Manq’a means “food” in the Aymara language. We are an institution that provides a model of gastronomic training that generates better life opportunities for young people in a situation of vulnerability in Bolivia and victims of the armed conflict in Colombia. It is also a tool to promote sustainable agriculture at a fair price that is developed by small rural producers and a means to raise awareness among the population about the importance of healthy food, anchored in cultural identity and traditions. It is a program of ICCO Cooperation and Melting Pot.
Our Manq’a Schools
The first intervention in Latin America was held in the city of El Alto, Bolivia: an area of scarce resources, poor nutrition and mainly inhabited by young people with few job opportunities and migrants.
The first replica of the model outside Bolivia was carried out in Colombia. Concretely in the peri-urban areas of Bogota first and Cali afterwards. Both schools are located in similar contexts: high proportion of young people, presence of criminal networks, consumption of drugs and alcohol, housing precariousness, informal trade and rural migration, but with a particularity; these are young people who are leaving the guerrillas to be incorporated into society or from families displaced from their homes by armed conflict.
Models of Manq’a
We are looking for gastronomic training not to be an end in itself, but a means to allow us to have a greater impact on the lives of small rural producers, the end consumers, the vulnerable young people and their families.
Manq’a offers a gastronomic training recognized and endorsed by the local educational authorities. Teaching in schools is extremely practical and lasts for five and a half months. It is not limited to the technical aspect of cooking and managing local food, but it develops skills in young people for customer care and management of a business of its own, developing respect and knowledge of agricultural products and the diversity and dignity of rural areas.
Manq’a supports young people with the development of leadership skills, self-esteem, communication, organization, teamwork, punctuality, critical thinking, sociability, creativity and innovation.
The design of our work model was made with the idea that young people should obtain employment by completing their studies. Therefore, Manq’a implements an approved model of access to employment that builds sustainable linkages between the labor market and our schools. Thanks to a training based on in-depth studies of the needs of the labour market, young people acquire relevant and high quality skills, while employers get the qualified staff they need.
This model of labour insertion provides for two processes. In the first, the trained young people, according to their strengths and interests, carry out LABOR PRACTICES. They enter a company under the heading, for a period of 2 to 3 months. Thanks to these, they can strengthen their knowledge and gain valuable experience. In the second process, Manq’a performs a ARTICULATION OF LABOR, in which the selected young people are employed in allied companies in favorable conditions.
In order to materialize these processes, we have a NETWORK OF FRIENDS ‘A, a network of companies related to our objectives and principles and, who seek to contribute from their experience to the MANQ’ A model, providing better job opportunities for young graduates from schools.
There are young people who do not wish to be employed, but start a personal entrepreneurship; they also receive support under a different scheme. It is a proven and validated model of intervention in youth entrepreneurship that includes advising on the design of the business plan, seed capital, accompaniment in the implementation of the business and entrepreneurial mentorship.
Finally, the entrepreneur’s relationship with a mentor who guides the young entrepreneur in the business world is facilitated. In order to strengthen its model of entrepreneurship, Manq Atena is part of Youth Business International (YBI), a global network of organizations that support young people to start, strengthen and grow their own businesses and create jobs. In total, the Network has more than 80 restaurants and food companies providing job opportunities.
Starting from scratch and without support is not easy! To ensure the sustainability of their businesses, young entrepreneurs Manq’a are related to a Mentoria program. The Mentoria is a methodological process that involves experienced local entrepreneurs as allies in strengthening and supporting young entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur transmits his experience to the entrepreneur in monthly meetings for a year. Manq’a currently has 45 mentors who support young entrepreneurs in the cities of La Paz, El Alto and Sucre. Our Mentoring Model is supported by YEP (Youth Entrepreneurship Program), the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Youth Business International (YBI).