Awards by Country

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Argentina
New Grants

Asociación para el Desarrollo Social (ADESO)
$190,700 over three years
ADESO will work with 75 farmers organized as the Cooperativa Diaguita in Santa María, province of Catamarca, to improve their production of paprika and other spices, and, on land donated by the municipality, to construct and equip a center for processing value-added products which the cooperative will operate.(AR-350)

Centro de Implementación de Polticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC)
$96,185 over two years
CIPPEC will work with informal health councils created by community-based organizations to identify preventive services lacking in Alderetes, province of Tucum?n. The grantee will collaborate with businesses and municipal and provincial government agencies. Approximately 480
residents will benefit directly from activities and another 2,400 individuals will benefit indirectly. (AR-351)

Circo Social del Sur (CSS)
$144,095 over two years
CSS will use circus arts to teach other skills to children, teenagers and young adults in poor neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.(AR-352)

Fundación Alternativa 3, Estrategias de Desarrollo Comunitario (A3)
$33,400 over one year
A3 will study the feasibility of expanding its micro-credit program and network of entrepreneurs into five additional neighborhoods of Greater Buenos Aires.(AR-353)
Supplemental Grants

Fundación ph15 para la Artes (ph15)
$64,500 over one year
Ph15 will assist former students in developing micro-enterprises using their knowledge of photography and computer skills acquired through the grantee's program in Ciudad Oculta in Greater Buenos Aires. (AR-344-A1)

Learning from the Circus

According to statistics compiled in 2005 by the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean, one of every four Argentines between the ages of 15 and 24 in urban areas is unemployed. Young people in Buenos Aires' villas miserias, or neighborhoods formed by squatters from throughout South America, have been hardest hit by the lack of job opportunities and its consequences. Poverty and drug-related violence put them in a precarious situation, but there is hope for some through nongovernmental organizations working in the neighborhoods.

Circo Social de Sur (CSS) is one such organization. Its modest beginnings reach back to the mid-1990s but it was officially founded in 2002 by Mariana Rufolo, whose background is in alternative education, and Pablo Holgado, a veteran of the circus. Its staff, mostly drawn from its alumni, trains young people in aerial acrobatics, trapeze gymnastics and dance. Along with these arts, students master skills that improve their ability to communicate, make decisions,

work as part of a team, follow through with projects and think critically. Program participants, and people who know them, have confirmed that this improves their school performance, steers them away from substance abuse and crime, and helps them overcome the challenges to coping with prejudice and joining the work force.

With its IAF grant, CSS will work with young people in the villas miserias known as Villa 15, Villa 21 and Villa 24. Beginners, all between the ages of 7 and 25, make up half of the group and will be able to take advantage of six courses offered free of charge. The curriculum includes performances organized by students, their families and community-based organizations. CSS will also train several circus performers as instructors and they will, in turn, train some 375 colleagues, artist-to-artist. The most talented students will receive the specialized training that prepares them to succeed as professionals and will be showcased in a production that raises awareness of the work that CSS does and brings in revenue. In all, the IAF-funded project will reach 250 trainees and should indirectly benefit 1,000 family members, among others.

Paul Lubliner, program staff assistant

Bolivia
New Grants

Consultora en Servicios de Desarrollo Rural y Agricultura Ecolgica (ECOTOP)
$136,110 over two years
ECOTOP will introduce succession agro-forestry, a method that incorporates the recovery and protection of soil quality and biodiversity, to 200 farmers from seven communities in the Alto Beni region of La Paz. Farmers will diversify their production to include cacao, bananas, pineapples, yucca, mango, and citrus and indigenous fruits as well as swine for home consumption. (BO-509)

Fundación Suiza de Cooperación para el Desarrollo Técnico (SWISSCONTACT)
$298,000 over three years
SWISSCONTACT will work with the Irupana Andean Organic Food Company and more than 800 farm families to introduce organic technology that improves the production and marketing of the Andean grains quinoa, amaranth and canahua, and to increase the export of organic quinoa to the U. S. and Europe. (BO-510)

Centro de Mujeres Rurales (CEMUR)
$197,900 over three years
CEMUR will work with 250 farm families in northern Santa Cruz to introduce technologies compatible with sound environmental management to improve chicken, egg, grain and organic vegetable production. The grantee will also emphasize expanding markets for the farmers products. (BO-511)

Supplemental Grants

Centro de Investigacion, Diseño Artesanal y Comercializacion Comunitaria (CIDAC)
$48,768 one year
CIDAC will continue to provide technical assistance to associations of artisans in Santa Cruz and will organize a two-week exhibit of their products at the National Museum of Art in La Paz. (BO-496-A2)

Asociacion de Artesanos Andinos (AAA)
$59,625 one year
AAA will continue its work with indigenous weavers in the Arque and Tapacari provinces, Cochabamba department, to revive and further develop traditional techniques and designs. The grantee focuses on generating employment for artisans from 34 communities by improving and diversifying their production, formulating an effective marketing strategy and strengthening their organization. (BO-497-A2)

Successional Agro-forestry in the Amazon Basin

Destructive farming practices have been widespread in the region of Bolivia known as the Alto Beni. Most residents are migrants from the Andean highlands who arrived in the lowlands with no experience managing tropical ecologies and few places to turn to for an orientation. Their cultivation of citrus fruits, rice and cacao as monocrops has led to the degradation of forests, soils and watersheds of Bolivias Amazon basin. The result has been smaller yields, worsening poverty and the eventual abandonment of farming for a living. New models of agricultural and livestock production are desperately needed if the pattern is to be reversed.

Fortunately, a grassroots organization, Consultora en Servicios de Desarrollo Rural y Agricultura Ecolgica (ECOTOP), has spent more than a decade fine-tuning approaches to reconciling stewardship of the environment with economic progress for farm families in the Alto Beni. The technology that ECOTOP has developed, often through years of trial and error, has been tested in more than 80 communities. ECOTOP is now poised to expand its application to 30 additional communities comprising 200 households and will use its IAF funding to do this. This successional agro-forestry alternative calls for the cultivation of tree and other crops, simultaneously or in rotation, and of small animals on the same land. Research has demonstrated that the application of this diversified system can, in just six months, control weeds and produce the changes in soil fertility necessary to restoring the ecological equilibrium so that farm families have enough to eat and a surplus to sell.

ECOTOP will use its IAF grant to build the system around cacao, which commands a high price, as well as pineapples, yucca, mangos, medicinal plants and native chima, carambola and copuazu. Working with the farmers, ECOTOP will organize seedling nurseries to supply the program. Its staff will train farmers in workshops, visit farms to offer technical assistance on site, develop swine-production modules, and facilitate farmer exchanges and student projects that assist in the shift to the new technology. Farmers will also benefit from help with marketing and access to equipment for elementary processing. ECOTOP will share its agro-forestry experience in the Alto Beni by filming a video and compiling five technical manuals.-Kevin Healy, Foundation representative

Brazil

New Grants

Rede de Defesa Ambiental do Cabo de Santo Agostinho (REDE),
$142,000 over three years
REDE will work in the Cabo de Santo Agostinho, Pernambuco, to develop grassroots leadership skills and encourage community groups to partner with businesses and the local government toward protecting the environment.

Associçao Produtiva do Assentamento do Engenho Serra D'água (APAESD)
$142,000 over three years
APAESD will work with 50 farmers residing on former sugar-cane fields in Rio Formoso, Pernambuco, to develop an agri-business engaged in the production and sale of fish and tropical fruits. APAESD will also create an Agricultural and Livestock Training Center where 500 farmers can learn new techniques for producing, managing and marketing crops and livestock. (BR-842)

PANGEA Centro de Estudos Socioambientais (PANGEA)
$228,000 over two years
PANGEA's program in education, solid-waste collection and recycling will improve the income of some 500 members of recycling cooperatives operating in five locations in Salvador, Bahia, and will create 200 new jobs. (BR-843)

Instituto Realice
$252,000 over three years
Instituto Realice will organize a network to distribute hand-crafted mercado-solidrio, or Fair-Trade, products through direct sales, catalogues and the Internet, and develop centers in Rio de Janeiro linking producers with vendors. Its training will ensure quality and contribute toward the self-sufficiency of a structure that maximizes the earning potential of 1,000 Brazilians, mainly women. (BR-844)

Associao Brasileira do Bem Estar Social, Turismo, Incluso Social, Cultural e Meio Ambiente
$35,000 for one year
ESTIMATIVA will develop awareness of and pride in African history and culture through education and training for 40 hair-weavers of African descent in Rio de Janeiro. (BR-845)
Supplemental Grants

Fundo Rotativo da Ao da Cidadania (CREDCIDADANIA)
$35,860 one year
CREDCIDADANIA will provide the technical and administrative assistance needed to consolidate community funds and to administer a revolving loan fund serving Goiana and Moreno, small towns in Pernambuco. (BR-828-A3)

After Agrarian Reform, a Focus on Farming

At the end of the 1980s, when state subsidies stopped flowing to the sugar industry and a severe drought gripped the Northeast, a crisis ensued in Brazil's sugar sector. Many mill owners and cane producers declared bankruptcy, thousands of workers lost their jobs and vast expanses of cane fields were abandoned. Over the last 20 years, landless Brazilians have worked with the government to obtain title to these lands. Between 1987 and 2003, the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) expropriated 1,941 properties in Pernambuco, including 16 former plantations in the municipalities of Rio Formoso and Tamandar.

Rio Formoso's Serra D'água, composed of 419 hectares, had been the site of a plantation and a sugar mill. The workers who had labored there under exploitive conditions, and the squatters who later settled there, now own this land. As new landowners, they formed the Associçao Produtiva do Assentamento do Engenho Serra D'água (APAESD) with the goal of working together to make a living from farming. That is a difficult proposition in Rio Formoso, where 70 percent of the population earns less than half the minimum wage. Nonetheless, these farmers, in spite of their lack of education, history of social and economic exclusion and oppression, and very limited access to capital, aspire to put nutritious meals on the table, educate their children, pay for healthcare and own a decent home.

APAESD's vision is to promote development through the active cooperation and commitment of the whole community. With its IAF funding, APAESD will undertake a project involving the production and marketing of fish and tropical fruits; the adoption of sound agri-business practices and management principles; and training for other similarly-situated landholders in the region. Plans include an area for fish tanks and 16 hectares planted with papaya, passion fruit and melon varieties. According to APAESD's financial analyses of these activities, harvests of 800 pounds of fish and 100 tons of fruit per month are expected to generate gross monthly income of $36,000. This translates into an increase in income of $1,000 a month for each of the 36 families participating in the project. APAESD will also create a Technical Agriculture and Livestock Center where an additional 480 other farmers from Rio Formoso can be trained in techniques for raising livestock and cultivating crops and in marketing them.

Some older members of the Serra D'água community have lived and worked together for more than 50 years. They and other residents formed APAESD because of their sense of partnership and ability to collaborate. These assets, along with enthusiasm and dedication, should help them reach their goal for a better life. -Miriam Euclides Brando, Foundation representative.

Colombia

New Grants

Fundación para el Etnodesarrollo de los Llanos Orientales de Colombia (ETNOLLANO)
$196,800 over two years
ETNOLLANO will work with 238 craftswomen from Sikuani, Amorua and Piaroa resguardos, or indigenous territories, along the Orinoco River in the eastern Amazon region in the northern part of Vichada department, to increase their income by improving their production of baskets, wood carvings, ceramics and woven handbags. (CO-512)

Empresa Cooperativa del Sur del Cauca (COSURCA)
$221,285 over two years
COSURCA will provide technical and financial services to 1,560 coffee and fruit farmers from 13 of its affiliates in the southern provinces of the Cauca region. Its goal is to help them renovate their farms, industrialize the processing of their crops, and increase the volume of organic coffee marketed through international Fair- Trade channels and of its members fruit and fruit products sold in Colombian markets. (CO-513)

Fundacion Hogar Juvenil (FHJ)
$258,815 over two years
FHJ will improve employment opportunities for 55 recyclers of glass, paper, cardboard and plastic, and improve environmental conditions for 6,000 households in Cartagena. It will support the recyclers and their organizations with technical assistance, training and educational campaigns targeting young students as well as with the equipment and transport necessary to collect solid waste effectively. (CO-514)

Reaching Indigenous Artisans along the Orinoco River

A critical challenge in the Amazon region is to enable indigenous peoples to find options for earning a livelihood in the modern market economy. The development of traditional handicrafts builds respect for these cultures, and for the women who make the crafts, while opening an opportunity to tap into the growing tourism industry as well as growing appreciation of Colombia's indigenous heritage. One of the IAF's most significant contributions to grassroots development in the Americas has been, in fact, its pioneering support of organizations that promote indigenous crafts as a source of ethnic pride and a means to more income and better working conditions. A community-based approach, effective quality control and imaginative marketing have been key to the success of these social enterprises.

Fundación para el Etnodesarrollo de los Llanos Orientales de Colombia (Etnollano) is a nongovernmental organization that has worked for several decades with indigenous communities in the Colombian Amazon region. This has included encouraging their quest for recognition of their territorial rights in Colombian law and in international agreements and conventions. Etnollano belongs to a Pan-Amazonian network of NGOs from Colombia, Peru and Brazil that support responsible resource management, the importance of cultural traditions and grassroots development. As well as training healthcare providers and bilingual teachers, Etnollano has been engaged in a variety of artisan programs in the Vichada provinces, where, based in Puerto Carreo on the Orinoco River along the Venezuelan border, it works with indigenous Amarua, Sikuana and Piaroa women from riverside communities. Its activities have helped reduce their dependence on local shopkeepers who pay a pittance.

Etnollano will use its IAF grant to train the women to improve their basketry, wood carvings, ceramics and woven handbags. They will learn about traditional designs and craftsmanship from community elders and will develop community maps with sites for obtaining raw materials as well as promotional brochures, a video and a Web site. Their crafts will be sold through Etnollano's stores in Puerto Carreno and Bogot and in Expoartesanas, Colombia's annual Christmas craft extravaganza. Field trips to stores and fairs and visits to museums, including in Venezuela, will help the artisans understand the final link in the production-marketing chain and appreciate other Amazonian craft traditions. Etnollano will also forge ties with the Organizacin Regional de los Pueblos Indgenas del Bajo Orinoco (ORPIBO) and the Bolsa Amaznica, a marketing network spanning a number of countries, as important allies in bringing about social and economic change. -Kevin Healy, Foundation representative

Dominican Republic

New Grants

American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic (AmCham-DR)
$61,000 one year
AmCham-DR will increase its sub-grant fund to support up to nine additional grassroots development projects throughout the Dominican Republic and will hold a one-day corporate social responsibility conference for representatives of local corporations. (DR-329-A4)

Fundacion Taigey (Taigey)
$93,203 over two years
Taigey will provide an organized group of women in La Cienaga, Barahona, training and technical assistance toward the establishment of the 40-member Cooperativa para el Desarrollo de La Cienaga (COODECI) which will purchase fruit for processing into value-added products, such as jams and jellies, to sell in Dominican niche markets. (DR-336)

Supplemental Grants

Centro de Servicios Legales para la Mujer (CENSEL)
$25,000 one year
In exchange for donations, CENSEL will offer local businesses training for their employees on issues related to domestic and gender-based violence. The grantee's ongoing programs will reach more than 7,000 new beneficiaries in metropolitan Santo Domingo. (DR-325-A4)

From Hillsides to Niche Markets

Women in the municipality of La Cienaga often gather at the headquarters of Fundacion Taigey to discuss the details of their new enterprise, the Cooperativa para el Desarrollo de La Ceinaga (COODECI). The view from their rooftop meeting place is of turquoise waters sparkling in the distance, but the gorgeous panorama is deceptive. La Cienaga is located on the coast of the southwestern province of Barahona, a region that stands out as among the poorest in the Dominican Republic. Average incomes there hover around $30 a month.

Fundacion Taigey, whose name comes from an indigenous Taino word meaning good day, was founded in 2003 to work toward addressing social and economic issues in La Cienaga. The nongovernmental organization operates locally by engaging grassroots groups, such as the club de madres and farmer associations, in analyzing conditions and undertaking self-help projects. It also operates virtually, through a Caribbean-wide initiative that uses information technology to further development, including by hosting Guanaba. net, a telecentro or community Internet center.

Fundacion Taigey and its partners have identified La Cienaga's limited economic opportunities and its environmental degradation as two of the area's most serious problems. Lack of education and training makes finding employment especially difficult for women. The options are not much better for men. They have traditionally earned a bare living from the tpica variety of coffee and fruit from associated shade trees. Recently, however, they have increasingly turned to planting short-cycle crops on hillsides, which results in multiple harvests but causes serious long-term problems. The shift to short-cycle crops, such as beans and corn, means that farmers use slash-and-burn methods to first clear their land of the coffee and fruit trees that protect it. This not only depletes the soil, thereby reducing yields and the arable land available, but also contributes to increased sedimentation of the Cinaga River, the municipality's primary source of water.

To provide an alternative means of income-generation, and eventually reverse the degradation of the environment, Fundacion Taigey, the club de madres and local farmers associations have developed an initiative they have named TRANSAGRO. Its centerpiece is COODECI, whose members process passion fruit, mangos, oranges, guavas and other fruit into jams and jellies for sale under the brand name De mi siembra, or from my field, to discerning consumers in niche markets, including gift shops, airports and natural food stores. COODECI's demand for local fruit could give farmers a reason to abandon their slash-and-burn practices in favor of maintaining their trees. For more information on COODECI, see Fundacion Taigey's blogs at www.taiguey.org.-Jenny Petrow, Foundation representative

Ecuador

New Grants

Gestión Ecuador (GE)
$216,549 over three years
GE's Solidarity Taxi program will offer transportation services and training that will reach 10,000 people with disabilities, 10,000 taxi drivers, 2,000 transit police officers and representatives of 100 social service agencies in Quito and two other cities, thereby improving the quality of life of disabled people and raising awareness of their issues. (EC-407)

Asociación de Desarrollo Integral del Norte (ADIN)
$242,720 over three years
ADIN will work with 125 low-income mestizos, African descendants and indigenous Ecuadorians to develop micro- and small businesses serving tourism in and around the northern city of Ibarra. (EC-408)

Fundación El Kaimn (KAIMAN)
$201,420 over two years
KAIMAN will improve conditions for 210 families from seven communities in or near the Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve, province of Esmeraldas, through education in forestry and agroforestry, support for community-based tourism and strengthening their grassroots organizations. (EC-410)

Movimiento Ciudadano por la Democracia (ORGANIZACCION)
$161,750 over three years
ORGANIZACCION will work in Quito, Guayas and the Amazon region with five juntas parroquiales, the smallest unit of Ecuadorian government, to train at least 25 elected officials in efficiency and transparency and in undertaking activities that further economic development. It will also train 1,000 Ecuadorians to monitor the work of the juntas parroquiales. (EC-411)

Supplemental Grants

Fundación Mujer y Familia Andina (FUNDAMYF)
$98,936 one year
FUNDAMYF will work in 45 neighborhoods in the city of Esmeraldas to provide women of African descent education and technical assistance in preventive health practices, rights and responsibilities, and the administration of a fund that they can access to finance their micro-enterprises. (EC-390-A1)

Beyond the Galapagos: Community Tourism in Northern Ecuador

With its multi-ethnic culture, its extravagant biodiversity, its abundance of swimming holes, waterfalls and bat caves, and its proximity to Quito, northern Ecuador has great potential as a tourist destination. Its residents would like to take advantage of the opportunities that tourism creates by giving travelers an authentic vacation experience characterized by closer contact with the area and its people. Although the Ecuadorian government recognizes that this could provide economic alternatives for poor families, it has not invested resources in developing community tourism as an aspect of the visitor industry in northern Ecuador. Those local families that have tapped into tourism have figured out by themselves how they might earn income by catering to the visitors. But without the necessary technical and financial resources and infrastructure, they cannot expect to compete with professional tour operators.

To remedy this, 11 community groups from the states of Imbabura, Carchi and Esmeraldas joined forces in 2006 to form the Asociación de Desarrollo Integral del Norte (ADIN). Its mission is to help members offer visitors services that reflect their cultural values and respect the environment. For the past two years, ADIN has been busy conducting market studies and designing tour packages that visitors might find attractive.

ADIN will use its IAF grant to facilitate access to traditional attractions, improve infrastructure, such as restaurants and the Centro de Manejo de Vida Silvestre Guayabillas, a wildlife reserve, and to create more opportunities to hike, ride horses, camp, fish and enjoy the outdoors. Some families will open their homes and offer visitors the chance to live with them and learn their arts, crafts and ways of farming and fishing. ADIN anticipates the development of at least three tour circuits, each to be marketed directly to visitors. Owners of participating micro-enterprises will receive specialized training and much-needed credit to help them expand the businesses. ADIN's investment in such activities is expected to jumpstart a new industry in northern Ecuador, resulting in income streams that could transform life for its members.-Zakiya Carr Johnson, Foundation representative

El Salvador

New grants

Sociedad Cooperativa Marías 93 de R. L. (MARÍAS 93)
$313,096 over three years
MARÍAS 93, a farmers cooperative in the department of San Miguel that produces and markets coffee certified as organic, will offer its members training and technical assistance to improve the quality of their coffee, strengthen their organization and ensure that their agricultural methods are environmentally responsible. (ES-229)

Associación Comunal para el Desarrollo de la Mujer Rural (ADEMUR)
$277,300 over three years
ADEMUR will work in the department of San Miguel to increase the income of women farmers and improve family nutrition. It will provide technical assistance in raising livestock and producing feed, manage an in-kind loan fund and promote access to markets. (ES-230)

Consejo Coordinador Nacional Indígena Salvadoreño (CCNIS)
$63,656 over 18 months
CCNIS will train indigenous Nahuat, Lenca and Cacawira Salvadorans to further social, cultural and economic development in their communities and to raise public awareness of their identity and heritage. Approximately 3,500 indigenous Salvadorans will benefit from the project. (ES-231)

Asociación para la Promocin de los Derechos Humanos de la Niñez en El Salvador (APRODEHNI)
$234,437 over two years
APRODEHNI will work to improve the income and diet of farmers and their families in extremely poor communities in Sonsonate. It will provide technical assistance and training in the cultivation of diverse vegetables and grains, in livestock production and in marketing; will undertake initiatives to protect the environment and natural resources; and will improve municipal Community Development Associations (ADESCO). (ES-232)

Fundación para el Desarrollo Socioeconmico y Restauración Ambiental (FUNDESYRAM)
$270,280 over three years
FUNDESYRAM will improve the income of women farmers and entrepreneurs in the departments of Ahuachapán and Sonsonate through technical assistance in crop diversification, livestock production and sales; workshops in leadership skills and self-esteem; and credit extended in kind and in cash. (ES-233)
Supplemental Grants

Asociación Cooperativa de Ahorro, Crédito y Agrícola Comunal de Paraíso de Osorio de R. L. (COPADEO)
$33,988 over six months
COPADEO will provide technical assistance to four fishing cooperatives on Lake Ilopango and fund the purchase of essential equipment for their fish tanks. (ES-204-A4)

Asociación Salvadoreña de Desarrollo Campesino (ASDEC)
$40,893 over six months
ASDEC will offer SOCOPOMAR, an association of shrimp-farmer cooperatives in the department of Usulutn, technical assistance, inputs and marketing support to ensure its readiness to manage the entire production cycle. (ES-212-A4

A Coffee Tradition and a Community's Future

The varied landscape of the department of San Miguel features volcanoes that create microclimates ideal for coffee cultivation. The town of Las Marías nestles comfortably in the rolling hills near the volcano El Pacayal, and its coffee mill hums at the heart of the community.

Sociedad Cooperativa Marías Noventa y Tres (MARÍAS 93), the farmers cooperative that owns and operates the mill, is dedicated to generating income for its members through growing, processing and exporting high-quality coffee to the United States and doing it all in a way that protects the environment. MARÍAS 93 takes its name from its special history: its members include many combat veterans and refugees who returned to resettle Las Marías and found the coffee cooperative in 1993, the year after the Peace Accords ended El Salvador's 12 years of civil war. During its 15 years of operation, the cooperative survived the coffee crisis of the 1990s and steadily increased its membership. It also satisfied the requirements that allow it to take full advantage of the higher international price for coffee certified as organic.

With support from the IAF, MARÍAS 93 will offer its farmer-members the training and technical assistance necessary to manage the entire cycle of coffee cultivation, processing and sales. MARÍAS 93 will produce for export more coffee certified as organic. Better coffee-mill infrastructure and new equipment will allow the cooperative to roast, grind and package a portion of its coffee for domestic sale under its registered brand name, M's Café, instead of outsourcing these processing services. A new Internet connection will improve communications with exporters and other buyers, and an on-site nursery will give farmers access to more productive young coffee plants.

San Miguel is known for its spectacular setting but scenic beauty cant disguise its desperate poverty and consequent high rate of migration. MARÍAS 93 has a keen interest in offering young adults an alternative to leaving their community. Another feature of its project are workshops on organic farming, coffee processing and management that will prepare the young participants to join the cooperative and continue the coffee tradition of Las Marías. MARÍAS 93 also places a premium on protecting natural resources. To improve their soil, farmers will fertilize their plots with the nutrient-rich waste matter from depulping. Updated mill equipment will reduce the amount of electricity and water needed to process coffee and the runoff from the processing. Adhering to the rules for organic certification, farmers will avoid chemical inputs, maintain sufficient space between certified and conventional crops, and document all activities affecting their coffee.

With this project MARÍAS 93 will advance its goal of getting the best value for its coffee and improving the quality of life of its farmers, both current and future, while protecting the environment on which they depend. -Seth Jesse, Foundation representative

Guatemala

New Grants

Asociación de Servicios Comunitarios de Salud (ASECSA)
$185,690 over three years
ASECSA will improve access to health services for 1,140 Guatemalans in Baja Verapaz. It will offer training and technical assistance to further develop 12 community-based organizations; facilitate coordination with local health authorities to improve service and further environmental conservation, promote disaster prevention and preparedness; and support sustainable productive initiatives. (GT-290)

Asociación Museo Comunitario Rabinal Achi (AMCRA)
$163,000 over three years
AMCRA will promote, strengthen and preserve the Maya-Achi culture through training in traditional mask-making, compiling and recording music, conducting research into and drafting materials on dances and oral history, and developing permanent exhibits for the Museo Achi. Project beneficiaries will receive a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the masks, recordings and printed materials in the museum shop. (GT-291)

Asociación de Comunidades Forestales de Petén (ACOFOP)
$226,885 over three years
ACOFOP will provide training and technical assistance enabling members of 10 community organizations operating forest concessions in the Biósfera Maya Nature Reserve to develop xate palm plantations and to process, package and market xate and other non-timber products certified as originating in a sustainably managed area. Members will learn accounting, business administration and marketing. ACOFOP will also assist the community organizations in expanding their sales. (GT-292)

Pastoral Social de Ixcán (PSI)
$195,310, over three years
PSI will offer training, technical assistance and subgrants to 12 community groups toward improving and diversifying the output of 160 member-farmers and opening markets for organic coffee, honey, hearts of palm, pineapple, vanilla and cardamom, among other products. It will also encourage community groups to suggest their members pool a portion of their remittances to invest in agriculture or livestock and will encourage youths to pursue alternatives to migration. (GT-293)

Asociación de Promotores de Salud y Comadronas de Petén (APROSACOP)
$34,945 over one year
APROSACOP will offer training to its board and most active members, update an assessment of its volunteers, and draft a strategic plan to develop its technical and organizational capacity and identify challenges currently confronting its member health promoters and midwives. (GT-294)

Organización de Desarrollo Integral para la Mujer con Discapacidad y Bajo Recurso Econmico (ODIM)
$115,765, over three years
ODIM will expand its current training to develop the self-sufficiency, civic participation and income-generating skills of Guatemalans with disabilities, primarily women, in Mixco. Two series of workshops will, respectively, provide hands-on training in making crafts and specialized products and address topics such as business administration, accounting, marketing and the legal rights of disabled people. (GT-295)

Products from Forests in the Reserva de la Biósfera Maya

Extending over 20 percent of Guatemala's territory, the 2. 1 million-hectare Reserva de la Bisfera Maya (Bisfera Maya) includes the largest tropical rainforest in Central America. This vast expanse is home to 20 ecosystems, hundreds of animal and bird species, and thousands of plant varieties. It is also the cradle of ancient Mayan civilization; its 175 archaeological sites include Tikal, the ruins of a wealthy ancient city characterized by monumental architecture. The Biósfera Maya was created in 1990 by UNESCO and the Guatemalan government to protect this precious biodiversity and cultural heritage from the dangers posed by rampant deforestation.

Eighty percent of the Biósfera Maya is in the department of Petén, where 366,000 Guatemalans live. The creation of the Bisfera Maya threatened the well-being of Petn residents who had derived their livelihoods from forest resources. As a result, the Guatemalan government defined a multiple-use zone in which concessions would be granted to community groups that could then legally extract timber and non-timber forest products, provided they practiced conservation and respected the core protected area and its buffer zone.

Asociación de Comunidades Forestales de Petén (ACOFOP), a grassroots umbrella organization whose members are 23 community groups, was founded in 1996 to promote socio-economic development through the sustainable management of natural resources in the Bisfera Maya. Its activities have attracted attention in Guatemala and abroad. The United Nations acknowledged ACOFOP in 2002 for its work combining poverty reduction with conservation. In 2003, ACOFOP received the Guatemalan government's Medalla Presidencial al Medio Ambiente for its promotion of conservation in protected areas, and the Embassy of the United States recognized its efforts in combating forest fires.

ACOFOP will use its IAF grant to promote income-generation and sustainable resource management, including through the Forest Stewardship Council's certification of the methods used by its members to harvest non-timber forest products, such as the fronds of the xate palm, which are used in flower arrangements and during services on Palm Sunday. (Churches in the United States prefer fronds certified as sustainably harvested. ) ACOFOP will provide grassroots concessionaires training and technical assistance toward developing xate plantations in secondary or recovery forests, areas that had been devastated by, for example, over-harvesting or slash-and-burn methods. Their members will learn to draft forest management plans and inventory non-timber resources; to properly select, package and transport products; and to apply practices meeting the requirements for certification. ACOFOP's ultimate goal is the certification of more non-timber forest products as sustainably harvested and a community-based marketing enterprise managed by the concessionaires. -Jennifer Martínez, Foundation representative and Allison Glendinning, program staff assistant

Haiti

New Grants

Mouvman Peyizan pou Developman Petyon Vil (MOPDEP)
$208,855 over two years
MOPDEP will improve the vegetables its members produce for personal consumption and for sale to hotels, restaurants and other businesses. It will provide the farmers agricultural inputs, tools, training and technical assistance and will construct an office and processing center in Bellevue la Montagne, Ptionville. (HA-202)

Mouvement Paysan 3me Section Camp-Perrin (MP3K)
$347,710 over three years
MP3K will work in the Third Communal Section of Camp-Perrin in the Sud department to apply the minisett technique, an inexpensive method of rapid propagation, to the cultivation of three yam varieties. The increased production and sales will boost the income of MP3K's 1,500 members and will indirectly benefit the 25,000 other residents of Camp-Perrin. (HA-203)

Konbit Fanm Kaskad-Dubreuil (KOFAKAD)
$207,350 over three years
KOFAKAD will construct and equip a workshop and training center in the southern town of Dubreuil, where 350 at-risk young women and adolescents can become computer literate and acquire the skills to work as dressmakers, artisans and bakers. KOFAKAD will also develop its members dressmaking, cake-decorating, and production of handicrafts and baked goods into a community-based enterprise. (HA-204)

Quisqueya International Organization for Freedom and Development (QIFD)
$264,900 over two and a half years
QIFD will work with Komite Developman Lokal, the cooperative Sere Pou L W Bezwen, youth and women's organizations, and the local government to revitalize the agricultural sector in Savanette, a community located on Haiti's central plateau near the Dominican border. (HA-205)

Supplemental Grants

Coordination des Paysans pour Dveloppement de Thomazeau (COPDET)
$162,290 over 18 months
COPDET will develop a seed bank and provide training to help 300 farmers grow and sell shallots and other crops. (HA-201-A2)

Fondasyon Enstitisyon pou Devlopman ak Edikasyon Sivik ki Sti nan Baz-la (FIDEB)
$76,498 one year
FIDEB will continue funding economic development projects initiated by its member organizations, develop materials for use in mobilizing resources locally and from Haitians abroad, and undertake a strategic planning process. (HA-198-A4)

Seeds for Sustainability

Bellevue la Montagne is located in a hilly section communal on the outskirts of Ptionville, a relatively affluent suburb of Port-au-Prince. Life in the sections communales, or rural areas, contrasts sharply with that in Ptionville's bustling commercial districts. In Bellevue la Montagne, more than 90 percent of the residents farm small parcels. The region's temperate climate and rich soil once led it to be called the granary of Port-au-Prince. The landscape is still planted with neat rows of cabbage, lettuce and tomatoes, but, like their peers across Haiti, farmers in Bellevue have witnessed the decline of the agricultural sector over the last 30 years. Many have sacrificed their trees to charcoal production, one of Haiti's few dependable sources of income, which has left their land deforested and unproductive. The social and political crisis of 2004 disproportionately impacted these farmers, most of whom already lived in poverty. Recently, lavich, the high cost of living, spurred riots across the country, alerting the world to the crisis.

Nonetheless, the more than 1,500 members of Mouvman Peyizan pou Devlopman Petyon Vil (MOPDEP) believe that Haitian farmers can still thrive. They founded MOPDEP in 1995 to develop rural Ptionville and to improve the quality of life of its residents. MOPDEP's coordinator, Silencieux Emmanuel, who facilitated the deliberations that resulted in an IAF grant this year, had studied agronomy abroad and returned home in 2005 to find that his neighbors could no longer afford basic agricultural inputs, particularly seeds. He saw farmers invest what little money they had in seeds, sow them and harvest the crops to sell. But the proceeds barely covered necessities, leaving nothing with which to purchase new seeds, and land increasingly lay fallow. Emmanuel encouraged members of MOPDEP to propose to the IAF a way to change this. My father is a farmer and he put me through school. I wanted others to know that they were all capable of achieving this, he said.

With its IAF grant, MOPDEP will promote its sales of lettuce, carrots, peppers, cucumbers and broccoli; create a seed bank where farmers can buy seeds at reasonable prices; and build a center where the best vegetables can be prepared for market. MOPDEP's members will have access to tools and to training in practices such as composting, staggered planting cycles and crop diversification. Its privileged location near downtown Ptionville allows MOPDEP to take advantage of the demand for vegetables in hotels, restaurants and supermarkets and to sell directly to these establishments, netting more income for its members. MOPDEP will invest some of the earnings in community projects that revitalize Bellevue la Montagne.-Jenny Petrow, Foundation representative

Honduras

New Grants

Fundación Adelante (Adelante)
$295,667 over three years
Adelante will improve economic opportunities and the quality of life for 2,400 women, primarily indigenous, in Intibucá by completing the expansion of its program offering access to credit and education. (HO-245)

Instituto Hondureño de Desarrollo Alternativo y Sostenible (IHDEAS)
$216,447 over two years and six months
IHDEAS will assist microbusinesses launched by at-risk youths from poor communities of metropolitan Tegucigalpa and develop the program of technical assistance, training and mentoring it offers in connection with enterprise creation. Its project will improve living standards and economic opportunities for 100 young Hondurans. (HO-246)

Supplemental Grants

Consejo de Desarrollo del Sector Social de la Economía, Regional de Intibucá (CODESSE)
$10,672 one year
CODESSE will create promotional signs for 10 businesses, fund participation in a marketing fair and cover additional salary costs in connection with its ongoing technical assistance in rural communities of Intibucá. (HO-239-A2)

From the North Coast to Intibucá: Character as Collateral

Since 1999, Fundación Adelante (Adelante) has worked to improve the standard of living of extremely poor Honduran women, many with no education beyond the fourth grade, by extending them small loans toward opening, operating and expanding their own businesses. The profits from these ventures pay for better food, home improvements, medical services, children's schooling and savings for future needs.

Adelante's traditional zone of operation has been the North Coast of Honduras, where it has served a clientele comprised of Garifuna women, or African descendants, and mestizas. Recently, however, the program expanded into Intibucá, a largely indigenous area that poses an array of challenges both cultural and in terms of logistics. Very likely, the new clients whom Adelante is targeting with its microcredit services have even less education than those on the North Coast. Most travel in Intibucá is still over dirt roads that cannot be used during the rainy season; some villages are only accessible via footpaths, hence the extensive use of motorcycles by Adelante's credit team.

However, Adelante has already made headway with the double punch that sets it apart from other microcredit programs in Intibucá. First, it offers practical training in business and other topics and character-based borrowing. Second, the cornerstone to Adelante's success has been the solidarity group of four to six women who apply as a unit and commit to repaying the entire amount of loan that they divide among themselves to invest in their individual businesses. This approach substitutes character for the collateral required by traditional banks. The system operates on trust; each member of the solidarity group knows that if one woman cannot make her repayment, the others must come up with the cash. As a rule Adelante's first loan is for about $50 per borrower, repayable every two weeks. When the initial loan has been completely repaid, the solidarity group is eligible to apply for another.

In most communities served by Adelante, several solidarity groups have formed. Between four and eight such groups constitute an assembly that elects members to the positions of chief, vice-chief and community educator. Assembly meetings, held semimonthly, are a venue where loan recipients show they have made their payments, share business experiences and learn about business, family law and practices that promote good health. As of December 2007, Adelante's solidarity groups could boast of a 99. 6 percent repayment rate, showing that these poorest of poor Hondurans have proved to be excellent credit clients. -John Reed, Foundation representative

Jamaica

New Grants

Good Hope Partners in Entrepreneurial Development (GOHPED)
$35,000 over one year
GOHPED will create a development plan for five communities in the Good Hope region of Eastern St. Andrew. As part of the process, it will survey agricultural practices and launch pilot programs in alternative or nontraditional livelihoods, skills training and organizational development. The project will directly benefit 500 residents of the participating communities, including many young people, and indirectly benefit 16,000 other residents of the Good Hope region. (JA-110)
Supplemental Grants

People's Action for Community Transformation (PACT)
$99,670 one year
PACT, in collaboration with the Local Initiative Facility for the Urban Environment (LIFE), will provide seed funding, technical assistance and training to grassroots organizations to enhance their networking skills, to improve their access to information and to enable them to undertake social, environmental and income-generating projects. Approximately 250 additional low-income members of community-based organizations throughout Jamaica, many of them women, will benefit. (JA-109-A2)

A Sense of Hope in Good Hope

With almost 60 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2007, Jamaica lies at the center of what the Economist calls a Caribbean crime wave. Violence most often affects the young, either as victims or perpetrators, and residents of the Good Hope communities located in foothills above Kingston in the Parish of St. Andrew are no exception. Two-thirds of the adults in Dallas Castle, Halls Delight, Constitution Hill, Cane River and Bito are between the ages of 18 and 35, and 60 to 70 percent are unemployed. Poor infrastructure, the absence of telecommunications and Internet, and the lack of training and job opportunities keep these young people feeling frustrated and isolated. Gang members running from the law often take refuge in the foothills, exacerbating delinquency in Good Hope.

Now some young residents of five Good Hope communities have joined in an effort to offer alternatives to others. The result is Good Hope Partners in Entrepreneurial Development (GOHPED), founded in November 2006. Its purpose is to address unemployment and isolation through education, training and income-generating activities that incorporate new technology and environmentally responsible practices. Good Hope Partners grew out of the Strengthening of Communities Project undertaken by IAF grantee PACT/LIFE with the support of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ). LIFE's Grassroots Economic Development Project, supported by the IAF, extended the technical assistance and seed funding necessary to establish a secretariat in Dallas Castle.

Good Hope Partners held a job fair with the public and private sectors and HEART-NTA, Jamaica's national training agency for its inaugural activity as a formally constituted organization. The literacy classes that the organization offered with support from the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation attracted so many residents that Good Hope Partners had to turn many away. As word circulated that the group was addressing social and economic problems through organizing, its membership swelled to more than 80 people.

Good Hope Partners is ready to take its next steps. Through a planning grant from the IAF, it will draft a local development plan for all five communities. It will also conduct pilot programs in alternative livelihoods, such as greenhouse agriculture and beekeeping; in skills training and certification in hospitality services and information technology; and in team building. Partners in the project include the Greenhouse Growers Association, the Inter-American Development Bank, Honeycomb Industries, HEART-NTA, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and Dallas Castle Producers.-Jenny Petrow, Foundation representative

Mexico

New Grants

Mujeres Indígenas Artesanas de Pantelho (MUINARPA)
$46,905 over two years
MUINARPA, a group of 53 women textile artisans formed 21 years ago in Pantelho, Chiapas, will become legally constituted as a nonprofit entity, which will enable it to access financial resources, technical assistance and new markets. Initiatives planned include a working-capital fund, construction of a workspace/warehouse, and the development of promotional materials, labels and a brand name. (ME-486)

K'inal Antsetik A. C. (Kinal)
$290,442 over three years
K'inal will offer indigenous women in Chiapas training, assistance with productive projects, and programs in health, education and communication through improving Jolom Mayaetik, a textile cooperative, and founding the Women's Leadership Center. Some 350 members of 14 community groups will participate. (ME-487)

Innovación y Apoyo Educativo, A. C. (IAE)
$251,160 over two years and six months
IAE, in partnership with the Consejo Municipal de Participación Social (CMPSE), will train more than 1,500 parents, educators, students and other residents of the municipality of las Margaritas, Chiapas, to deliberate and reach consensus on the allocation of the municipal education budget. Participants will learn democratic practices and will craft education policy around the school as a place of learning that also furthers civic involvement. (ME-488)

Centro de Formación Integral para Promotores Indígenas A. C. (CEFIPI)
$232,762 over three years
CEFIPI will train farmers in organic agriculture, process for local distribution a children's nutritional supplement from the improved produce, address women's employment opportunities and illiteracy, and develop a new, centrally located marketplace. The program will benefit 3,600 indigenous Mexicans in the municipalities of Chilón, Xihtalhá, Salto de Agua, Palenque, Ocosingo, Yajalón and Pantelho. (ME-489)

Migramex Asociación Civil (MAC)
$259,512 over three years
MAC will work in Jaltipán, Ciudad Isla, Catemaco, San Andrés Tuxtla, Acayucán, Sayula de Alemán, Minzapán and Playa Vicente to organize 160 women, mostly heads-of-household, into community groups, train them in financial management, and develop their ability to earn income, maintain savings accounts and finance loan funds. Mental health support will be available to individuals needing it. (ME-490)

Fundación Comunitaria de la Frontera Norte, A. C. (FCFNAC)
$33,831 over one year
FCFNAC will determine the future management needs and legal obligations of the Border Philanthropy Partnership when BPP becomes legally constituted as a binational nonprofit organization with offices and staff on both sides of the U. S. -Mexico border. The grantee will also undertake the first phase of a program to create a binational quality of life index for the border region. (ME-491)
Supplemental Grants

Fundación Internacional de la Comunidad (FIC)
$55,269 one year
FIC will develop a system for monitoring and evaluating its grant program. (ME-460-A6)

Asociación Mexicana de Uniones de Crédito del Sector Social (AMUCSS)
$107,200 one year
AMUCSS will provide logistical support, technical assistance and training to members of Envíos Confianza, a new association of financial institutions offering banking services, including remittance-cashing, in rural areas. With the participation of Envos Confianza, AMUCSS will have 60 certified payment points and will reach approximately 3,500 new clients. (ME-462-A6)

Beyond Remittances: Women as Breadwinners

As an element of Mexico's gross domestic product, revenues from remittances from migrants abroad have been second only to those generated by the oil industry; remittances constitute the country's fastest growing source of foreign exchange and are crucial to maintaining the balance of trade. But for the Mexicans hoping to survive on them, remittances can fail to meet expectations and disappointment is often compounded by the disruption of family life.

Migramex Asociación Civil (MAC), which works to reduce migration in southern Veracruz, joins a cohort of IAF grantees that focus on migration and development, some of which were profiled in the IAF's journal Grassroots Development in 2006. MAC's professional staff recognized the impact of migration on families and communities and designed a two-year course to prepare 120 community organizers to address these issues. During the final six months of the course, the students undertook research that confirmed that many families left behind do not receive remittances on a regular basis. Moreover, with the men gone, plots remain fallow; families accustomed to subsisting from agriculture must fend for themselves in a cash economy. Inevitably, it falls on women to assume the burden of supporting the family, and the stress can lead to anxiety and depression.

Coping requires initiative and self-sufficiency. Recently, women in the area served by MAC have begun to organize into informal groups to help each other with child care and discuss their concerns and possible solutions. MAC will work with these groups, as well as organize more of them, to improve these women's finances and well-being. IAF-funded feasibility studies conducted by some of the groups will identify assets, such as fallow farm land, that can generate income. Teenagers will learn to care for smaller children and to help with homework while mothers are working. MAC also plans to encourage the creation of savings and loan groups whose members decide how much to set aside when the remittances do arrive, meet weekly to collect the money and use the aggregated funds to make loans according to rules they develop. Finally, MAC will introduce mental health professionals to the problems caused by migration with the goal of strengthening the family support system and providing access to services for women who feel stranded and desperate enough to migrate themselves. Through MAC's program, 160 women are expected to become breadwinners and to create a better life for themselves and their families without leaving home.-Marcy Kelley, Foundation representative

Nicaragua

New Grants

Unión de Cooperativas Agropecuarias Productoras de Café Orgnico (UCPCO)
$353,120 over three years
UCPCO will work with farmers in Madriz to develop their ability to produce and export certified Fair-Trade and organic coffee. It will provide the farmers financial and technical assistance and equipment, will construct an office and a store, and will improve its processing plant to include a quality control laboratory, a drying patio and a storage facility. (NC-278)

Cooperativa Multisectorial Verde Esperanza, R. L. (COMULVERL)
$228,817 over three years
COMULVERL will work in El Jicaral and Santa Rosa del Peon, rural municipalities in the department of Len, to strengthen grassroots organizations in 22 communities; provide farmers credit, materials, training and technical assistance; and make credit and training available to entrepreneurs operating small retail and industrial enterprises. (NC-279)

Fundación Caja Rural San Lorenzo (CARUSALO)
$287,400 over three years
CARUSALO will provide four groups of farmers in Boaco training, technical assistance and credit toward improving their production of beans, rice, vegetables and dragon fruit. It will support the farmers efforts to apply new irrigation technologies, construct crop-collection centers and a greenhouse, and pool their crops to market in volume to wholesalers in Managua. (NC-280)

Asociación para el Desarrollo de la Costa Atlántica PANA PANA (PANA PANA)
$347,300 over three years
PANA PANA will assist residents in 21 communities affected by Hurricane Felix by providing in-kind loans to support crop recovery, cash loans to entrepreneurs, and credit and materials to reconstruct housing. Its training program will strengthen traditional indigenous leadership structures and develop PANA PANA's staff. (NC-281)

Unión de Cooperativas Agropecuarios Héroes y Mártires de Miraflor, R. L. (MIRAFLOR)
$264,453 over three years
MIRAFLOR will work in the Miraflor Nature Reserve, investing in ecotourism infrastructure, the production of organic coffee and organic pesticides, wet-mills for processing coffee beans on farms, water conservation and reforestation, a revolving fund extending loans of cattle, and the local agro-ecological institute. (NC-282)

Asociación de Mujeres Profesionales por el Desarrollo Integral (AMPDI)
$34,685 for nine months
APMDI will collaborate with Voces Caribñeas, Movimiento Nidia White and Organización de Mujeres Afro-Nicaragenses on research and a planning process addressing the economic development priorities of African descendent women in Bilwi, Bluefields and Managua. (NC-283)

A Return to Rural Prosperity

With more arable land than any other Central American country and year-round agricultural productivity, Nicaragua was once known as the bread basket of Central America. Since the late 1970s, however, Nicaraguan farmers have been buffeted by civil unrest, natural disasters, environmental degradation and the vagaries of an increasingly globalized economy. Today only three in 10 Nicaraguans are farmers, a 50 percent decline in the past three decades, and they generate less income than their peers of 30 years ago. The flight of farmers to urban areas has concentrated poverty in rural communities where 75 percent of the residents are poor; 78 percent of Nicaraguans living in extreme poverty, on less than a dollar a day, are rural residents.

In the mountains of Estel, a group of farmers is working through the Unión de Cooperativas Agropecuarios Héroes y Mártires de Miraflor (MIRAFLOR) to restore prosperity. MIRAFLOR is comprised of 400 members of 15 agricultural cooperatives inside the Miraflor Nature Reserve. These individuals have come together to respond to their community's most pressing problems by raising more profitable crops, reversing environmental damage, developing ecotourism and creating educational opportunities.

Their initiatives have already had impressive results. During the 1990s, MIRAFLOR's farmers began converting to organic methods; last year, their coffee certified as organic generated more than $200,000. They also began to reforest denuded areas, practice conservation in critical watersheds and educate their neighbors on the importance of protecting natural resources. Taking advantage of its designation as a protected area, they began to develop the Reserve as a tourist destination. They built rustic cabins, a community museum and a working coffee laboratory; cleared trails to waterfalls, caves and archeological sites; and designed tours tailored to visitors interested in bird-watching, coffee farming and orchids. Today, more than 1,500 tourists visit annually. In 1996, MIRAFLOR developed a technical college. Its first class of 22 students graduated in 2001; seven are now members of MIRAFLOR's board or staff and others hold leadership positions in other institutions.

MIRAFLOR will use its IAF funding to build ecotourism infrastructure, expand its agricultural output using sustainable practices, increase its export of coffee certified as Fair-Trade and organic, and invest in the technical college. Its continued water conservation and reforestation, as well as its development of solar energy, will help maintain the Reserve as a premier attraction for visitors.-Philip Walsh, Foundation representative

Panama

New Grants

Asocación para la Promoción y Acción Social (PAS)
$180,000 over two years
PAS will work with residents and four grassroots groups in three municipios in Coclé and Colón provinces to conserve natural resources by changing agricultural and land-management techniques. In addition to promoting organic farming and the reforestation of watersheds, the grantee will further marketing and develop the administrative skills of the community groups. (PN-289)

Asociación Pro-Artesana Panameña (PROARTESANA)
$225,000 over three years
PROARTESANA will provide 300 craftspeople, mostly women from Panama City, the central provinces and indigenous reserves, the training and technical assistance to improve the skills, earnings, self-esteem, cultural pride and access to tourist and other high-end sales outlets, including via the Internet. (PN-290)

Fundación Biblioteca Nacional de Panamá (FBN)
$251,000 over four years
FBN will develop the public library in Tolé, Chiriquí, into a model facility that will serve as a center where 12,000 residents can become involved in cultural events and community projects. The library will offer research and planning activities, reading and literacy programs, opportunities to participate in the recovery of indigenous oral traditions, and training for teachers, community leaders and parents in the use of its resources. (PN-288)

Programa de Promoción y Desarrollo Social (PRODESO)
$239,725 over two years
PRODESO will work with five watershed committees, local authorities, farmers and other organizations to promote agro-ecological practices that protect the environment while improving the earnings, living conditions and well-being of the residents of the Upper Río Santa Mara Watershed in central Panama. The grantee will strengthen the committees, create sustainable farms, and provide training and technical assistance in reforestation. (PN-287)

Supplemental Grants

Cooperativa de Servicios Multiples Desarrollo Integral de Gualaca, R. L. (COOP)
$10,000 one year
COOP will offset the increased cost of materials and labor for the construction of a multipurpose tourism center and of gasoline, insurance and other vehicle expenses. (PN-280-A1)

Distinctive Crafts for Upscale Outets

Panama is home to a diverse array of cultures, each with its distinctive and dazzling handicrafts. These range from the world-renowned molas of the Kuna to the hair ornaments and embroidered shirts and blouses from Panama's central provinces to dresses, bracelets and tote bags from the autonomous indigenous territory, the Comarca Ngöbe Buglé. In the province of Darién, bordering Colombia, Embera weavers turn out extraordinary baskets and Wounaan carvers fashion vegetable ivory figurines from tagua, the seed of a palm native to southwest Panama. Over the next three years Asociación Pro-Artesana Panameña (PROARTESANA) will help craftspeople representing this varied heritage develop the technical skills and marketing practices that lead to more income. The goal is a place for their products in outlets catering to tourists, including passengers from cruise ships, and to discerning local consumers.

PROARTESANA will work with three groups from Panama City, seven from the central provinces and another seven representing indigenous peoples, including five new groups to be formed by Kuna, Ngöbe Buglé, Embera and Wounaan artisans. In all, between 250 and 300 individuals, mainly women, will participate in PROARTESANA's project, and 600 family members will be better off because of it. PROARTESANA will refine the artisans techniques, improve their access to materials, help them adapt their production to demand, create a quality-control policy and incentives for superior work and innovation, and encourage the basic adjunct features of commercial success, such as prompt delivery. The plan calls for the groups eventually to manage all phases of their business, but until they do PROARTESANA will act as liaison and facilitate the constant communication required to develop sales channels and a customer base.

Important to this process is PROARTESANA's accomplished technical advisor Patricia Maduro, a veteran of years of experience with artisan groups, including the beneficiaries of FUNDAMUJER (PN-267), another Panamanian grantee. PROARTESANA in fact has its roots in FUNDAMUJER and is a good example of the vibrant organizations that IAF grantees sometimes spin off to serve new grassroots groups. In this case, the market and the money are out there for those who produce the splendid selection of crafts from the cultures spanning the length and breadth of the isthmus.-John Reed, Foundation representative

Paraguay

New Grants

Base Educación, Comunicación y Tecnología Alternativa (BASE ECTA)
$155,500 over three years
BASE ECTA will provide sub-grants, training and technical assistance to grassroots organizations undertaking small, community-based development projects, directly benefiting least 3,000 Paraguayans.(PY-194)

Fundación Saraki (Saraki)
$249,315 over two years and six months
Saraki will work with Coordinadora Nacional por la Promoción de los Derechos de las Personas Con Discapacidad (CONAPRODIS) to provide training to 900 representatives of disability rights organizations in Asunción, Caaguazú, Ciudad del Este, Colonel Oviedo, Paraguar and San Isidro, enabling these NGOs to more effectively serve 100,000 Paraguayans with disabilities.(PY-196)

Grupo Sunu (Sunu)
$159,260 over three years
Sunu will work with indigenous Ava Guaraní, Angaité Maskoy and Chamacoco Paraguayans in the departments of Canindeyú, Presidente Hayes and Alto Paraguay to promote their identity, their understanding of their rights as indigenous peoples, and economic, social and cultural development.(PY-195)

Supplemental Grants

Fundación Arlequín Teatro (FAT)
$38,800 one year
FAT will prepare graduates of its theater workshops to teach residents of Lambar and San Lorenzo, in suburban Asunción, to identify and address neighborhood priorities. Workshop graduates will also participate in professional internships.(PY-193-A1)

Reaching Indigenous Paraguayans

As one of Paraguay's two official languages, Guaraní is not only spoken by most Paraguayans but is a defining feature of their country's contemporary society. Its prevalence is proud testament to an indigenous heritage. Overwhelmingly, however, Paraguayans, regardless of ethnicity, have assimilated into their country's multicultural mainstream. According to the 2002 census, just 87,099 individuals, or 2 percent of the population, still identify themselves as indigenous Paraguayans.

The 1992 Paraguayan constitution recognizes the existence of these heterogeneous peoples and provides for their rights, including to land, to equality and to the preservation of their traditions intact. Nonetheless, most live in abject poverty, unable to access the most basic public services. Many who survive from subsistence farming, fishing and hunting in the desolate, semi-arid Chaco have seen their livelihoods threatened by recent droughts. In the Chaco and elsewhere, indigenous communities are struggling to assert their constitutional right to land, but often they lack the knowledge and the resources to process their claims successfully.

Grupo Sunu (Sunu), founded in 2000, is a nongovernmental organization whose mission is to promote the cultural identity of indigenous Paraguayans, further understanding of their legal rights and improve their living conditions. Sunu will use its IAF grant to offer Ava Guaraní, Agaité Maskoy and Chamacoco communities workshops, with training materials published in the Angaité and Ava Guaraní languages, that will help them document ancestral practices. Indigenous leaders will receive technical assistance directed at improving their understanding of international legal instruments on indigenous rights that have been ratified by the Paraguayan government. They will also learn more about gaining access to government services.

Supported by a council representing the three communities, Sunu will collaborate with the Taller de Estudios para la Mejora del Habitat (TEMHA), a network of agricultural professionals, to teach farmers about pest control, organic fertilizers and more efficient irrigation systems. Chamacoco artisans will share traditional designs with each other, improve management of their inventory and work with Sunu to increase sales of jewelry, handbags, accessories and home decorations. Additionally, community residents will acquire the skills to plan self-help projects and apply for funding for them. In all, IAF's grant is expected to benefit benefit 3,600 indigenous Paraguayans in the communities served and will indirectly benefit 6,000 other indigenous Paraguayans.-Gabriela Boyer, Foundation representative

Peru

New Grants

Asociación ARARIWA para la Promoción, Técnico-Cultural Andina (ARARIWA)
$323,855 over three years
ARARIWA will provide training, technical assistance, processing and marketing services, and exchange opportunities to 300 farmers in the Sacred Valley of the Inca as they revive their organic fruit production. (PU-548)

Centro de Estudios y Desarrollo APURIMAC (CEDES-APURIMAC)
$198,212 over two years
CEDES-APURIMAC will provide training, technical assistance, credit and marketing services to more than 900 farm families and their municipal governments in central Peru as they undertake a coordinated program to develop organic agriculture. (PU-546)

Centro Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco (CTTC)
$294,100 over three years
CTTC will provide training, technical assistance, credit and marketing services to weavers in seven indigenous communities in the Sacred Valley of the Inca of the Cusco region. The program will be of special benefit to 350 youths. (PU-547)

Pacocha y Derivados, S. A. (PACOCHA)
$197,000 over two years
PACOCHA will develop its training, technical assistance and marketing services benefiting approximately 260 alpaca-herding families in the 18 communities it serves in the Moquegua region. (PU-549)

Red de Municipalidades Rurales del Perú (REMURPE)
$200,800 over two years
REMURPE will coordinate meetings, conduct surveys and studies of community needs, and offer training, technical assistance, exchanges and an electronic communications network to enable municipalities in the regions of Cusco, Piura, Puno and Ayacucho to access public resources for economic development projects. (PU-550)

Visión para el Desarrollo (VIPADES)
$159,980 over two years
VIPADES will provide training, technical assistance and marketing support, including feasibility studies, to enable 320 farm families in the Puno region to grow herbs and other medicinal plants and process them into natural remedies for sale to retailers. (PU-551)
Supplemental Grants

Asociación Cultural Ayllu Yupaychay (YUPAY)
$96,206 over six months
YUPAY will complete its training of new teachers and community promoters, as well as its orientation of staff in the Ministry of Education, and will evaluate its project in the Cusco region at the end of the academic year. (PU-531-A1)

Asociación de Productores Agropecuarios de Chuquibamba (APROACH)
$77,786 one year
APROACH will provide the training and technical assistance necessary for dairy farmers, cheese-producers and women hog-farmers in Chuquibamba, Arequipa, to increase productivity and receive the health clearances required to market their products through commercial channels. (PU-533-A2)

Asociación Minga-Perú (Minga-Perú)
$84,575 one year
Minga-Perú will expand its network to include 1,400 women from 10 additional indigenous communities on the banks of tributaries of the Amazon River and train 20 women in preventive health practices and income-generation. (PU-527-A4)

Fine Alpaca Knitwear for a Worldwide Clientele

Snowflakes swirl into the freezing hut that had been converted into a meeting hall for the day. Seated on rustic wooden benches waiting for the meeting to begin are a dozen or so men and women, all representing their community, one of 19 stockholders in Pacocha y Derivados, S. A. (PACOCHA), an enterprise wholly owned by 18 indigenous villages and the nongovernmental organization Centro para la Promoción del Desarrollo y Capacitación (CEDCAP). For the past 10 years, the scene has repeated itself in each of the stockholding communities scattered throughout the highlands of the Moquegua region of southern Peru. Men, women and children from a total of 260 herder families attend 18 such annual shareholder meetings held at the end of the Andean winter and in early spring, just before they begin to shear the 28,000 alpacas they tend on pastures some 15,000 feet above sea level. In all of the gatherings, the agenda centers on PACOCHA's reports to the shareholders and on its processing and marketing of the alpaca fiber prized for its lightweight warmth and silken texture.

This year, the discussions also included PACOCHA's proposal to use a three-year grant from the Inter-American Foundation to expand its production of handcrafted, naturally-dyed textiles and to pursue marketing opportunities in Cusco and Puno, both major tourist centers. PACOCHA plans to contract a designer to develop two collections of knitwear that blend traditional motifs with contemporary chic. Currently contemplated are one line for discerning consumers willing to pay a bit more for quality and style, and a second, more affordable line targeting a younger clientele. PACOCHA will also refine the skills of its knitters and weavers, primarily women, through the artisan-to-artisan approach whereby PACOCHA trains a few women from four strategically located communities who then train others living in the more remote areas. Artisans in two larger communities with electricity will master the use of the knitting machines necessary to produce some of the garments.

To sell these ensembles, PACOCHA will develop promotional campaigns directed at both Peruvian and international markets. As a first step, it will open a retail outlet near Lake Titicaca, Perus third most popular tourist site just a few hours from PACOCHAs central processing facilitiesand it will lease space for a shop in the local airport through which tens of thousands of visitors pass. PACOCHA will also launch a Web site, complete with an electronic catalogue, accessible to potential customers throughout the world. The grantees goal is to keep 80 artisans busy knitting and weaving, to provide steady employment for 25 individuals in support and marketing positions, and to boost the income of the 260 families providing the alpaca fiber for the new collections of sweaters, gloves, scarves and caps.-Wilbur Wright, Foundation representative

Uruguay

New Grants

Centro Latinoamericano de Economía Social (CLAEH)
$35,000 over one year
CLAEH will study the feasibility of developing community foundations in Uruguay. (UR-182)

Cooperativa Delicias Criollas Producción y Venta de Servicios (Delicias Criollas)
$149,200 over three years
Delicias Criollas will further develop its 13 affiliated enterprises managed and supplied by 150 women in 10 Uruguayan departments through training and technical assistance in the commercial production of traditional foods, quality control and marketing. (UR-181)

Supplemental Grants

Una Casa Un Sueño (UCUS)
$94,440 one year
UCUS will cover the cost of construction and labor for approximately 30 new homes on land donated by private organizations, benefiting more than 100 Montevideo residents. (UR-179-A4)

Recipes to Boost Earnings

In rural Uruguay, poverty is more severe than in the cities where most Uruguayans live. Compared to city-dwellers, rural Uruguayans have a less nutritious diet, less adequate health services, and fewer education and job opportunities. In this discouraging context, some 2,000 women from throughout the Uruguayan countryside have joined together as the Asociación de Mujeres Rurales de Uruguay (AMRU) to advocate for better conditions.

In 2001, organized into 215 groups, AMRU's members began using their grandmothers recipes to make jams and to can fruit to sell under the brand name Delicias Criollas. Three years later, 150 women belonging to the 12 most enterprising of these groups founded the Cooperativa Delicias Criollas, now a leader in producing and marketing homemade foods. The women have since enhanced the Delicias Criollas line with candy, cheese, pickled vegetables, sauces and baked goods using produce and milk from their farms.

Now the goal is to further diversify production, improve quality control and expand access to markets. Cooperativa Delicias Criollas will use its IAF award to offer the women who run these 12 enterprises training, technical assistance and modest infusions of capital to invest in equipment and infrastructure. With support from the Universidad de la República and the Polo Tecnolgico de Pando, Cooperativa Delicias Criollas will develop at least five new products. A specialized contractor will study the brand's competitive advantage in Chile and Argentina where it will be marketed. Additionally, in space donated by Alur, S. A. , a Uruguayan business, Cooperativa Delicias Criollas will set up a supply center selling basic goods and packaging to the public at wholesale prices and a storage facility available to AMRU members. A low-interest loan from the Uruguayan Ministry of Agriculture and profits from sales will be invested in operating and expanding the center and the facility. The 150 women participating in the project will boost their earnings; another 3,750 rural residents will benefit indirectly from the increased income and from the discounts offered by the supply center.-Gabriela Boyer, Foundation representative

Venezuela

New Grants

Asociación Civil Sin Fines de Lucro Centro de Formación Popular Renaciendo Juntos (CEPOREJUN)
$388,410 over three years
CEPOREJUN will work with artists on the island of Margarita to improve the quality of their crafts through training and technical assistance, build a sales outlet near beach routes for arts, crafts and traditional foods, and introduce Fair-Trade principles. (VZ-200)

Centro de Orientación, Formación y Salud Integral Ángel de la Guarda (COFSIAG)
$27,360 over one year
COFSIAG will work with organizations in four communities in the municipality of Guaraca, state of Carabobo, to obtain baseline information in order to better serve children and other residents with programs that address civic participation, educational and vocational opportunities, problem-solving, decision-making and effective negotiation with public and private institutions. (VZ-205)

Círculos Femeninos Populares Mérida (CFP-Mérida)
$114,025 over two years
CFP-Mrida will raise awareness of the impact of violence against women and children in the states of Mérida and Barinas by conducting a study, disseminating the results and training 55 young men and women in 17 communities to lead workshops that will reach more than 1,000 people. CFP-Mérida will also provide technical assistance and training to improve the organizational skills of members of CFP-Barinas and its leadership programs for women. (VZ-204)

Cooperación Para Un Desarrollo Rural Sustentable (CODESU)
$327,300 over three years
CODESU will work with some 50 coffee farmers organized as Asociación de Productores de Torondoy (ASOPROTOY), in Mérida, to increase their income by producing more and better coffee, building infrastructure, obtaining organic and Fair-Trade certification, marketing specialty coffee in Venezuela and abroad, and cultivating fruits and vegetables that improve soil quality and nutrition. (VZ-199)

Fundación Proyecto Paria (FPP)
$256,855 over two years
FPP will help four cooperatives of cacao farmers in the state of Sucre found and operate a second-tier organization that will work to raise productivity, improve crop quality and processing, and sell cacao in Venezuela and abroad. The grantee will also offer farmers training and technical assistance in cacao cultivation, product improvement and in the administration of their new organization. (VZ-203)

Fundación Tierra Viva (FTV)
$293,900 over three years
FTV will assist 50 farm families in the state of Carabobo in raising their earning potential by improving their cacao production and pursuing organic certification. The grantee will provide training, technical assistance and marketing services. (VZ-202)

Grupo Ambientalista de Reciclaje Everest (GARE)
$157,900 over two years
GARE will develop its recycling enterprise and improve the quality of life in seven communities on the outskirts of Maracaibo, state of Zulia, by training at-risk youths and others in marketable skills, raising environmental awareness, promoting civic participation and raising self-esteem. (VZ-201)

Brewing Success: Coffee Goes Organic

For Venezuelan farmers, the decision to make the transition from conventional to organic farming is not easy. Most are extremely poor, isolated and dependent on intermediaries to buy their products, often at the lowest price. Conversion is a risk that many are unwilling to take alone. In spite of the challenges, an association of farmers in Andean Venezuela plans to beat the odds by partnering to gain an advantage.

The Cooperation for Sustainable Development (CODESU), a rural development organization based in Mrida, helps farmers raise their standard of living through responsible practices and strategic marketing. CODESU's impressive track record includes its IAF-funded project undertaken in the early 1990s in the town of Andres Bello where it assisted Quebrada Azul (VZ-189), a farmers cooperative, with the shift to organic production and to the Fair-Trade market. More than 15 years ago Quebrada Azul marketed its first coffee crop independently of traditional state channels. Today it is known as a Venezuelan pioneer in socially and environmentally responsible coffee farming.

CODESU will use its new IAF grant to work with 50 coffee farmers organized as the Asociación de Productores de Torondoy (ASOPROTOY). Torondoy, in the municipality of Justo Briceo, is one of the poorest communities in the state of Mrida; it has high rates of malnutrition, low levels of education and very few employment opportunities. But it is located in a fertile watershed, rich in biodiversity, whose climate is ideally suited to coffee cultivation.

CODESUs goal in Torondoy is to boost income by helping growers produce higher-value coffee. CODESU will use its IAF funding to update ASOPROTOYs wet-mill and coffee-processing center, construct and equip a quality-control laboratory, and provide training that leads to organic and Fair-Trade certification. In the process, farmers will learn to cultivate fruits and vegetables that improve soil quality, enrich their diet and, transformed into jams, flours and candies, can provide another source of income. As the work progresses, CODESU will assist farmers in marketing their products to international buyers. CODESUs program also includes exchanges with the farmers of Quebrada Azul whose founding goals were similar to those now embraced by ASOPROTOY: education; self-sufficiency via crop diversification, quality control, and improved farm management; and support for community services. With Quebrada Azul as a mentor, ASOPROTOY should avoid some of the pitfalls in the organic transition and could accomplish its goals within three to five years.-Zakiya Carr Johnson, Foundation representative