Bolivia trip

Recently, Alma hosted a trip to Bolivia with 30 educational specialists from the Cusco region of Perú. The goal of the trip was for Peruvian specialists and their Bolivian counterparts to share experiences working in an Alma project in two very different realities: the Peruvian Andes and the Bolivian Amazon.

Through this exchange of experiences, we hoped that both sides could learn from the differences in each project, but also see that the underlying methodology is the same, despite the geographical and cultural differences. However, it is not easy to get a group of over 30 people from Cusco to the small jungle city of Trinidad in Beni, Bolivia. After a 17-hour bus ride from Cusco, we arrived in La Paz and spent the night before flying to Trinidad the following day.

The next morning the Peruvian specialists met the Bolivian delegation, which included the Heads of Education from both the Santa Anna and Guayeramerin districts, students from the local university, and both the current and prior Directors of the university. I expected to hear positive feedback, knowing how the projects worked out last year, but was honored to see and hear the true buy-in from local authorities in their own words and from their own personal perspective. Both the Peruvians and Bolivians who presented shared stories of high demand and strong impact. All asked to continue their projects, noting that Alma is the only partner to focus on high-quality lesson plan development and instruction. As I sat and listened to the speakers, I only wished that our supporters and Canada could hear how much support Alma enjoys not only from teachers in their classrooms and parents in the communities, but also from the authorities creating policy and signing off on projects.

Now, back in Perú, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with conference participants from both countries. One theme that I hear over and over, is how the conference provided a larger perspective on what Alma is and how our methodology can be adapted to any cultural reality. Hearing how the projects differed between Bolivia and Perú helped each side consider changes that could be made to their project and recognize strengths that their projects already possess.

Though the logistics were complicated, it may be worth repeating a conference such as this in the future. We definitely have enough demand from the participants!


Ian McGroarty
Executive Director
Alma Children’s Education Foundation