My name is Casey Andersen, and I am a junior at Bates College, majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Global Environment and Social Change. This semester I am studying in Bolivia with SIT Study Abroad, a program which focuses on multiculturalism, globalization, and social change, and which requires students to conduct a month-long independent study project. I plan to research the current effects of climate change upon water supplies within Bolivian communities and compile my results in the form of a children’s book.
Water is the most essential element of life. The World Bank has declared that more than forty percent of the world’s population currently faces water shortages . This is particularly relevant in Bolivia, where even the national constitution contains a clause stating that potable water is a basic human right. Bolivia faces many threats to its water supply. In 1980, the 18,000 year-old glacier Chacaltaya was the highest ski resort in the world. Today, only 30 years later, the glacier no longer exists and its water reservoir, crucial to the cities and indigenous communities in the Andes, is at serious risk.
During the Water War of 2000, the citizens of Cochabamba succeeded in expelling a transnational corporation that had privatized Cochabamba’s water supply and increased water prices by over 50%, rendering water unaffordable to the majority of the population. Today, apart from having to worry about affording water on a daily basis, Bolivians struggle with the reality that their children and grandchildren may not have access to potable water at all . It is my generation and generations to come who will face the consequences of this crisis.
I hope to raise awareness about water resource issues among American and Bolivian youth so that they will feel empowered to mitigate the effects of climate change and help ensure that everyone has access to potable water in the future. For this reason, I plan to present my research in the form of a bilingual children’s book as a part of Kids’ Books Bolivia, a project which transforms student research into educational books celebrating Bolivian reality. Most children’s books in Bolivia are imported, culturally irrelevant, expensive, and inaccessible to the general population. This project works closely with local organizations, including one of the country’s only children’s libraries, to raise local and international awareness about Bolivia’s rich cultures and pressing social issues.
The publication of my book will cost approximately $800-900. I would appreciate any donations that will enable me to achieve my goal of educating children about Bolivia and the world’s water crisis.
For more information and to see other children’s books written by previous SIT Bolivia students, please feel free to visit the Kids’ Books website at http://www.kidsbooksbolivia.org.
 World Bank Institute. Water Policy Reform Program - November 1999
 Shultz, Jim. 28 September 2010, SIT Study Abroad classroom.