Trained Indigenous Reporter Runs for Senate in Bolivia
Nelida Smith was born in the community of Cueto Tarabuquillo Tomina municipality (in Chuquisaca) on July 18, 1981. She is unmarried. Since 2003, Nelida has held different leadership responsibilities: Secretary General of the community of Pampas Down, of the Sub Tarabuquillo (2003), and of the Province Tomina (2004); as County Executive (2005-2006); and as Secretary General of the Federation of Farmers of Chuquisaca (2008-2010).
She also was a People’s Reporter for Radio ACLO (2001-2006) and a promoter of land rights and official of the Prefecture of Chuquisaca from 2006 to 2008. Nelida trained as a People’s Reporter in 2001 and joined Radio ACLO from 2003-2005, during which time she completed the leadership training process.
After strengthening her leadership skills, Nelida not only attended national events of peasant organizations, she also participated in international events: Meeting of Leaders and Reporters in Cochabamba (CIPCA, 2004); Women’s International Forum on “Leadership and Human Rights” (Peru, 2005); Latin American Meeting of Women Leaders (Venezuela, 2006); Social Organization Meeting of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia on the TLC (Peru, 2008); and Latin American Women’s Forum (Santa Cruz, 2008).
Nelida Smith is also a candidate for the Senate in the forthcoming December 2009 general election.
She says: “I feel more prepared and desirous of progressing further in response to the demands of peasant organizations and to contribute more to managing organizations. With more knowledge, I can share my training with grassroots organizations and the authorities.
“In the leadership training courses, I learned to share my knowledge with others and learned a lot from them too. The topics covered were very interesting; they included leadership issues, history of native peoples, municipal management, preparation of project profiles and more. The trainings helped me to develop greater knowledge that I could use to strengthen my organization.
“The leadership training has encouraged me to continue to train others, to gain experience as a leader and to continue to help organizations and my constituents. I am very glad to have shared with organizations all I’ve learned.
“My family is proud of me and, because I have assumed important positions in peasant organizations. My parents and brothers encouraged and motivated me to continue in my challenges.
“[After the training] I participated more in my organization and strived to make things more honest and transparent, which instilled greater confidence in my organization.
“In political matters, I could not contribute anything before, but now I feel able to contribute from my experience. I can take more informed positions in public spaces and have a responsibility and commitment to serve others.
“Recently, I decided to run as a candidate for Senator in Chuquisaca in the general election in December 2009. I hope to achieve my goal!”
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November 15, 2009