Tekove, going back to nature

Rescue the traditional knowledge of forest communities for palm leaf dishes production.

Photo of Claudia Alcázar
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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Claudia Ximena Alcázar Antezana

Initiative's representative date of birth

September 22nd 1978

Initiative's representative gender

  • Woman

Headquarters location: country

  • Bolivia

Headquarters location: city

La Paz

Where are you making a difference?

Bolivia, Santa Cruz

Website or social media url(s)

Twiter: @claux_alcazar Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tekove.bo/ e-mail: claux_alcazar@hotmail.com

Date Started


Project Stage

  • Start-up (first few activities have happened)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €50k - €100k

Organization Type

  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

At early's of 2019, when we arrived to Motacucito community, the community's representatives shown us beautiful textured and colored leaf palms used to support meal for luch, with strong, large and thickness enought to hold food easily. In that moment, we tought that it would be a successful project to get benefits from the forest.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

In Bolivia, every day we use 300 tn. of plastic dishes, wich ones are discarded. Biside that, while plastic is in touch with our food it is contaminated, and biocumulated in our organism. Also, we must bear in mind that the plastic degrades between 100 and 1000 de years. So, it’s time to make changes and take care of our health, forest and also our planet, helping our indigenuos communities in order to improve their quality of life.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Actually, we are working with indigenus communities, represented by family liders’s women under a management plan of sustaintable natural resourses, ensuring leaf’s collect without deforesting and insuring the raw’s material provision. We are planing to locate work stations in selected communities and hiring women workers to make leaf palm dishes in order to sale the production to restaurants, markets and others final costumers. The dishes’s sales will allow to generate envionmental, social and economics benefits to all the people that are involved in Project.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

The innovation of the Project is related to three main bases. The first one, stablish that the machine used to make dishes was designed and built by university researchers and technicians of our team. The machine’s design stated phisical and biological variables that are working together in order to get usable dishes. There is a temperature, pressure and timing proccess to get a well-formed dishes. The second, stablishs the use, as raw material, fallen palm’s leafs, so it’s necessary to clarify that we’re not deforesting any area. On contrary, we’re promoting reforestry programs in Amazonian. Finally, the social model adopted allows empowering family liders women and offers aditional economics benefits to their usual incomes.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

It is necessary to show interested parties (citizens, scientific community, policy makers and / or investors) the potential of the Amazon, the needs of indigenous communities and the benefits of sustainable development in our country. To achieve the main objective, preserve biodiversity, we need to bring together key stakeholders. To do this, it is necessary to involve different stakeholders: The scientific community, such as forestry engineers to help properly harnesing of the palm trees, electromechanical engineers and technicians to build machines with the latest technology that allows a more efficient process. Investors, committed to the environment, can invest in social issues and sustainable development. Policy makers, such as the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Ministry of Production, the Ministry of Planning and other local and departmental institutions, which help to facilitate the project's implementation.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

Our Project makes a difference, because it states a different view to face business outputs, due to their high social impact. We have been working with six (6) indigenuos communities in Santa Cruz, La Paz and Pando, lidered by empowered women who are working hard to better their quality life and of their families. To do that, they are receiving a “just price” for palms's leafs recollected, it’s necessary to stablish that the leaf recollection is and additional activity that is generating additional incomes. Also, they are been trained about the operation of machinery and management of forestry business in order to obtain more benefits of natural resourses and environmental services.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

In a short term we have planned growth and scaling the social, economics and environmental impact of the Project by geografic spreading in Bolivian Amazonian by establishing 6 work stations with the lastest technology to ensure every process in Santa Cruz, north of La Paz and south west of Pando. Will be able to produce 7.200 dishes per day, all of them operated by indigenous women. We have estimated to benefit almost 50 families in Amazonian. As the time pass by, we will identify another indigenous communities to involve in the Project. Also, women will be trained in agricultural labors to ensure requierements and needs, also machinery operating and management of forestry business.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

We have to bear in mind that in our contry the indigenous communities and especially women are not valued, becoming vulnerable people and groups. It is so in order to creating shared value, we developed a business model focused in indigenous communities (social issues) that allows to improve their incomes (economic value) and quality life by working in an aditional activity lidered by empowered women (trained in agricultural labors, operation machinery and forestry business).

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Actually, we are producing 12.000 dishes per month, and we have 33% of profits, it means 1.000 $us. per month. In midle term we are going to stablish 3 work stations in Santa Cruz, La Paz y Pando, so we will able to produce 72.000 dishes per month, and our profits will be 6.200 $us. per month. In the long term we are going to stablish 6 work stations, so we will produce 144.000 dishes per month, and our profits will be 14.400 $us. per month. It’s necessary to stablish that in Bolivia we don't have this kind of dishes, so our products will be demanded enourmusly. In fact, according the information obtained there is a high demand of this kind of peroducts and there is a high opportunity to sell our dishes in other countries .

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Actually, our team is composed by: General manager: Is the person who makes the deals with the customers and raw material suppliers. Dealer: Is the person who makes the distribution to stores, hotels, restaurants and other companies. Organization leader: Is the woman in each community who organize people, collect leaves and send them to the work station. We are expecting to increase our team by introducing more dealers, sellers, administrator, community manager, forest and business trainers.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

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