graduates with certificates bolivia
Graduates with Their Certificates


In-Country Partner

The Bolivian organizing team is made up of Unitarians and liberal religious women from La Paz and surroundings. Project leader Calixta Choque attended IWC’s Gathering in Bolivia in 2015.

Leadership Development

A pilot leadership training program in Bolivia – identified as a key need at the 2015 Gathering – was implemented in 2019 thanks to the generous support of people who contributed on Faithify. The campaign raised approximately $2,500 to support marginalized Bolivian women in becoming a powerful force for change in their families and communities by building income-generating and leadership skills as well as developing capacities for long-term success in District 7 of Viacha (near La Paz, the Bolivian capital).

A second crowd funding Faithify campaign in 2019 raised a bit over $5,000 to continue the leadership development program in Bolivia. In February 2020, program participants started attending practical courses in cooking and developing healthy food habits, hairdressing, sewing and making eco products. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to the program.

The program resumed in October 2021, following a hiatus of 18 months brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

group photo bolivia

Workshops in baking/preparing healthy foods, hairdressing, and sewing were implemented over a three-month period, offering opportunities for participants, part of the informal economy, to decrease their level of vulnerability and discrimination and increase their ability to be financially independent. In December 2021, the practical workshops were complemented with a series of online training sessions on leadership skills, female leadership and climate change, entrepreneurship, prevention of violence against women and girls, and environmental education. Please see a report here.

The program concluded on December 20, 2021 with the presentation of certificates of completion to the 49 graduates and an exhibition of the results of the training. Exhibits included “pollera” (traditional long pleated) skirts, panettone and other pastries, breads, and a fashion show displaying various men’s and women’s hairstyles.

baking workshop exhibition with text
sewing workshop exhibition


bolivian woman
During the training, the participants established a neighborhood organization of women, realizing that a union would make them stronger: a sorority environment is the way to support each other and face hardships together. Virginia Gutierrez Alarcon, participant in the program, said “The practical course in baking and developing healthy food habits has offered support for the good nutrition of our children. It has also helped us to be united and to value ourselves as women.”

The participants will have the ability to better manage their finances, be confident of their rights and skills, and have a marketable skill. These results will decrease their level of vulnerability and discrimination and increase their ability to be financially independent. As one of the local team members put it, "IWC can be very proud to have driven the empowerment of 49 women and their families."