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A timid decentralisation process

In Bolivia, decentralisation processes began in the 2000s, giving more autonomy and competences to regional and local public entities to manage their territory.

However, this decentralisation is not very effective, slow to take place, and farmers still receive little recognition and support from local authorities.

CIUDADANIA = Citizenship

Ciudadanía is a Bolivian NGO founded in 2004 and operates mainly in the Cochabamba region.

Its mission is to promote democracy through citizen participation and to ensure respect for human rights. It aims to improve the quality of life of Bolivians, especially those suffering from exclusion.

To do this, the NGO encourages different public and private actors to work together on economic and social issues. It accompanies them in these processes of synergy by bringing together civil society organisations, private companies and public institutions at local and regional level.

Ciudadanía is mainly active at two levels:

  • Capacity building: support for activities aimed at strengthening citizens’ capacities and promoting their rights among public actors; advocacy actions
  • Research: research and analysis to enable an understanding of and a dialogue on democracy, the exercise of citizenship, the recognition of the most vulnerable groups and the reduction of inequalities in Bolivia


The partnership between Ciudadanía and SOS Faim started in 2005.

SOS Faim mobilises Ciudadanía's expertise as a support NGO to carry out territorial development actions in favour of small producers in the Cochabamba region.

Ciudadanía encourages public institutions to recognise and support producer associations at the local level. It selects business plans proposed by producer organisations and provides technical, financial and organisational support. This selection is done in a participative way and involves the municipalities as well as the producer organisations.

Encouraging results

Over the last years, Ciudadanía has set up participative mechanisms between private and puvlic institutions in several rural municipalities of Cochabamba, in order to improve the recognition of small producers by decentralised public authorities. These mechanisms have led to the implementation of more than fifty agricultural projects co-financed by the municipalities.

The producers, which are grouped into associations, have thus benefited from infrastructures and equipment to carry out their activities, such as micro-irrigation systems, milk storage tanks, nurseries, rabbit breeding infrastructures, fish farming ponds, etc. The vast majority of these producers are women.

The projects enable producers to increase their income and to improve food security in the area through better access to local and regional markets.

What prospects ?

Ciudadanía’s territorial development approach has recently incorporated the notion of the “care economy”, i.e. the valorisation and visibility of unpaid work, mostly done by women. Support for agricultural projects will thus include other types of activities such as nurseries, canteens, day-care centres, etc.

More info on CIUDADANIA

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