthened the technical capacity training workshops in developing bio-inputs and participatory way to identify and spread of fruit Andean moorland and natural forests (blackberry bush, chimpalo and mortiño). In addition, the network has strengthened the productive work of family units under construction organic agro-ecological approach is implemented as a pilot Local Participatory Guarantee System -LPGS (Set of principles, standards, procedures, tools and technical controls of the production organic, which serves to ensure consumer product quality always motivating to improve the quality of their production). 75 producers trained in AFS (Agricultural Field Schools) with work processes Andean spread of wild fruit (blackberry bush and tzimpalo).

Who were the partners?


-        Tiquipaya - Flower Producers Association Montecillo Bajo

-        Tiquipaya – Horticulturists APROBUM

-        Tiquipaya – Fish Farming Association Summit

-        Sacaba - Association Bartolinas Villa Obrajes

-        Sacaba - Milk Producers Association Sacaba Valley


-        CAYAMBE: Agroecology as a Strategy for Training Biological Corridors Solidarity Economy Network and Food Sovereignty territory Kayambi (RESSAK)

-          INTAG: Biological Corridors buffer zone of the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve ZARECC

What were the results or outcomes?

• Communities and local governments in Ecuador learnt advantages and achievements obtained by the Saemaul project in Bolivia -methodologies, vision and potential. Knew about the possibilities of eventually transfer the Saemaul Undong methodology –or elements of it- to Ecuador, in coordination with the ART program and the Small Grants Program.

• Interest has been manifested to incorporate Saemaul Undong methodology –or parts of it- in Ecuador.

• Bolivian farmers and local representatives have developed new leadership skills, and improved their ability to understand and deal with new challenges while incorporating good practices.

What were the challenges and/or lessons learned?

-Participants raised questions on new forms of cooperation including South-South trade between Korea and Latin American countries.

-Farmers and local leaders of Bolivia learnt valuable examples of associative production, distribution and innovative marketing in different areas. They also learnt techniques and methodologies in in key sectors such as dairy products, biodigesters, flowers, plantations, coffee, and logistics, access to markets, marketing and community tourism. All these experiences will be analyzed to eventually be customized and adopted in Bolivia

-The experience had a great value per-se, as well as demonstrated a possible modality with vast potential for SSC initiatives, with relevant UNDP support and facilitation in strategic areas close to our mandate and the MDGs/SDGs, and within the framework and vision of a significant project as Saemaul Undong.

UNDP role

UNDP – Bolivia: Program (Articulation of Territorial Networks)

Support in identifying leaders of the territories promoter’s intervention, level producers and authorities Municipal Governments


UNDP - Ecuador: Small Grants Program PPD

It has facilitated coordination with producers and support institutions in productive issues.

Support knowledge transfer in production processes and business management developed.

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