Issue - August 2008

August 2008

In this month’s issue Barbara Walter interviews El Alcolero; Hanna Redknap tells us about the next Pan-American Robert Moot for scouts in Bolivia; Perry King has news from Casa de la Alegría; and Walter Sánchez presents a unique article from the Archaeological more...

August 2008

First Panamerican Robert Moot

Hanna Redknap
Projects Abroad volunteer
Ripley - United Kingdon

The Scout Movement is a worldwide youth movement for girls and boys. Most organisations are governed by the World Organisation of the Scouting Movement (WOSM), a non-governmental organisation of which Bolivia became a member in 1950, although Scouts had existed in the country since 1911. The WOSM´s mission is to contribute to the education of young people, and support them in their physical, mental and spiritual development. By upholding a value system based on the Scout Promise and Scout Law, this organisation helps build a better world where people are self fulfilled as individuals and able to play a constructive role in society. There are a number of different divisions for all different ages from 7 to 21.

Scouts usually take part in outdoor activities, such as camping, but they also participate in more community based activities. For example, at the moment in Bolivia the scouts are working with Unicef, who are giving out free medication for people that suffer from diarrhea. The Scouts help to promote the use of this treatment and make sure people around the country are aware that they can gain access to it if needed.

In Bolivia today there are over 7000 Scouts, and from 27th December to 4th January 2009, Bolivia will be the proud hosts of the first Robert Moot Panamerican, inviting Scouts from the rest of South America and also North America to come to Cochabamba to take part in a range of exciting activities. The Moots educational proposal has been chosen within the framework of: “The world we wish to create,” in line with the United Nations Millennium Declaration, the Millennium Development Goals and the WOSM Scout of the World Award.

“The world we wish to create” will require the young people to engage in action, that is why the events motto will be “AMERICA IN ACTION.” The events brochure reads: “We aim at making this event an effective opportunity to inform, make people aware and to engage young people in concrete action and projects to help create a better world.”

The Cocha-banner met with the Bolivian Director of Scouts, German Rocha, to find out more about what a moot actually is, and the sort of activities that are being organized in Bolivia for the scouts who are attending.

What is a Moot?

A moot is a collection of young people aged between 15 and 23. One of the main objectives of a moot is to make contacts with different cultures and different ways of life. The main difference between a moot and a jamboree is the age; a jamboree is for younger people. A moot is an invitation for young people to become part of the action plan inside their countries. For this moot the scouts will be in contact with people and groups in Cochabamba, so they can learn more about Bolivian culture and the needs of the people.

What sort of projects do scouts usually take part in to learn about culture?

We have many games that teach scouts about different cultures. For example, one of our most successful activities is the “Restaurant of the World.” We organise a dinner and we prepare different tables based on the diet of people in different continents. For example a European table has different kinds of meat and fruit, whilst a table in Africa has more beans, cereals, and water. When the scouts eat you can see their reactions as they see the difference between some having pizza and ice cream and others having next to nothing. After dinner there is a time to share and sometimes there are protests about the meals being so different. Then we speak to them about the differences all over the world, the lack of opportunities, the lack of work, and the amount of food that is wasted in some places across the world. This exercise is to make them conscious about the chances and opportunities that they have in life, and most of the children’s points of view change drastically.

Why is the next Panamerican Moot in Bolivia?

There have always been moots in Europe, North America and Canada but this is the first time it has happened in Latin America. Bolivia proposed to be the second country it tookplace in as Costa Rica was supposed to be the first. Cost Rica gets a budget of US$1m for scouts and in Bolivia they have a budget of US$22,000. However, in Costa Rica they decided they did not have enough economic and human support to run the moot so the first one is in Bolivia on a much smaller budget, we want to show all the different activities scouts can take part in, even on this small budget. There are often scout conferences in Latin America, but they are held in 5 star hotels. Those attending talk about children’s needs and poverty in an environment that is not related to these issues. This year, we have decided to build our own space for the event.

We are building a place in a town called Arani in the high valley. After the moot is over, this will become a place to support and house about 12000 people. We are building it with the idea that in the future it will be self sufficient, so we are also cultivating a plant called Tara there. This plant has many uses and we want to share these with the community so that theycan cultivate this plant themselves and make use ofits resources. Tara is an endangered species and for this reason its cultivation is of great importance. Also traditional knowledge of its cultivation is in danger of becoming lost, and in a few yearsenvironmental laws will be stricter, so it is important to startcultivating the plant now. A large problem in this area is that over 70% of children do not have their parents living withthem because they have moved to places such as Spain andArgentina to work. These young people live with other family members who often do not have any control. Problems with alcohol and excess of freedom are very difficult and they will become more difficult, which is why we have chosen to work in this area. When we have finished working here the children will have a place to take part in organised activities.

What activities are taking place at the Moot?

The scouts will be put into different groups, each made up of a range of nationalities. These groups will take part in a wide range of activities together including sharing foods, dances and ideas from their respective cultures. One of the most important projects these groups will undertake together is a four day expedition along one of four chosen routes. The scouts can journey through Incan villages, to caves in Potosi, to the highlands in Tunari, or through the jungle. The idea with these expeditions is that the scouts will get the chance to appreciate the places they visit but also learn more about local communities.

Scouts will also get involved directly by taking part in a community service activity, helping to paint a school or serving another part of the community. Other activities include `Bolivia night´ where scouts will learn about Bolivian culture, and Global Village, an exposition of big community projects in order to gain sponsorship.

What countries are taking part?

Many countries, including the US, Canada, and some from the Carribean. Not many are coming from Europe as it is a very expensive time to come to South America . What are the mainthings that you hope the Scouts will learn from the moot?

One of the main things that they will learn is that the world is huge and there are a multitude of different cultures, ways of living and thinking. They can make friends from all over the world. Bolivians do not have the chance to travel a lot, so this gives us the chance to bring the world here and opens small windows for us to observe international cultures.

If people want to take part how can they contact you?

The moot is primarily for members of the world scouts organization, but if youngpeople want to be involved they should apply according to the organisation they belong to, or the activity they want to be involved in.

Casa de la AlegrĂ­a

If many were to describe Casa de la AlegrĂ­a, an all-girl orphanage located in the town of Quillacollo, they may see a lot of negativity. However for others, this is a place of immense potential full of great efforts to create opportunity...

read more ...

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