How Shell works with the local community in Bolivia
Shell aims to invest in communities that its operations are close to. We want to ensure that communities can share the benefits of our presence. Find out how we are working with people living in Tarija in southern Bolivia, as part of a project to explore for gas.
Generating a buzz
Ivan (pictured right) is excited about starting a new job as a beekeeper. “I have always been interested in keeping bees. But I never had the means to start," he says. “I hope to start producing and selling honey within the next few months.”
Ivan is among 52 families that Shell is working with as part of a project to explore for gas in Tarija in southern Bolivia. One way Shell supports the community is through agricultural training programmes, including beekeeping. This offers an alternate source of income to farming.
“I have learnt that it is important to keep the hives in the shade and to have a permanent supply of water for the bees,” Ivan says.
Part of Shell’s investment in the Tarija region goes towards supporting families in the area. This can take the form of training programmes or employment schemes.
Danile (pictured far left) is one of Shell’s community liaison officers. His role is a link between Shell and the local community. He ensures community priorities such as creating jobs are heard.
Roving pumas threaten livestock in this region of Southern Bolivia. Local farmers say that lack of water is also a constant concern.
Shell provides help with irrigation systems, fertiliser and fencing to help alleviate these problems.
José, a farmer, is pleased by the security that his new water tank provides. “Life is much easier for us all now,” he says. “Before I was always scared my crops would fail.”
Back to school
Employment schemes can open new opportunities for people in the area. With funding from Shell, Diego Pedraza (pictured right) was able to study well control, gaining important technical skills.
“I tell everyone I am one of the luckiest people in Bolivia,” says Pedraza. “I have been able to work with amazing people from Bolivia, as well as the best people that Shell has to offer globally.”
Pedraza now works with Shell as a well site drilling engineer and hopes to complete further engineering courses.
“It is very hard to find jobs in our community and this project is generating many jobs,” says Virginia Villarubia (pictured right), a community leader.
Shell employs more than 400 people on the site, with 70% of them recruited locally.
One of these people is Pablito Barrientos, a local driver. “This job has changed my life,” says Barrientos. “I am from the area, and I have seen the benefit to the community.”
“It is a big project and a big challenge, both for the company and for me personally,” says Dr Ciro Aramayo, a geologist working on the project. "I think this project and others like it are very important for the region and could be very positive economically.”
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