Members of AMPACH (Association of Women Producers Canton Huacullani Aymara) are proud to produce and delivered bread to the school feeding programme of Tiwanaku. (Copyright: WFP/Ximena Loza)
The European Union funding to promote sustainable school feeding programmes concluded last year, but the actions undertaken by WFP with their support are bearing fruit in Bolivia. Meet Francisca Mamani and her partners who learned the art of microenterprise. A bakery is the letter of these entrepreneurs.
Breads with High Nutritional Value
These women harvest wheat, barley, quinoa and other Andean cereals in the town of Tiwanaku on the shores of Lake Titicaca. With technical support and equipment from WFP and the valuable cooperation of the NGO Association CUNA, 25 women of the AMPACH (Association of Women Producers from Huacullani Aymara Canton) are managing a bakery that provides bread and biscuits to the school feeding programme managed by the municipality of Tiwanaku. Every day, these women who are organized in shifts, produce almost 3,500 breads containing different types of flour: barley, beans, amaranth and quinoa. The mixture of these flours with the addition of wheat flour that typically makes the bread product have an improved nutritional value.
Adding Support for Women: From Producers to Micro Entrepreneurs
Francisca Mamani, AMPACH partner and mother of six children, is aware of the capabilities of the women in the Huacullani community as food producers: "We are proudest as micro entrepreneurs, because not only do we sow and harvest, but now we process food." She says that the idea to organize an association and install the bakery grew out of a leadership course for women taught in the community. "We thought that women also have to make money, not only men, because one income is not enough and the children ask us and demand things from mom, not dad, and with no money in our pockets, we cannot respond." These women sought the support of WFP and CUNA Association, who after studying the proposal, decided to support the venture. Meanwhile, the city of Tiwanaku, led by Mayor Marcelino Copaña, decided to support the productive enterprises of the town, among them the AMPACH, to promote food sovereignty, and the consumption of processed foods from what is made in their own land.
"Never Before Have I Bought with My Own Money"
Francisca admits it was not easy to establish a food processing plant because it involved a lot of work and procedures. But she considers the effort was worthwhile because they have already begun to earn their own money and invest in their children and themselves. "I've never bought clothes and school supplies for my children with my own money ... now I can and I can even buy things for me with the money I earn here."