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DEC 17, 2020
By Ericka Milenka Nogales De Tejerina
(Inside LCR) – Prem Jai Vidaurre is a passionate environmentalist who joined the World Bank in 2019. As the environmental specialist for the Bolivia program, he makes sure that projects meet the Bank’s safeguards and frameworks, while also making them sustainable through a proper understanding of environmental issues.
With his wife, Daniela, and his four children, Damian (18), Ishague (16), Amelia (12), and Chiara (5), Vidaurre spends part of his high energy growing vegetables in two small-
scale farms, one in his house and the other in the Chicani rural community.
Vidaurre is a well-appreciated colleague. Last week, he personally delivered a package of organic spinach from his greenhouse to all the staff members in the Bolivia office. This was not only a Christmas present, but also a delicious and healthy ingredient for a variety of recipes that were shared by colleagues over the following few days.
Having worked previously at the Inter-American Development Bank and with local research institutes and nongovernmental organizations, Vidaurre has valuable experience that he believes will allow him to provide his greatest professional contributions in the coming years to the World Bank.
Question: What convinced you to join the World Bank?
Vidaurre: I knew working at the World Bank would be an important opportunity to work on a larger scale and prepare and implement projects that can have a significant impact in my country. But once inside the World Bank, I discovered so many details that make me feel lucky to be working in this institution. In particular, I have been very fortunate with my colleagues, who not only are excellent technical professionals, but also are very enthusiastic, collaborative, and contagiously committed to the development of Bolivia.
How did you become interested in environmental work?
Vidaurre: I discovered the value of life by studying biology, and I’ve gained great respect and admiration for this planet, its biodiversity, and what it means to live on it. This has inspired and motivated me to care and continue in its discovery.
Do you consider yourself an environmental activist? Why?
Vidaurre: Not necessarily an activist, but an active environmentalist! What I do at home and at work, and my personal actions are closely related to interacting and discovering nature, from sowing a seed to preparing food, hiking in the mountains, participating in projects or just thinking … It gives me the strength to continue on this path and even more when I see how it awakens the interest of my colleagues and friends to replicate and learn more about our environment and its biodiversity.
Tell us about your urban farming activities.
Vidaurre: It is actually a challenge. I do not come from a family of farmers in the recent past, and I know that this activity requires effort, knowledge, and blessings. A few years ago, we built a small greenhouse where we grow cherry tomatoes, lettuce, celery, chard, spinach, cabbage, and broccoli. In the garden I also have chilto (a local wild little tomato), tumbo (belongs to the family of passion fruit), and some fruit trees. And, 20 minutes from the city, in the Chicani community, I own a small field where I have planted broad beans, peas, potatoes, oca, and papalisa (traditional root and tuber crops) this year.
We are really still on an experimental level, but it has allowed us to try new flavors, like cherry tomatoes without any pesticides – delicious! Or cook broccoli leaves that have as many nutrients as the flower itself. But it has also allowed us to develop a family activity.
How would you describe a successful person ?
Vidaurre: I believe that a person with clarity and knowledge can achieve inner peace. That is for me is a successful person.