DECOOPSO

Background:

DECOOPSO was created in 2004 with the support of SHIA y RSMH ROSLAGEN (Sweden), and is based on existing and successful models of social cooperatives. The idea behind the work cooperatives is to integrate people with disabilities and other minority groups into the labor market, allowing them to become active members of society. Over the past 8 years, DECOOPSO has grown and with the help of other Bolivian cooperatives, they have managed to integrate cooperativism to the Bolivian Constitution, allowing them to gain legal status. In 2015, the cooperatives will cease to receive funding, and are now focusing on becoming financially independent.

Objective:

To set up social work cooperatives as a tool to aid people with disabilities and other marginalized populations to integrate into the labor market and, in doing so, break stigmas and promote human dignity. DECOOPSO strives to promote social cooperatives as a vehicle for social change, creating a democratic environment where people can work towards personal and collective goals, finding self-worth and becoming integrated members of society.

How can I help DECOOPSO?

Volunteers that parnter with DECOOPSO will work in the headquarters helping create new cooperatives and working with exisiting cooperatives in the areas of micro finance, promotion, and legal issues. Volunteers with specific abilities will have the opportunity to work directly with the cooperatives, either helping in a hands-on capacity with workshops and offering physical and psychological support.

DECOOPSO’s Programs

DECOOPSO currently works with various cooperatives in different areas:

  • CST RAISOL: catering and food preparation
  • CoopArt: makes ceramic mosaic crafts and custom made medical equipment
  • CST PARASOL: soy products
  • CST ÑUSTAS: weavings and cotton clothing
  • CST ARANI: Alpaca weavings
  • CST VILLA RIVERO: Alpaca weavings
  • CST MISKI MAKI: Bakery

DECOOPSO also works with cooperatives outside Cochabamba including one in Tarija and Beni that create crafts out of wood, ceramics, and Amazonian seeds.

Volunteer/Internship Requirements:

  • Intermediate to advanced Spanish
  • Interest in helpng minorities and people with disabilities
  • Experience or interest in working with in micro-finance, fair-trade, psychology or any hands on skill related to the cooperatives
  • Willingness to work in a team
  • Willingness to travel to rural towns
  • Minimum commitment: one month