EUAV Initiative: discovering daily activities of the volunteers working at the “Qnas Soñi (hombres del agua)” project (Chipaya, Oruro Dept.) – GVC / Cebem

By Michele Pasquale

This photo-reportage/storytelling was created by Michele Pasquale (EUAV/GVC Bolivia’s Communication Officer: text, photos, design) and Alice Ticli (EUAV/GVC Bolivia’s Project Manager: in-depth information boxes) within the framework of GVC/Cebem’s “Qnas Soñi (hombres del agua/water’s men)” Project in Chipaya (Oruro Dept., Bolivia), Feb.- Aug. 2017. The main aim was to document with text and images the daily activities of an EUAidVolunteer deployed in the field. Stay tuned for the next episodes!

“A Day in The Life: Show Me Your ID, Please” is the first episode of future intern photo-reportages and stories having the specific intention to tell the everyday life of an EUAidVolunteer deployed in the field. In this case, with GVC Italy in La Paz, Bolivia, collaborating with the local GVC office and Cebem (Centro Boliviano de Estudios Multidisciplinarios) within the framework of the “Qnas Soñi (hombres del agua/water’s men)” project. Today’s foretaste: the activities in the field of the EUAV/GVC Bolivia’s Communication Officer, Michele Pasquale. Let us start and…enjoy your vision!

The EUAidVolunteers Alice Ticli and Michele Pasquale welcomed by GVC Bolivia’s Country Representative Alberto Schiappapietra (left, bottom) during a meeting with Chipaya’s community. First week of deployment, GVC Bolivia’s HQ, La Paz. Read the dedicated article here: [Spanish language]

On the left: taking a photo with the Alcalde (Mayor of Chipaya’s municipality) — Right-side: at the end of a long, harsh, cold morning photo and video reportage collecting GPS positions for the next tourist tour in the village of Chipaya. In collaboration with our kind colleague Clemente (the unconventional ‘Easy Rider’), within the framework of GVC/Cebem’s “Qnas Soñi (hombres del agua/water’s men)” project. Watch this storytelling here: []


I am Michele Pasquale, GVC Bolivia’s Communication Officer, within the framework of the EUAidVolunteers (EUAV) Initiative. Since February, 2017, I am actively contributing to the GVC/Cebem’s community tourism development project – part of the resilience strategy plan – titled “Qnas Soñi (hombres del agua/water’s men): Chipaya, entre tradición y tecnología, hacia un municipio resiliente” – with the native indigenous population Chipaya.



I am enthusiast about ethno-photography, fieldwork research (comparative approach, qualitative research, digital methods), social media management (social networks, blogs, reports), English and Italian teaching, real cinema and documentaries. After my graduation in “Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology” (MA), I participated in several international development projects working for the communications of different NGOs and Universities. I improved my journalistic and investigative skills in the U.S., Rwanda, Brazil, Guinea Conakry, Senegal, Indonesia, Colombia, Mongolia, Montenegro and Western Balkans’ countries and, finally, Bolivia. Always creating photo-reportages, storytellings and reports from the field. If interested, you can visit the following links: [CV] [portfolio, 1] [portfolio, 2]

Instagram account: @ ntwari_mickey



I am actually working on the creation of a wide visual archive of the most interesting, fascinating, historically important places selected within the four Chipayas’ Ayllus (districts) for GVC Italy-Bolivia (Gruppo di Volontariato Civile) / Cebem (Centro Boliviano de Estudios Multidisciplinarios).

Several locations, different stories, a great photographic challenge: an occasion to investigate the renovated relationships with other Bolivian cultures, the forthcoming international tourism in this area, linked to the daily use and influence of the web and, especially, social networks. Documenting Chipayas’ ancient customs and present contradictions facing important, contemporary transformations in different ways: exploring recommended cultural native heritage sites with photos, personal feelings and impressions, field notes and life stories; taking interviews and gathering life stories; following the official meetings and focus group with the community.

Methodology: mission in the field, including: focus group with Chipaya’s population, meeting with the authorities, photo-reportage (photos and text), storytelling (text, interviews, photos, videos).

All the materials I am producing for the EUAV project are available online: []

Taking a photo with Sebastiana Kespi, legendary main character of the movie “Vuelve, Sebastiana!” (1953, Jorge Ruiz Calvimonte), after a short interview about her everyday life in the village of Chipaya. Few days later our conversation, Sebastiana will be honored with the National Cultural Prize “Premio Gestión Cultural Gunnar Mendoza”.

Talking with the Secondary School’s students during a monitoring action in Chipaya.

GVC/Cebem’s staff meeting with the local authorities of Chipaya.

Team supervision on plague attack: sharing first impressions and ideas.


December 2014: the “Qnas Soñi (hombres del agua/water’s men)” project is financed by the European Union. The main executors are GVC Bolivia (Gruppo di Volontariato Civile) / Cebem (Centro Boliviano de Estudios Multidisciplinarios).

Team monitoring: restoration and refurbishment list for our next Qnas Soñi / Hombres del Agua (“Water Men”) Project’s office @ Chipaya, Oruro Dept., Bolivia, South America



The village of Chipaya is located 200 kms away from Oruro (south-east of Oruro Dept.), Bolivia, in the midst of the Andean Region. From a political and administrative point of view, Chipaya’s divided into for ayllus (districts): Aransaya, Ayparavi, Manasaya and Wistrullani. The population’s around 2000 people.

Plaza Central, Pueblo Chipaya (watha) – Central Square, village of Chipaya

GPS Position:

LAT: -19.02525

LON: -68.05346

ALT: 3634 m

Find out Chipaya’s heritage sites here: []

Discussing with Chipaya’s authority about the future community tourism development project.



The general objective of the “Qnas Soñi (hombres del agua/water’s men)” project and its activities is to develop and improve the general life conditions of the Uru Chipaya population, to diversify and strengthen their livelihoods creating a relative higher quality of life. In particular, at the end of the project : Chipaya’s municipality will be able to deal with natural disasters, especially the seasonal water-floods of River Lauca, recovering and strengthening their ancestral knowledge and strategies thanks to the introduction of new technologies; the Municipality will manage a plan to donate resources in order to prepare and protect agriculture (especially production of quinoa, cañahua and potatoes), also introducing new plantations, techniques, investments to produce useful profit for the community; Chipayas will develop a quality community tourist service, internationally promoting its own culture, places, traditions, history; by means of several professional training courses, Chipaya’s community will improve its knowledge on tourism and TICs developing the communications and sharing news, report, initiatives on the official webpage through the “Comunidades de Practicas”- Community of practices.


Reflecting about Chipayas’ culture with the new generations: between past and future.


BENEFICIARIES (in-depth box)

Direct beneficiaries: Chipaya’s community (from the 4 ayllus – district) , Indigenous Government of Chipaya, the native community’s representatives, young Chipayas and women.

Indirect beneficiaries: the Department of Oruro and the Government of Bolivia (creation of an international tourist tour within the Chipaya community).


GVC/Cebem team in front of Chipaya’s History and Culture Museum.


ACTIVITIES [in-depth box]

Several are the project activities implemented with the purpose to reach the outcomes. The tourist promotion and management project is made-up of:

– Specific trainings in gastronomy, guidance and hostel administration, addressed to several participants elected by their own ayllu (district). You can watch a dedicated team reportage here: [];

– Awareness raising courses on tourism, directed to all the community;

– Improvement of community hostel condition, built by the Municipality years ago;

– Creation of touristic routes and activities for tourists. Find out the photo-reportage here: [];

– Selection and mapping of Chipaya’s attractions, related not only to the natural spots but above all Chipayas daily life, culture, traditions and productions;

– Reporting of production activities like harvest of quinoa and sowing of the greenhouses; building of defenses and craftsmanship (weaving, spinning…).

Maria Lujan, project coordinator, with Don Pedro Chino, tourist guide and one of the Chipaya’s authorities involved in the development of the community tourism project.

Meeting with the local authorities in the Ayllu (district) of Ayparavi.



Our team of work is composed by a mixed GVC Bolivia / Cebem’s staff, participating to regular missions in the field to monitor several project’s activities.


Production Area – Agronomist: Eliezer Franco

Tourism Area: Rubí Oliver

Webpage and TICs: Manuel F.Rebollo

EUAV Volunteers:

– Communications: Michele Pasquale

– Project Management: Alice Ticli

Project Coordinator: Maria Lujan

GVC Bolivia’s Country Representative: Alberto Schiappapietra

Monitoring action in the village of Chipaya.


Stay tuned for the next episodes of “A Day In the Life” of an EUAidVolunteer!

For more information:

This article will be published on the official project website

Photo Credits: Alice Ticli / Maria Lujan / Eliezer Franco / Michele Pasquale (watermarked)

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