Edulia Vaquera and Gregorio Galarza laugh as they show some of the harvest from their garden in the Guarani indigenous village of Kapiguasuti, Bolivia. They and their neighbors started the gardens with assistance from CWS. Photo: Paul Jeffrey / CWS

The South American Gran Chaco, a vast, semi-arid and sparsely populated region twice the size of California, is home to some 25 different indigenous groups. Most families in the Chaco live in extreme poverty, lack access to land and water, suffer discrimination and are denied dignity and an ability to meet basic needs. For more than a decade, our team has supported local efforts to expand indigenous people’s access to ancestral lands, water, food security and justice through community organizing, advocacy, agricultural training and skill building.

In the last year, CWS has been part of the establishment of a state-civil society roundtable to promote water solutions in the Chaco region of Salta province, Argentina, where up to half of children are malnourished. In Paraguay and Bolivia, we have helped 100 families establish organic kitchen gardens for consumption and income. Additionally, 150 indigenous women participated in training and exchange opportunities that they used to create development and advocacy plans focusing on water and healthcare. Members of 15 communities learned new ways to use geographic information systems and participatory mapping techniques for community planning, resource management, more effective advocacy and conflict prevention and resolution.

At any time, about


are participating in CWS-supported programs.