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Bolivia – Health and community treatment: Italian Cooperation sets an example in Bolivia

An international workshop was held in La Paz, Bolivia, on taking charge of vulnerable populations with problems of pathological dependencies through harm reduction approaches. The event was organised by the Bolivian Ministry of Justice and by the Munasim Kullakita NGO, in partnership with Italian Cooperation, the Italian Episcopal Conference, Vuela Libre, ECPAT, Educo, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The two-day workshop focused on themes that are very sensitive in the region, giving an overview of the different methodologies used at international level (especially in Latin America) in terms of harm reduction practices for drug addicts, the victims of human trafficking, sexually abused minors and homeless people, among others. The Italian Cooperation service made a significant contribution with presentations by Roberto Merlo and Vincenzo Castelli, two experts who made an in-depth overview and analysis of the work carried out in communities and through social networks, urban safety, and urban development models. The knowledge and experience acquired, resulting from the actions put in place in Italy during the last decades, were compared with the principal intervention and management models used in Latin America and which the Italian experts have surveyed for years. The participation of the Italian speakers, who have a 30-year-long experience in social intervention strategies for drug dependencies follows the contribution made at the meeting on community treatments of last 17 and 18 November: an event promoted by the Municipality of La Paz, which developed a theoretical reflection on the role and contribution of local communities in reducing social malaise by exploring community treatment intervention models put in place in Italy and in Latin America (Banco del Tempo, Clinica Comunitaria, Impresa di Strada).