Fundación Alternativa 3, Estrategias de Desarrollo Comunitario (A3), $260,350 over two years
Working with grassroots organizations, A3 will expand its program of economic development and microcredit to reach an additional 690 families in four communities of Greater Buenos Aires and will train staff of Comunidad Organizada Unidos para Crecer (Crecer) to apply its approach to microlending in other communities. (AR-360)
COOPSOL Ltda. (COOPSOL), $70,700
COOPSOL will provide training and technical assistance to 70 beekeepers in Formosa and Chaco, open two additional extraction centers that meet the requirements for exporting honey certified as fair-trade and will study the feasibility of growing and marketing capers. (AR-347-A1)
Fundación Pro Vivienda Social (FPVS), $129,845 over 18 months
FPVS will develop a center for community leaders and train 300 employees of nongovernmental organizations and other residents of Greater Buenos Aires as community organizers. (AR-341-A2)
Circo Social del Sur (CSS), $35,320
CSS will use circus arts to teach other skills to children, teenagers and young adults in low-income neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. (AR-352-A1)
*This list includes only supplemental grants for $10,000 or more. All supplemental grants are for a period of one year unless otherwise indicated.
Credit and Networks toward ProsperityThe communities that make up the conourbano on the periphery of Buenos Aires are enclaves of migrants from the interior of Argentina and neighboring countries, including Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru. Often unaware of their rights, and often employed in the informal economy, they are isolated from contemporary Argentine life by culture, language and fear—of authority and the unknown. Fundación Alternativa 3, Estrategias de Desarrollo Comunitario (A3) was founded in 2001 by a group of successful businessmen, some retired, who were determined to address the circumstances of the residents of these neighborhoods and the barriers between them and the rest of Buenos Aires. Working through grassroots organizations, A3 provides access to credit for improvement to existing homes and the development of microenterprises. To date, it has invested more than $1.2 million in 4,500 loans, of between $100 and $2,200, extended to more than 1,300 borrowers. (The average loan is $400.) It has developed a network of 30 community organizations and socially responsible businesses.
A3 plans to use its IAF award to expand its program of economic development to reach 690 additional families in the conourbano. In collaboration with the participating grassroots organizations, A3 expects to develop three networks of residents who will work to make their family-run businesses more competitive by pooling their knowledge and resources and by purchasing materials and bidding on contracts as a group. As part of their social engagement, Argentine and multinational corporations will offer the networks training in business and organizational development.
A3’s series of training sessions in joint purchasing, marketing, accounting and other areas, followed by on-site technical assistance, will help residents access services and resources available through the Argentine government and private sector. Some grassroots groups will offer space on their premises for A3’s credit programs or branches. Other groups that plan to manage their own credit funds will benefit from A3’s manuals and materials providing guidance in managing a fund and expanding business opportunities through solidarity lending, an approach pioneered by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus. A3’s version requires borrowers to apply for individual loans as a group and guarantee each other’s repayment. A3 will train eight credit counselors to staff new bank branches and a nongovernmental organization, all of which will apply A3’s approach to microlending, including in communities in which A3 does not yet have a presence.
The professionals who staff A3 hope that this access to credit and the networks created can address the poverty and isolation of entire communities, reducing their residents’ vulnerability and improving their quality of life. More than 1,420 families are expected to benefit. —Jeremy Coon, IAF representative
Plenty Belize (PlentyBZ), $310,000 over four years
PlentyBZ will support home and school gardens, school kitchens and fairs in the Toledo district, improving nutrition for 3,620 Belizeans. (BE-110)
Sustainable Harvest International–Belize (SHI-Bz), $297,380 over three years
SHI-Bz will work with 250 farmers of indigenous, Garifuna and Creole descent toward the application of agricultural methods compatible with the responsible use of the environment and will help them market their crops. (BE-111)
Horn of PlentyA cacophony of languages blended with the insistent rhythms of a recent Bob Marley festival, creating a vibrant, multicultural din that drifted across the central park in Punta Gorda and filled the sultry Caribbean night. The ease with which residents of this southernmost province of Belize alternate among English, Spanish, Belizean Kriol, Maya and Garifuna, the language spoken by African descendants from coastal Central America, along with a smattering of Chinese and Hindi, testifies to the cultural diversity of Toledo, the poorest and least developed district in the country.
But diversity is not characteristic of the local diet and malnutrition is a fact of life among Toledo’s approximately 30,000 inhabitants. Crop failures and a limited understanding of food nutritional values account for an overemphasis on rice, corn and beans and for an insufficient intake of the vitamins and minerals essential to human development and good health. The staff of Plenty Belize, a nongovernmental organization in Punta Gorda Town, wants to change that pattern by bolstering the meal program in 16 schools with gardens cultivated by the students. Supported by their teachers, the local Parent-Teachers’ Association and the NGO’s local and international volunteers, students will grow a wide range of nutritious produce to supplement the government-issued food staples routinely distributed to schools. The goal is to introduce new fruits and vegetables and revive the taste for traditional varieties no longer on the menu. Up to 20 enterprising students will receive help with planting gardens at home, thereby bringing the benefits of better nutrition to entire families.
In addition to infrastructure and materials for the gardens and for school kitchens, Plenty Belize will publish a garden manual and a recipe book and will organize a “bank” that lends tools to gardeners. Annual fairs will celebrate “graduation” into the ranks of those schools whose gardens and kitchens become self-sufficient. Punta Gorda Town will be the site of a yearly district-wide fair that promotes sound nutrition among residents past school age. Plenty Belize’s reach extends from Toledo’s torrid Caribbean communities to misty Mayan villages in the mountains on the border with Guatemala. The hope is that its message about nutrition will resonate throughout this district.—John M. Reed, IAF representative
Desarrollo Social y Sostenible de Bolivia (DESSBOL), $275,440 over three years
DESSBOL will provide training in and technical assistance with agroforestry related to the production, processing and marketing of native cacao, thereby improving the income of 170 indigenous Tsimane and Mosetén families in the Pilón de Lajas area and 100 indigenous Tacana families in the Madidi Park of northern La Paz department. (BO-515)
Instituto Para el Hombre, Agricultura y Ecología (IPHAE), $399,670 over three years
IPHAE will expand and consolidate diversified parcels located in secondary and degraded forest areas, support pig-farming and beekeeping, and develop products processed from cacao, the fruit of the peach palm and other native plants. Some 500 families from 60 communities in five municipalities in the Beni department are expected to benefit from a more reliable food supply and better income. (BO-516)
Centro de Investigación Educativa (CIE), $50,000 over one year
CIE will work with 65 weavers from five rural communities in Bustillos province, Norte de Potosí, to improve their skills and diversify their production of traditional textiles. (BO-517)
Centro de Capacitación y Formación para Mujeres (CCIMCA), $127,637 over two years
CCIMCA will expand the educational outreach of Foro Ciudadano Municipal de Mujeres (AMUPIE), incorporate additional women’s organizations, make legal services and counseling available to victims of domestic violence and rape, and provide training that examines the application of provisions relating to women’s rights in the new Bolivian constitution. More than 540 participants new to CCIMCA’s programs will benefit. (BO-490-A5)
TUKUYPAJ, $114,680 over 18 months
TUKUYPAJ will bring more families into its program of community-managed trout-farming in high-valley Andean lagoons in municipalities of Cochabamba department and will develop a breeding facility to supply fingerlings. (BO-494-A4)
Apoyo Para el Campesino Indigena del Oriente Boliviano (APCOB), $120,816
APCOB will develop community-based timber enterprises and encourage the responsible use of a tropical rain forest. It offers training, technical assistance and educational opportunities that will benefit indigenous residents of seven communities of Monte Verde, the Chiquitano territory in Santa Cruz department. (BO-502-A5)
Formación Solidaria (FORMASOL), $62,003
FORMASOL will improve the skills of 42 community leaders working to develop radio broadcasts for an anticipated audience of 20,000 Chiquitano and Guarayo Bolivians, furthering their awareness of their rights as indigenous peoples and their understanding of democratic practices. It will conduct workshops on conflict resolution, leadership and audiovisual production techniques. (BO-503-A3)
TIERRA will reach an additional 20 communities in various regions with its program aimed at protecting interests in land, reducing land disputes and consolidating fragmented holdings. (BO-506-A2)
Fundación Taller de Iniciativas en Estudios Rurales y Reforma Agraria (TIERRA), $149,850 over 18 months
TIERRA will take its program into 35 communities in Viacha province and other regions and produce three texts on its methodology for the municipality of Viacha, policy-makers and other interested parties. (BO-506-A3)
Agroforestry in an Amazonian Corner of the Beni-Pando
Many conservation programs in the Amazon basin focus on protecting swaths of rainforest and the biodiversity they contain by declaring the areas national parks, indigenous territories or otherwise regulated zones. But also crucial to repairing deforestation and degradation are strategies directed at restoring the land and its resources while enabling farmers to improve their conditions. Instituto Para el Hombre, Agricultura y Ecología (IPHAE), a nongovernmental organization working in the Beni-Pando region of eastern Bolivia since the early l990s, has been developing technology that works toward a new equilibrium by reversing environmental and socioeconomic decline.
IPHAE’s stratified forest system calls for planting a variety of crops and trees that mature at different rates, some taking a few years, others more than a decade, and that reach different heights. Beekeeping and a small-animal component provide additional sources of food without stressing the environment. Each species plays a discrete role in the configuration of a small plot to increase yields and minimize pressure on natural resources. Together they work to protect the soil, conserve water, control plant diseases and otherwise maintain the ecosystem. Madre Tierra Amazonia, a commercial enterprise organized by IPHAE and owned by participating associations of farmers, IPHAE staff and several private-sector groups, is expected eventually to increase farmer income by developing products that add value to their peach palm, cacao and other crops from stratified plots.
IPHAE has pioneered the application of agroforestry to grassroots development in this corner of the Beni-Pando over some two decades. Its program has drawn on the experiences and human resources of Brazilian and other Amazonian networks. Because of IPHAE, agroforestry is an element in the development plans of four municipal governments that, along with the local state university, support the program with public funds. IPHAE will use its 2010 grant to continue work undertaken with support from a 2005 IAF award, which emphasizes the inclusion of women. Another 500 farming families from 60 communities are expected to benefit from workshops, on-site technical assistance, advice on marketing and opportunities to acquire agro-forestry skills through visits to other farms. Via radio programs and video products, IPHAE will share the advantages of its approach with communities throughout this micro-region.—Kevin Healy, IAF representative
Federação de Instituições Beneficentes (FIB), $176,465 over 18 months
FIB will extend its course in construction skills to reach 160 women from favelas in Rio de Janeiro, whom it will train as masons, carpenters, electricians and plumbers (BR-855)
Cooperativa das Trabalhadoras Autônomas da Pesca e Acessórios Artesanais
(COPESCARTE), $ 122,780 over three years
COPESCARTE will refine the skills of its 21 artisans who work with fish-skin leather and will convert a donated space into a tannery and office. Better sales should benefit the workers, their families and 30 other Brazilians expected to join the cooperative. (BR-856)
Centro de Educação Popular e Formação Social (CEPFS), $346,155 over three years
CEPFS will offer technical assistance and training that improves farm production in eight municipalities of Paraíba and will introduce technologies appropriate to this arid area. (BR-858)
ALTPET will reach 1,200 additional students with its course to prepare for the vestibular, the examination required to pursue a post-secondary education, and will begin its transformation into a technical training institution. An additional 34,000 residents of Petrópolis, Manaus, will gain access to ALTPET’s technology center and library. (BR-859)
Associação de Estudos, Orientação, e Assistência Rural (ASSESOAR), $380,765 over three years
ASSESOAR will train 2,000 farmers and public officials in eight municipalities in southeastern Paraná to develop and manage “agricultural forests” and will build low-cost, low-maintenance silos and cisterns. Through workshops, exchanges and brochures, an additional 25,000 Brazilians will become familiar with the applicable techniques. (BR-860)
Fundação Margarida Maria Alves (FDDHMMA), $99,930 over two years
FDDHMMA will expand its training for legal specialists (juristas populares) to reach two additional classes of 30 students each in João Pessoa and will develop a shortened course to meet the demand in rural communities in Paraíba. (BR-861)
Associação Vianei de Cooperação e Intercambio no Trabalho, Educação, Cultura e Saúde (AVICITECS), $303,365 over two years
AVICITECS will work with women in 21 communities in Santa Catarina to diversify and expand micro- and small businesses and their production of organic crops and to reforest the Mata Atlântica. (BR-862)
Federação das Indústrias do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FIRJAN), $100,000
FIRJAN will work with Brazilian businesses to match this supplement and finance 10 new subgrants from its Social Development Fund. (BR-802-A5)
Instituto Ethos (ETHOS), $100,000
ETHOS’s working group will study the role of race and gender in the personnel practices of the 500 largest Brazilian companies and will conduct workshops for representatives of government, businesses, and nongovernmental and international organizations, who will disseminate the information. (BR-805-A6)
Instituto dos Direitos da Criança e do Adolescente (INDICA), $30,000
INDICA, which works with children and adolescents in Brasilia to promote inclusion and reduce violence, will organize an event that celebrates diversity and discourages prejudice on the basis of race, ethnicity and disability. (BR-833-A1)
Cariocas Crack the Concrete Ceiling
An idea came to Deise Gravina when President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced a cornerstone initiative of his economic policy, Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC), or Program for Accelerated Growth, back in 2007.
PAC calls for the Brazilian government, state-owned companies and the private sector to coordinate their investment in construction, sanitation, energy, transportation and logistics. Gravina, a retired civil engineer, heads Federação de Instituições Beneficentes (FIB), an umbrella organization founded in 1957 that today manages several community development initiatives in Rio de Janeiro. Foreseeing that these infrastructure projects would fuel a demand for a skilled workforce—as would the preparations for Rio to host World Cup matches in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016—Gravina launched FIB’s Projeto “Mão na Massa,” or, colloquially, “getting our hands dirty.”
Through Projeto Mão na Massa, FIB prepares cariocas, or women residents of Rio, for the lucrative, and traditionally male-dominated, construction trades. In just two years, FIB trained more than 140 women as construction workers, and its sterling placement rate has attracted attention. More than 70 percent of the women trained found jobs immediately following graduation, nearly doubling their personal income. Other graduates have started small businesses offering construction and renovation services. Projeto Mão na Massa has already forged significant partnerships: Petrobras, the state-owned petroleum company, and Eletrobras, the state-owned power company, are both donors. The National Service for Industrial Education (SENAI), the Social Service for Construction Companies (SECONCI), the Organization of Cooperatives of the State of Rio de Janeiro (OCB-SESCOOP) and the Brazilian Ministry of Justice offer instruction related to specific elements of the curriculum. Abrigo María Imaculada, a nursery, provides child care and offers space at reasonable rent.
With its IAF grant, FIB will train an additional 160 women as masons, carpenters, electricians and plumbers and will offer them parallel instruction in related subjects, such as occupational safety, reading floor plans and business skills, and in Portuguese and math. Students will specialize by opting for another 120 hours of instruction in a single technical area. The final hands-on phase of the course requires the women to apply their new skills toward renovating a small building or constructing an addition to an existing structure, often at the request of FIB member organizations. This practicum is expected to improve conditions for 900 other Brazilians during the grant period as well as open a window of opportunity for women from some of Rio’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.—Amy Kirschenbaum, IAF representative
Nonprofit Enterprise and Self-Sustainability Team (NESsT), $227,840 for three years
NESsT will offer victims of the February earthquake counseling services and financial assistance toward recovering their means of earning a living and will assist grassroots organizations with the development of enterprises that generate revenue for their operations. (CH-518)
Microenterprises and the Quake
Registering 8.8 on the Richter scale, the earthquake that struck southern Chile on Feb. 27 left hundreds dead and a long swath of territory in smoky rubble. The Nonprofit Enterprise and Self-Sustainability Team (NESsT), founded in 1997 in the United States and incorporated in Chile in 2004, normally helps civil-society organizations launch enterprises that boost their impact by diversifying their resource base. Since February, its focus has included survivors of the earthquake. With this second IAF grant, NESsT is offering them financial and psychological support as well as targeting their grassroots organizations.
Through its fund, called “Levantando Chile,” or raising Chile, NESsT will award subgrants to four grassroots organizations that will aid 400 microentrepreneurs in recovering from the disaster by repairing their workshops and other infrastructure, replacing tools and purchasing the materials and supplies necessary to rebuild their businesses. The subgrants will be used toward reopening commercial channels, obtaining technical assistance and organizing promotional events. Psychologists contracted by NESsT will be available to microentrepreneurs who feel they need to develop coping strategies in order to return to work.
Assisting grassroots organizations with becoming self-sufficient is what NESsT does best and it will help 10 in southern Chile via a three-phase process. First, it will hold a workshop in which the organizations’ representatives will draft an evaluation of the feasibility of a business to submit to NESsT. Based on the potential of the businesses proposed, NESsT will select seven organizations whose representatives will learn to conduct market research and otherwise evaluate the likelihood that the ventures will turn a profit. Representatives of five of these businesses will participate in a third phase, a one-day workshop in which they develop more detailed plans that build on the draft from the first phase. Organizations will be eligible for small subgrants to help cover costs associated with the third phase, including, for example, consultant fees. The three organizations with the plans that NESsT judges most likely to succeed can apply for subgrants of $10,000 toward starting or improving their enterprises. Selected enterprises will be invited to join the NESsT Venture Fund, which provides financial and other support, including multiyear mentoring.—Juanita Roca, IAF representative
Asociación de Jóvenes Líderes para el Progreso de Villa Conto (Ajoliproqp), $70,025 over 18 months
Ajoliproqp will work with two Afro-Colombians communities to diversify and improve crops, livestock production and fish farming. (CO-520)
Consejo Comunitario de la Comunidad Negra del Río Raposo-Palenque Regional el Congal (CCR), $52,453 over one year
CCR will help 13 Afro-Colombian communities draft regulations related to self-government, demarcate a protected area and develop a strategy for conservation. (CO-521)
Fundación Sumapaz (Sumapaz) $90,267 over 18 months
Sumapaz will work with 60 leaders drawn from 150 grassroots groups and community-based networks in Comuna 3, a neighborhood in Medellín, toward developing skills in planning, conflict resolution and the promotion of human rights. It will also create an information center whose operations will be funded by the municipality. (CO-522)
Corporación Buen Ambiente (Corambiente), $314,300 over three years
Corambiente plans to develop eight associations of farmers in Santander and Norte de Santander and increase their production of nutrient-rich foods for consumption and sale. (CO-523)
Corporación Red Colombiana de Organizaciones Comunitarias Ambientalmente Amigables—Red Colombia Verde (RCV), $320,350 over two years
RCV will work to improve communication and collaboration among its 42 community-based member-enterprises from throughout Colombia. Its hands-on training and subgrant fund will emphasize production and marketing. (CO-524)
Fundación Natura (Natura), $333,930 over two years and six months
African descendents in El Valle, department of Chocó, will work with Natura to develop their governing structure, improve their food supply and increase income from tourist services and attractions, such as their community-managed turtle sanctuary. (CO-525)
Corporación Asesorias para el Desarrollo (ASDES), $99,563
ASDES will train more than 200 African descendants in their constitutional rights, natural-resource management and self-governance and will provide legal assistance in 14 African descendent territories in Tumaco and Buenaventura, resulting in a body of regulations and norms consistent with Colombian law. (CO-504-A6)
Federación Nacional de Organizaciones No Gubernamentales para el Desarrollo de las Comunidades Afrocolombianas (FEDEAFRO), $16,000
FEDEAFRO will produce a book and a video based on research conducted in Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities in Cali and Buenaventura. Both products will highlight the use of statistical and census data and socioeconomic indicators. (CO-508-A3)
Corporación Transparencia por Colombia (Transparencia), $109,063
In collaboration with RedEAmérica member Fundación Corona and other partners, Transparencia will provide grants, training and additional support to community organizations encouraging residents’ participation in the oversight of government entities and in discussions of the issues affecting their lives. (CO-511-A1)
Fundación para el Etnodesarrollo de los LLanos Orientales de Colombia (Etnollano), $89,934
Etnollano will continue to improve the handicrafts of Sikuani, Amorua and Piaroa artisans in indigenous territories along the Orinoco River in the eastern Amazon region of northern Vichada. (CO-512-A1)
Empresa Cooperativa del Sur del Cauca (COSURCA), $30,450
COSURCA will develop a center for processing coffee and fruit. (CO-513-A1)
Strength in Numbers 2.0
Among the difficulties facing community-based enterprises trying to succeed in the marketplace, producing goods in sufficient volume and of competitive quality tops the list. In 2007, 42 such enterprises, all committed to the responsible use of environmental resources, joined forces to overcome their common challenges and formed Corporación Red Colombiana de Organizaciones Comunitarias Ambientalmente Amigables—Red Colombia Verde (RCV). RCV’s members, scattered through five Colombian regions, include associations, cooperatives and federations engaged mostly in agriculture but also in producing crafts and catering to eco-tourists. The smallest group consists of nine families, the largest has 10,300.
RCV plans to use its IAF grant to contract four specialists who will apply a methodology developed by Corporación Regional PROCASUR, a Chilean nongovernmental organization, which customizes training sessions based on an assessment of each member. A specially tailored Web 2.0 application will further collaboration among the diverse businesses by allowing users to interact, exchange data and create content via any computer connected to the Internet—along the lines of social-networking sites, blogs and wikis. Feedback from users at several stages of the software’s development should ensure that it meets their needs. The application will incorporate materials developed by the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC), which has been training RCV and its members in responsible business strategies for the past year.
Deployment of the Web application has its challenges. The computer skills of RCV’s members range from sophisticated to rudimentary to nonexistent. To bridge the gaps, an agreement between RCV and Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA), the Colombian government’s vocational program, provides for up to 2,000 hours of training in Windows, Microsoft Office and navigating the Internet. RCV is also negotiating with the government’s Programa Nacional de Telecentros, which provides public access to computers, so that network members without a terminal receive priority.
Practical and online training are designed to develop the skills of RCV’s members, transforming them from trainees into trainers who help each other improve production and marketing. The six members identified as requiring the most assistance with funding their business plans will receive small grants applicable to specific components. Working together, the members of RCV hope to see their businesses prosper.—Juanita Roca, IAF representative
Costa RicaNew Grants
Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Profesionales para la Solidaridad Social R.L. (CoopeSoliDar), $64,800 over 18 months
CoopeSoliDar will collaborate with organizations of fishers as well as businesses, the Costa Rican Coast Guard and the municipal government of Garrabito, Puntarenas, to improve the oversight of a community-managed marine reserve and to develop a program of economic alternatives that reduces pressure on marine resources. (CR-329)
Asociación BriBripa Kaneblo (ABK), $79,250 over two years
ABK, formed by and for indigenous Bribri Costa Ricans, will develop a tourism enterprise by constructing a cultural center, clearing trails and designating observation sites and camping areas while preserving and protecting the community’s forests. It will offer training in organic agricultural methods to apply on the community’s land. Approximately 70 Bribri will participate and another 350 individuals will benefit indirectly from the project. (CR-330)
Asociación Mixta de Piangueros de Purruja (APIAPU), $39,990 over 18 months
APIAPU will design a plan for harvesting mollusks that assures future stocks in area mangroves, will investigate options for growth and will work toward obtaining health and unemployment insurance coverage for its 32 members. Another 30 independent mollusk collectors will benefit indirectly from its project. (CR-331)
Asociación de Guías de Turismo de Piedras Blancas (AGTPB), $30,650 over 18 months
AGTPB will promote community-based tourism in the Piedras Blancas National Park in Puntarenas and surrounding areas by training young members to become licensed guides, conducting a feasibility study to define the services to be offered, acquiring administrative, communication and negotiation skills, and holding workshops on the environment in local schools. (CR-332)
Empresa para el Desarrollo, S.A. (EDESA), $188,200
EDESA will increase its loan fund to meet the growing demand from community businesses and will incorporate principles and practices of grassroots development into its training. (CR-328-A1)
Managing an EstuaryThe community of Tarcoles lies at the mouth of the Gulf of Nicoya where the Tempisque and Tarcoles rivers flow into the Pacific. Fishing has been residents’ primary source of income, but now the estuary is in crisis and its users are in conflict. Industrial-scale overharvesting, contamination and other harmful practices threaten these waters and their resources as do the effects of global warming. According to local fishers, shrimp and lobster, once abundant, are scarce and fish caught are becoming smaller and smaller, adversely affecting both their food supply and their livelihood. An additional environmental concern is the unfettered development of the area surrounding Tarcoles for tourism.
Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Profesionales para la Solidaridad Social R.L. (CoopeSoliDar) has worked for 10 years with former IAF grantee Cooperativa de Pescadores de Tarcoles R.L. (CoopeTarcoles) to protect this estuary on which so many Costa Ricans depend. Work toward its management by the community began in 2004 when CoopeTarcoles amended its bylaws to add protection of natural resources to the cooperative’s mission. At the time, the government of Costa Rica had no legal mechanism for officially delegating to a community the management of a marine conservation area. But the government’s Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuacultura (INCOPESCA) appointed a commission to develop standards for creating community-managed marine reserves, applicable not only to Tarcoles but to all Costa Rican fishing communities. With a mechanism in place, the two cooperatives petitioned for an official designation of the Tarcoles marine area as community-managed.
Now CoopeSoliDar plans to use its IAF grant to bring together local officials, captains of fishing vessels, small-scale fishers and other residents of Tarcoles to develop a governing structure for the marine reserve. It is expected to include standards for responsible fishing and incentives to encourage their application, a monitoring and evaluation system, an educational campaign and a program to identify economic alternatives to fishing. A highlight of CoopeSoliDar’s program will be an exchange with staff from Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible (CCMSS), a Mexican grantee working in community forestry and alternative livelihoods. This makes sense because a community-managed forest reserve struggles with many of the same issues facing a community-managed marine reserve.—Marcy Kelley, IAF representative
Visión Social, $99,439 over two years
Visión Social will provide training and technical assistance to grassroots organizations in and around the city of Compostela de Azua to improve their administrative skills and their effectiveness in analyzing and solving community problems. (DR-340)
Movimiento para el Auto-Desarrollo Internacional de la Solidaridad (MAIS), $197,901 over three years
MAIS will offer supplemental classes in academic subjects and skills training to children and adolescents who are likely to drop out of school. Parents and teachers, members of community-based organizations and churches, and other residents of Puerto Plata will receive complementary training to raise their awareness of children’s rights. The program includes vocational courses for teenagers and adults. (DR-341)
Fundación Taigüey (Taigüey), $15,650 over six months
Taigüey and Cooperativa para el Desarrollo de La Ciénaga (COOPDECI) completed construction of an agro-processing center and refined its recipes for jams and jellies to be sold commercially. (DR-336-A2)
Better Choices for Young Dominicans
Pristine beaches, distinctive Victorian architecture and a majestic view of the mountains nearby once made Puerto Plata a premier destination for tourists. But today the northern Dominican city finds itself eclipsed by luxury resorts and no longer a port of call for cruise ships. Infrastructure is crumbling, poverty is widespread and desperate local businesses cater increasingly to the sex trade. For young people forced to drop out of school to work, the worst form of child abuse and exploitation is a clear and present danger.
Movimiento Para el Auto-Desarrollo Internacional de la Solidaridad (MAIS) was founded in 1998 for the sole purpose of protecting the children of Puerto Plata. To accomplish that goal, MAIS, a member of the international network End Child Prostitution Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), focuses on helping young people stay in school, teaching them to think critically and make wise decisions, and encouraging family and community involvement in education.
Reinforcing schoolwork is the backbone of the MAIS program. With its IAF grant, the organization will target the 300 children of Puerto Plata who are considered most at risk of dropping out of school because they have repeated multiple grades and have been physically or emotionally abused or are currently employed in violation of Dominican law. MAIS plans to offer these struggling students the academic support they need to progress from one grade to the next and to complete their education. Through complementary training, parents, teachers and members of neighborhood boards, mothers clubs and church groups will become aware of the rights of children to an education and a safe environment that includes protection from abuse and exploitation. Adults in a network of participating organizations will learn to recognize and report violations and, eventually, to intervene to prevent or resolve them.
To date, MAIS has reached 800 students in Puerto Plata and 85 percent have completed their basic education. In partnership with the Dominican Republic’s National Institute for Technical and Vocational Training (INFOTEP), it will work to improve job prospects for teenagers and their parents through training that leads to certification as bakers, upholsterers, electricians and cosmetologists. A good basic education and marketable skills should offer the best hope for a successful future.—Nancy Díaz, IAF program staff assistant
Corporación Pesquera Artesanal-José Mercedes Valencia (CPAJMV), $169,155 over two years and six months
CPAJMV will update its infrastructure and improve the skills, tools and equipment of 120 fisherwomen in coastal parishes in the province of Esmeraldas. (EC-418)
Fundación Papá Roncón (FUNPARON), $98,250 over two years
FUNPARON will work with 65 children, adolescents and their families in the parish of Borbón, canton of Eloy Alfaro, province of Esmeraldas. The young people will learn to build and play Afro-Ecuadorian marimba instruments and FUNPARON will study the market for the traditional instruments and music. (EC-419)
Asociación de Mujeres Afroecuatorianas “Timburé del Futuro” (AMATIF), $34,000 over 18 months
AMATIF will develop a plan to promote women’s leadership, manage community-owned natural resources and agricultural production, assure a more reliable food supply, increase income and otherwise improve the quality of life for more than 400 women in Ríos Santiago, Cayapas and Onzoles, Esmeraldas. More than 2,500 other residents will benefit indirectly from this planning process. (EC-421)
Fundación Afro-Ecuatoriana de Desarrollo Social Jóvenes Progresando (FAEDSJP), $35,410 over one year
FAEDSJP and families of children enrolled in its soccer program will develop proposals to improve living conditions in Las Orquídeas, Esmeraldas, and surrounding neighborhoods. The 300 Afro-Ecuadorians involved include 200 young people between 7 and 17; another 1,200 residents of nearby communities will benefit indirectly. (EC-422)
Corporación Ser Paz (SER PAZ), $100,000
The supplementary funds will help SER PAZ recover from a fire that raged through its offices and organize activities offering an alternative to violence in a 50-block area of Guayaquil. (EC-397-A3)
Corporación para el Desarrollo y la Creatividad Productiva (FUNDES), $98,262
FUNDES will provide additional training and technical assistance to subgrantees of Fondo Semilla, which supports grassroots projects in the province of Manabi. (EC-403-A2)
Cámara Artesanal de Esmeraldas (CADE), $97,675
CADE will use the results of a market study to help some 450 African descendants in the province of Esmeraldas improve their production and sale of arts and crafts. (EC-405-A2)
Agrupación Afroecuatoriana “Mujeres Progresistas” (AAMP), $12,230 over two years
AAMP will develop the skills and businesses of Afro-Ecuadorian women in Cenepa and Nigeria, two communities in Guayaquil, by forming additional microcredit groups, providing training and technical assistance, and extending the services of its community bank to include loans of investment capital to individual and cooperative enterprises. (EC-412-A1)
A Focus on Fisherwomen
Ecuadorians insist that the seafood from the waters off their shores is the most flavorful on the planet. Even the most discriminating gourmet would probably agree after sampling the ubiquitous ceviche and delicious regional specialties such as encocados, fresh fish or prawns in a rich coconut sauce served with sides of rice and fried plantains. One doesn’t have to go to Ecuador to enjoy its harvest from the Pacific. Tuna, shrimp and sardines are among the exports from Ecuadorian fisheries that reach consumers worldwide. With 1,500 kilometers of coastline, the country derives 20 percent of its non-oil gross domestic product from its fishing industry, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
But Ecuadorians who fish on a reduced scale, using small, poorly equipped boats, face challenges. In the province of Esmeraldas, located on the northern coast, where fishers are often of indigenous or African descent, they struggle to earn a living in communities characterized by inadequate infrastructure, including schools, and few opportunities to improve conditions. In 2005, a handful of Afro-Ecuadorian fisherwomen in Esmeraldas launched Corporación Pesquera Artesanal-Jose Mercedes Valencia (CPAJMV), a community-based business that they hoped would boost their earnings by allowing them to process the fish they catch. CPAJMV has since grown to include 120 women who fish and also clean, dress and fillet the catch for sale to restaurants, retail shops and home cooks. While the enterprise has increased the workers’ income, it has not yet been able to provide them a steady paycheck.
CPAJMV plans to use its IAF grant to change that by improving storage facilities and business skills and expanding its market into neighboring inland provinces. Workers will receive training in essential management and marketing skills and will have opportunities to learn from other fishing cooperatives and small businesses. The purchase of a freezer will allow for longer storage. Under less compulsion to sell its entire inventory immediately, CPAJMV can set some aside to freeze for sale during the off-season, when prices are higher, keeping ceviche and encocados on tables in Esmeraldas throughout the year.—Nancy Díaz, IAF program staff assistant
Asociación Cooperativa de Producción Agropecuaria La Alternativa (ACPALA), $73,450 over two years
ACPALA will help boost the income of farmers in Sonsonate and Ahuachapán who process tropical fruits and market the juice, pulp, sauce and beverages. The cooperative will draft a business plan, provide its members the training and technical assistance necessary for better products and sales, expand its line, and improve the infrastructure and equipment of its processing center. (ES-242)
Salvadoreños en el Mundo (SEEM), $50,000 over one year
SEEM will work with residents in Tecoluca, San Vicente, to improve their income and living conditions. It plans to incorporate Salvadorans living abroad into activities, create a database of their skills and develop a proposal for an income-generating project that uses diaspora talent and encourages community participation. (ES-243)
Fundación Red de Sobrevivientes y Personas con Discapacidad (Red de Sobrevivientes), $289,045 over two years
Working with Red de Sobrevivientes, Salvadorans with disabilities from eight departments will develop their grassroots associations, microbusinesses and agricultural initiatives. The program includes support groups for amputees struggling to cope with their condition. (ES-244)
Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos (Pro-Búsqueda), $179,175 over two years
Pro-Búsqueda plans to serve 250 Salvadorans who were separated from their families during the civil war or were affected by “disappearances” as a result of the armed conflict. It will help them develop a more reliable food supply, create opportunities for employment, fund microbusinesses and offer scholarships enabling some to complete vocational training or work toward a university degree. (ES-245)
Voluntarios Construyendo El Salvador (VOCES), $149,040 over three years
VOCES will offer residents in 27 communities technical advice, workshops, financial resources and materials toward improving their food supply, income and management skills. The project will benefit 2,470 Salvadorans directly and 7,000 indirectly. (ES-246)
Consejo para la Asistencia en Recursos y Técnicas del Área Rural de Oriente (CARTARO), $160,145 over three years
CARTARO will provide women in San Francisco Javier the training, technical assistance, equipment and infrastructure necessary to process fruit and cashews and sell their products. The women will manage a nursery that will grow young plants and contribute to reforestation. (ES-247)
Asociación Comunal de Mujeres de Morazán (ACMM), $272,185 over three years
ACMM will provide technical advice, investment capital and materials to women in the municipalities of Torola, El Rosario and Jocoaitique toward improving their small businesses, agricultural production and market access. (ES-248)
Asociación para la Promoción de los Derechos Humanos de la Niñez en El Salvador (APRODEHNI), $38,265 over six months
APRODEHNI will assist farmers with replacing crops and livestock damaged by Hurricane Ida, with improving production and with mitigating the effects of climate change through better management post harvest. (ES-232-A1)
Facing the Past, Fixing the Future
Jan. 16, 2010, could represent a watershed moment in El Salvador’s struggle to come to terms with its past. On that date marking the 18th anniversary of the 1992 Peace Accords, President Mauricio Funes acknowledged the government’s role in human rights abuses during his country’s 12-year civil war and appealed to victims and their families for forgiveness. He also announced the creation of a National Search Commission for children who had disappeared during the conflict.
The staff of Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos (Pro-Búsqueda) was listening closely that January morning. The official apology and the creation of the National Search Commission for Missing Children undoubtedly would also have encouraged their late leader, Jon Cortina. A Spanish Jesuit, Padre Cortina had begun working in the early 1990s to reunite families separated during the civil war and to help individuals reclaim their identity. He founded Pro-Búsqueda in 1997 to further these efforts. According to Pro-Búsqueda’s partner, the Human Rights Center of the University of California at Berkeley, between 1980 and 1992 nearly 1,000 children were taken from their families by force or were put up for adoption under questionable circumstances. The latter group included children relinquished by families under duress or who had become separated from their families during combat operations and were deemed orphaned or abandoned.
Since 1994, Pro-Búsqueda has registered 878 cases of children who had gone missing during the war and has reunited 221 of them with their families. Its programs include legal assistance, psychological support and social services. But by 2003 Pro-Búsqueda was well aware of the poverty of the children, by then young adults, it was serving and their families. In 2007, with IAF’s support, the staff set out to gauge the extent of their need and to consider a range of options that would give them a livelihood. The information gathered became the basis for a second successful proposal that is far more ambitious than the first. Pro-Búsqueda will use its new grant to work with 250 Salvadorans who were affected by separation from their families or “disappearances.” It will help these young adults and their families cultivate gardens using organic methods, will fund three microbusinesses and offer scholarships funding vocational training or work toward a university degree. It will also reach adoptees from the United States, encouraging this special segment of the Salvadoran diaspora to embrace the identity of their birth and explore collaboration with Salvadorans like themselves.—Seth Micah Jesse, IAF representative
Asociación Amigas del Sol (ADS), $90,460 over three years
ADS will coordinate the construction of 165 solar ovens offering economic, environmental, health and safety advantages. The indigenous women in southwestern Guatemala who will learn to build them will also benefit from training in topics ranging from entrepreneurial skills to health care. (GT-296)
Asociación de Agricultores Ecológicos de la Laguna de Chicabal (ASAECO), $38,935 over one year
ASAECO, whose mission is to protect and preserve the natural resources surrounding Chicabal Lake and a nearby inactive volcano, will train its 62 indigenous Mam members to operate an ecotourism enterprise whose facilities are currently under construction. (GT-297)
Federación Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala (FECCEG), $260,910 over two years
FECCEG will offer training and invest in infrastructure to increase the volume of coffee certified as fair-trade or organic that farmers in its eight member-cooperatives produce, process and market for export as well as the volume processed from beans grown and processed exclusively by women farmers and marketed under the brand Café Femenino. (GT-298)
Coordinadora Interinstitucional de Guatemala (COOINGUA), $183,380 over two years
COOINGUA, whose credit reporting serves 250,000 Guatemalans in the western highlands, will train representatives of its 40 member-organizations in the application of new software purchased with its IAF grant. The goal is to facilitate access to credit on reasonable terms and to prevent excessive borrowing and default. (GT-299)
Comité de Desarrollo Campesino (CODECA), $134,890 over three years
CODECA will build the necessary infrastructure and train 160 families from Suchitepéquez to produce loroco, a wild vine native to Central America that produces edible flower clusters, to market in Guatemala City, Mazatenango and, eventually, El Salvador. (GT-300)
Asociación de Mujeres del Altiplano (AMA), $142,265 over three years
AMA will train 150 indigenous weavers from Quetzaltenago and Sololá and offer them the technical assistance necessary to produce merchandise of consistently high quality that appeals to an international clientele. (GT-301)
Coordinadora de Organizaciones Maya Kaqchikeles para el Desarrollo Comunitario (COMKADES), $199,290 over four years
COMKADES will offer training in animal husbandry to 70 indigenous Kaqchikel families in Chimaltenango and will give them the calves produced by its “bank” of 35 cows. Its goal is to address chronic malnutrition and to enable the families to earn additional income. (GT-302)
Loq’ Laj Ch’och (Sagrada Tierra), $37,900
Sagrada Tierra will develop a forest of 800 fast-growing trees for firewood, benefiting indigenous families in Alta Verapaz. (GT-282-A3)
Ecotourism for the Shores of Lake Chicabal
Towering mountains overlaid by mist provide the backdrop for the serene shores of Lake Chicabal, where the indigenous Mam residents of the municipality of San Martín Sacatepéquez gather for their traditional celebrations. Thanks to the efforts of Asociación de Agricultores Ecológicos de la Laguna de Chicabal (ASAECO), formed in 1998 by concerned Mam farmers to preserve the ecosystem of the lake and the volcano, the Guatemalan government has declared the site a “sacred Mayan place.” The designation means the area’s use and resources are regulated, but no funding is allocated to counter degradation.
With few other options available, most of the 3,000 inhabitants of Sacatepéquez work in agriculture. The income from their small parcels is too meager to cover the cost of keeping children in school and many drop out after the sixth grade. This has limited any possibility of improving conditions as has the tendency of young people to leave. But now ASAECO is building an ecotourism complex that is expected to attract foreign and Guatemalan visitors to the spectacular setting the group works to protect, creating jobs for residents. ASAECO’s intent is also to reduce the effects of harmful farming practices and focus on reforestation.
ASAECO will use its IAF award to offer its members, including 22 teenagers, a 12-month program of training, workshops and site visits designed to give them the skills in, for example, cooking and guiding tours that can improve their enterprise’s chances for success. ASAECO will also draft a long-term business plan based on its study of the 8,000 visitors that Lake Chicabal and the volcano receive annually. Many tourists are already taking advantage of paths cleared by ASAECO’s members and the restaurant and three bungalows they built. With the completion of the complex, the visitor count should increase and so should opportunities for the Mam stewards who keep Lake Chicabal and the surrounding area pristine.—Amanda Hess, IAF program staff assistant
Oganizasyon Kominotè Fanm Veyon (OKFV), $42,595 over two years
OKFV will develop a storage system for grains and other crops that will allow its members to preserve surpluses for future sale and will ensure the availability of food and seeds throughout the year. It will improve its organizational and financial management through training and exchange visits. The project will benefit OKFV’s members and other residents of Veillon, located near Petite Rivière in Haiti’s Artibonite region. (HA-209)
Fonkoze, $91,455 over 18 months
Fonkoze will work with members of the Haitian Home Town Associations Resource Group (HHTARG) in Boston, New York and Miami to provide pilot subgrants to grassroots groups and small and medium-sized enterprises in Haiti. Applying this experience, Fonkoze and HHTARG expect to design a community investment fund that will channel diaspora resources to grassroots development in Haiti. (HA-210)
Haitian Partners for Christian Development (HPCD), $10,000
Its facility in Varreux destroyed by the January earthquake, HPCD is using this supplement as well as funds reprogrammed from its original grant and donations from other sources, to continue its services as a business incubator from its site in Martissant. It expects to reach 34 additional women entrepreneurs there and through a new locale in Simone Pele, and to provide subgrants to restore two enterprises also damaged by the quake. (HA-199-A7)
Mouvement Paysan 3ème Section Camp-Perrin (MP3K), $58,660
MP3K integrated into its project 50 farmers displaced by the 2010 earthquake, providing them yam seedlings, agricultural training and technical assistance; distributed food to another 150 quake victims; gave 100 displaced children partial scholarships toward continuing their education; and replaced its vehicle. (HA-203-A2)
Konbit Fanm Kaskad-Dubreuil (KOFAKAD), $12,450
As part of its effort to serve Haitians displaced because of the January earthquake, KOFAKAD provided 100 children and adolescents scholarships to attend primary and secondary school and computer courses; offered them the services of a psychologist; and distributed powdered milk, toiletries, diapers and towels to pregnant women and new mothers who had migrated from areas devastated by the quake. (HA-204-A2)
Fonds International de Développement Économique et Social (FIDES), $30,000
FIDES provided approximately 1,000 families emergency assistance by distributing seeds, food, water, water-treatment products, cooking supplies and personal care items in the Bas-Artibonite, Nord-Ouest, Sud-Est and Ouest departments. (HA-207-A1)
Rezo Fanm Fwontyè Ba Plato (Rezo Fanm), $10,025 over six months
Rezo Fanm, a network of 98 women’s grassroots groups in the Lower Central Plateau along the border with the Dominican Republic, provided 130 displaced persons and other quake victims food staples, hygiene kits, tarps and psychological support, and awarded scholarships to 75 displaced children. (HA-208-A1)
Banking on the Diaspora
For all their diversity, most of the 2 million Haitians living in Canada, the United States, France and the Dominican Republic share a deeply-felt commitment to their homeland. This translates annually into between $1 billion and $2 billion in remittances that their families in Haiti spend for food, education and housing. For years, foreign-assistance agencies, international financial institutions, and Haitian organizations and businesses have been exploring ways to increase the impact of this considerable flow of cash. One is to channel pooled resources into development on a larger scale—for projects such as schools, roads and businesses. In the wake of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, how an organized diaspora can contribute to reconstruction by raising funds for such “collective” remittances has emerged as a key issue in the effort to rebuild.
Fonkoze, known as “Haiti’s Alternative Bank for the Organized Poor,” was founded in 1994 and is one of the few microfinance institutions to emerge from the grassroots. Its more than 40 branches spread across Haiti offer a range of services: microloans, savings options, currency exchange, transfers, and life and credit insurance as well as literacy classes and training in business skills for borrowers. It has encouraged the diaspora’s financial engagement with Haiti by supporting the development of Haitian hometown associations and by offering classes in basic finance to recent immigrants to the United States. In 2007, Fonkoze received a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank/ International Fund for Agricultural Development, which resulted in meetings between its representatives and Haitians abroad. From these encounters emerged the Haitian Hometown Associations Resource Group (HHTARG or the Resource Group) whose goal is to provide diaspora organizations greater access to information and resources and to help them invest in grassroots development in Haiti.
With its IAF award, Fonkoze and affiliates of the Resource Group in Boston, New York and Miami will launch a pilot program awarding subgrants to Haitian grassroots organizations and small to medium-sized enterprises. Based on this experience, Fonkoze and the HHTARG will work with attorneys from New York Appleseed, who are offering their services pro-bono, to design a community- investment fund that will enable Haitians overseas to direct even more resources to grassroots efforts, especially business opportunities. The HHTARG, which uses videoconferencing technology to facilitate communication among its members in multiple countries, will share the results of the pilot via brochures, a Web site and a videoconference.—Jenny Petrow, IAF representative
Centro Internacional de Información Sobre Cultivos de Cobertura (CIDICCO), $319,500 over three years
CIDICCO will work in Intibucá to expand a network of rural savings-and loan associations and the Sistema de Aprendizaje Tutorial (SAT), an alternative form of secondary education, and to improve agricultural production through training and technical assistance. The project will directly benefit 800 students and their parents and will benefit another 1,000 Hondurans indirectly. (HO-251)
Consejo de Desarrollo de Sector Social de la Economía Regional de Intibucá (CODESSE/Intibucá), $229,100 over two years
CODESSE-Intibucá will develop up to 25 worker-owned enterprises selected from among its member-businesses, improving the income of 290 Hondurans of indigenous Lenca descent. Another 830 Hondurans will benefit indirectly. (HO-252)
Asociación Hondureña de Juntas Administradoras de Sistemas de Agua (AHJASA), $300,175 over two years
AHJASA will collaborate with 30 communities toward the development of systems supplying water safe for human consumption, thereby improving conditions for 24,500 Hondurans in the department of Olancho. (HO-253)
Organismo Cristiano de Desarrollo Integral de Honduras (OCDIH), $295,600, over three years
OCDIH will help 750 farmers of Lenca descent in the department of Lempira move toward sustainable agriculture and develop their marketing. Another 4,500 Hondurans will benefit indirectly from the project. (HO-254)
Organización de Desarrollo Étnico Comunitario (ODECO), $35,000 over six months
ODECO will develop an in-house library and create a fund to support projects proposed by the Afro-Honduran graduates of its leadership program. (HO-243-A2)
Centro de Educación Vocacional Grupo Juvenil Dion (GJD), $66,529 over six months
GJD will offer vocational workshops in the field, support after-school events and purchase a laptop. (HO-244-A3)
Organización de Jóvenes Hondureños por el Desarrollo Educativo (GUARUMA), $14,900 over two years
The additional funding is required to cover pay raises mandated under the new minimum-wage law and price increases attributed to the political crisis. (HO-247-A1).
Profitable and Civic-Minded Businesses
Lush green mountains and valleys thick with vegetation testify to the abundance of farm and forest products harvested year-round in Intibucá. Less visible is the trove of gemstones and precious metals that are eagerly prospected for and mined. While industrial-scale entrepreneurs and aggressive middlemen have exploited the land and its wealth, this bounty has not benefited the majority of Intibucá’s residents, mostly of indigenous Lenca descent. Intibucá ranks among the poorest departments in Honduras. It has few industries and weak infrastructure. Roads are poor, communities lack basic utilities, and residents, who work mainly as day laborers, rank low on educational indicators.
The mission of Consejo Hondureño de Desarrollo del Sector Social de la Economía Regional (COHDESSE) is to reduce poverty by improving businesses and encouraging them to invest in their communities. Of its 11 regional affiliates, the strongest and most effective is Consejo de Desarrollo de Sector Social de la Economía Regional de Intibucá (CODESSE/Intibucá), which groups a diverse range of micro- and small enterprises working in crafts, agriculture, retail sales and various services. CODESSE/Intibucá develops talent, initiative and an inclination toward civic-mindedness that appears grounded in the Lenca priority on the common good. This tradition coincides with the spirit of the Honduran law intended to create a “Social Sector of the Economy” (SSE) by authorizing an organizational structure that allows qualifying businesses not only to distribute profits among their worker-owners but also to invest them in the improvement of the general welfare of the community in which they reside.
CODESSE’s skilled staff is committed to this concept of SSE but recognizes that to exercise social responsibility businesses must generate sufficient resources. In 2005, the team applied for an IAF grant that provided the training, technical assistance and capital necessary to improve the infrastructure and human resources of 12 local businesses. As a result of increasing their production, their market share and their income, participating farmers, weavers, bakers and others also invested in their respective communities. With this new award, the staff of CODESSE/Intibucá plans to develop between 18 and 25 additional small businesses, with particular attention to management, quality control, marketing and infrastructure. A small fund will finance loans in kind, repayable in cash. If it is managed well, the loan fund should allow CODESSE/Intibucá to develop more businesses after its IAF support has terminated. Some 300 Hondurans of Lenca origin, are expected to benefit from CODESSE/Intibucá’s second IAF grant. Several businesses are already poised to improve local conditions. As others develop, their success should also ripple through Intibucá.—John Reed, IAF representative
The Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), $400,000 over two years
EFJ will fund grassroots groups undertaking projects in environmental and natural resource conservation and child survival and development. At least 14 subgrantees will receive up to $25,000 in IAF funding and between $25,000 and $75,000 in EFJ funding. This collaboration is expected to benefit 5,000 Jamaicans. (JA-112)
Mocho Development Committee (MDC), $50,000 over one year
MDC will build a pilot “microdam” as a natural catchment for up to 20,000 gallons of water and will install a solar-powered pump that will channel the water to storage tanks accessible by farmers and others year-round. Some 35 members of MDC will help install the water system in a former bauxite-mining pit and will participate in training to maintain the system and in reforestation of the slopes of the pit. An additional 85 area residents will benefit from better access to water. (JA-113)
A Foundation for the Future
The Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) has funded 1,150 projects during the 16 years since its creation, many, but not all, addressing conservation and the management of natural resources. Less obvious from EFJ’s name is its well-established track record of support for organizations working with child survival and development. EFJ owes its existence to agreements related to debt reduction entered into by the governments of Jamaica and the United States in 1991 and 1993. It counts 40 member-organizations and is governed by a board that includes NGO representatives and academics as well as officials from the two governments that are parties to the agreements.
Among EFJ’s successful investments is a grant to Edwin Allen High School, located on the banks of the Minho River. The school uses water from the river for its pig farm and bathrooms and then channels the runoff into two biodigestors that produce biogas for its science laboratories. Excess water from the biodigestors is used to maintain the sports field. EFJ also participated in the renovation of National Heroes Park in Kingston, a veterans’ memorial and the final resting place for Jamaican prime ministers and cultural icons. EJF grantees have developed green areas elsewhere that provide open space where neighbors interact and children play.
A striking recipient of EFJ’s funding is Mocho Development Committee (MDC), the other Jamaican organization awarded an IAF grant in 2010. Bauxite is a leading Jamaican export, and MDC addresses the deforestation caused by open-pit mining. As EFJ’s grantee, MDC has begun to reforest the slopes of 11 bauxite mines that it is leasing from the Jamaican Aluminum Company (JAMALCO) for a 10-year renewable term. It also developed sufficiently as an organization to apply on its own for an IAF grant to build a “microdam” that captures rain and runoff in the pit of one of these reforested mines, allowing 115 residents of Mocho to irrigate their fields and the reforested slopes throughout the year.
As for EFJ, it will use its IAF award to expand its support for Jamaican NGOs and grassroots groups via subgrants that range from $50,000 to $100,000. The IAF will contribute up to $25,000 to each subgrantee, which EFJ will match, double or triple. Island media and EFJ’s professional network will publicize the competition. An IAF representative will be on the selection committee that also chooses the fields to be considered, such as agroforestry, recycling, renewable energy technologies and programs that support young Jamaicans with disabilities or identified as at risk. EJF expects to fund the initiatives of 14 organizations.— Alexis Toussaint, IAF program staff assistant
Voces por la Naturaleza A.C. (SuMar), $45,005 over one year
SuMar will undertake a planning process that incorporates research, training, technical assistance, exchanges and workshops intended to help grassroots groups design, undertake and evaluate environmentally sustainable development initiatives in the region bordering the Gulf of California. (ME-499)
Despertar Maya A. C. (DEMAAC), $ $260,185 over three years
DEMAAC will offer 160 indigenous Tzolzil, Tzeltal and Ch’ol Mayan beekeepers in the Chiapas jungle and highlands training and access to working capital toward improving their production of organic and fair-trade honey for export. (ME-500)
Centro Campesino para el Desarrollo Sustentable A.C. (CAMPESINO), $244,340 over three years
CAMPESINO will provide farmers in the state of Tlaxcala access to working capital, loans and training in conservation techniques, leadership and related subjects to improve their income and food supply. It will also support the further development of a community-based business and construct and equip a storage facility. (ME-501)
Colectivo de Mujeres Campesinas de la Costa Grande de Guerrero S.C. (COMUCAM), $56,925 over two years
COMUCAM will offer training and technical assistance to 300 representatives of 22 women-led savings-and-loans associations in communities along the coast of Guerrero. Among the results expected is a 50 percent increase in household savings. (ME-502)
Tlachinollan Grupo de Apoyo a los Pueblos Indios de la Montaña A.C. (Tlachinollan), $77,300 over 18 months
Tlachinollan will involve indigenous Tlapanec and Mixtec Mexicans in Zitlaltepec and Ojo del Agua, state of Guerrero, in initiatives to preserve and manage natural resources and to increase income for forest communities. The project is expected to benefit 1,000 indigenous families. (ME-503)
Alianza Sierra Madre A.C. (ASMAC), $198,430 over two years
ASMAC expects to improve the food supply, health, conservation efforts and general quality of life of indigenous residents of Baborigame, Choreachi and Coloradas de la Virgen in the Sierra Tarahumara of Chihuahua, including through the diversification of agriculture, introduction of alternative farming methods and construction of infrastructure for water conservation and distribution. (ME-504)
Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible A.C. (CCMSS), $143,340 over two years
CCMSS will collaborate with 11 communities in Amanalco-Valle del Bravo, nongovernmental organizations and government to begin applying a system for paying farmers for environmental services. The project will directly involve 635 individuals and will improve water quality and reduce silt and sediment on 220 hectares of farms and forests. (ME-505)
Comercializadora Agroforestal del Istmo S.P.R. de R.I. (CAI), $139,260 over three years
CAI will work with 120 Mexicans of Mixe, Zapotec, Mixtec and African descent living in the isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, to improve their food supply and income. It will build greenhouses and provide training, technical assistance and other support to 60 families using bio-intensive methods to grow vegetables for consumption and sale. (ME-506)
FCM will expand its programs supporting the economic initiatives of women and young people and will collaborate in efforts to protect the environment through recycling and composting, fire prevention and control, reforestation and organic agriculture. The project is expected to directly benefit 685 residents of the municipality of Malinalco, in the state of Mexico, and impact another 12,000 residents indirectly. (ME-507)
Red para el Desarrollo Rural Sustentable A.C. (RedCampo), $42,500 over one year
Representatives of 20 member-groups of RedCampo will develop a marketing strategy and a business plan and train farmers in 11 Mexican states. More than 300 members of the participating organizations are expected to benefit. (ME-508)
Servicios Ambientales de Oaxaca A.C. (SAO), $72,600
SAO will work with 500 residents of two communities in Guerrero and Veracruz states toward qualifying for federal incentives to manage forests sustainably and toward becoming eligible to market their carbon- and water-capture services to Mexican businesses interested in this manner of social engagement. (ME-481-A3)
Payment for Stewardship of the Watershed
Mexico’s National Water Commission reports that 66 percent of the country’s 188 most important aquifers suffer from overuse—a situation that could be compounded due to stepped-up consumption by a burgeoning population and to reduced natural recharge brought on by changes in land use. Conservation and the responsible use of forest resources are the best hope for assuring an adequate supply of water and regulating seasonal flows into the aquifers.
Mexican farming communities have title to 60 percent of the forests surrounding them and function as stewards of the environment. The government’s National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) compensates them, as well as individual forest owners, for practices that protect biodiversity and ensure the future availability of precious natural resources. Additionally, communities, nongovernmental organizations and government entities have devised their own systems for rewarding proactive initiatives toward responsible forest management and land use. Among them, Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible A.C. (CCMSS) is a recognized leader.
With its 2007 IAF award, CCMSS in coordination with a farmers’ organization, Unión de Ejidos Emiliano Zapata (UEEZ), brought together water users, forest owners, government officials, representatives of nongovernmental organizations and others to design a mechanism for compensating farmers for introducing responsible practices in the Amanalco-Valle del Bravo watershed in the state of Mexico. The goal was to recharge the aquifers supplying water to residents of Toluca and part of metropolitan Mexico City and to improve the quality of the surface water flowing to the main reservoirs. Based on CCMSS’s preliminary studies of flows and demand and its proposals for land use, the group representing the diverse interests developed a fund from which to pay the farmers.
CCMSS will use its new IAF grant, and financing from Mexico’s Fundación Pedro y Elena Hernández and CONAFOR, to make the fund operational. Farmers will receive payment for building retaining walls and other infrastructure that protects the soil, for improving the efficiency of irrigation and for managing solid waste. CCMSS will assist UEEZ in developing as an organization and will work with selected communities toward qualifying for certification as stewards of sustainable forestry by the Forest Stewardship Council. Through this collaboration, farmers and consumers hope to assure the natural recharge of Mexican aquifers for years to come.—Gabriela Boyer, IAF representative
Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University (BICU), $224,820 over two years
BICU will offer more than 150 families in seven communities in and around the Mahogany Wetlands Municipal Ecological Park in the Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region, training, technical assistance and other support for sustainable agriculture and their small businesses and organizations. (NC-291)
Emprendedores Juveniles de Nicaragua (EJN), $209,575 over two years
EJN expects to improve income and employment prospects for 400 young entrepreneurs in Managua, Masaya and Granada through its program that combines general training in business with specialized training in agribusiness, tourism or information technology. It will also offer technical assistance, mentoring and in-kind support toward starting businesses. (NC-292)
Fundación Luchadores Integrados al Desarrollo de la Región (LIDER), $55,980 over two years and nine months
LIDER will further civic organization and economic opportunity in 18 communities on the Cosigüina Peninsula by offering training and technical assistance for grassroots groups, cooperatives and farmers; extending credit in cash and in kind; and creating a fund to finance community priorities identified though an earlier IAF-supported planning process. (NC-271-A3)
Toward a New Generation of Entrepreneurs
Nicaragua is demographically a very young country, with approximately 60 percent of its population under 30. This bubble presents an enormous challenge. The official unemployment rate for working-age Nicaraguans stands at 6 percent. However, 46 percent are classified as underemployed, either in part-time jobs or in full-time positions for which they are overqualified. Economists estimate that the Nicaraguan economy will have to generate 100,000 new jobs a year just to keep this situation from getting worse.
True economic development will require even more robust job creation. How likely is that with so many youths entering the labor force?
Emprendedores Juveniles de Nicaragua (EJN), an affiliate of Junior Achievement Worldwide, believes that the current generation of Nicaraguans now coming of age can help make it happen. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to helping young people become entrepreneurs. With strong support from established business leaders, EJN offers a wide variety of educational and training programs that develop the values and skills necessary to compete successfully in the modern economy. It reaches elementary-school students with its curriculum in basic civics and prepares teenagers to enter the workforce upon graduating from secondary school.
EJN will use its IAF grant to partner with the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología (INATEC) and with volunteers from the private sector in a two-year program of training, education, technical assistance and mentoring for 400 young entrepreneurs in Managua, Masaya and Granada. The first phase of this program consists of 60 hours dedicated to basic business skills. The students demonstrating the greatest interest and acumen will advance to a more intensive second phase whose curriculum combines 800 hours of vocational and technical training with hands-on activities designed to develop the ability to launch and manage agribusinesses and enterprises specialized in information technology and tourism. Students will be encouraged to work together and will be mentored by successful entrepreneurs from the relevant sectors.
Aspiring entrepreneurs who complete the second phase will be eligible to enter their business plans in a competition juried by volunteer professionals. Those submitting the best plans will benefit from technical assistance, additional individualized mentoring and from small grants to cover the costs associated with turning their winning ideas into a reality.—Philip Walsh, IAF representative
Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CIPDH), $272,700 over three years
CIPDH will work with the Organización de Productores Embera Wounaan de Jaque (OPEWAJ) toward diversifying agricultural, handicraft and livestock production and improving food distribution in the 12 participating communities. (PN-297)
Cooperativa Agropecuaria y Servicios Múltiples Victoriano Lorenzo R. L. (COPEVILO), $64,150 over two years
COPEVILO will purchase coffee for resale, expand its storage facility, train its members, and increase and diversify the inventory for sale in its store, directly benefiting 300 Panamanians in San Miguel Centro, Coclé, and the surrounding communities and benefiting another 2,000 indirectly. (PN-298)
Artesanías Ocueñas S.A. (AOSA), $121,200 over two years
AOSA will train 200 women in the province of Herrera to produce embroidered tablecloths and garments, will manage a working-capital fund, and will develop a brand name, labels and other materials to promote sales. (PN-299)
Instituto Panameño para la Promoción y Participación Ciudadana (IPPAC), $67,534
IPPAC will manage a subgrant fund supporting small businesses in the community of Villa María. (PN-286-A3)
Programa de Promoción y Desarrollo Social (PRODESO), $64,700
PRODESO will file to legally constitute the local committees in charge of regulating the use of the upper Río Santa María watershed in central Panama, educate recently elected officials on the environmental importance of the watershed, train community organizers and will promote organic farming and market the produce. (PN-287-A1)
Development in the Darien Gap
Jaque, a town of just 1,500 inhabitants on Panama’s Pacific coast, is hot, humid and beautiful. Located in the Darien Gap, the strip of swamps and forests 99 miles long and 31 miles wide that separates Panama from Colombia, Jaque is also isolated. Because its rugged terrain defies road construction, the Darien Gap became a gap in the Pan-American Highway. In fact, no roads lead to Jaque. Travel and transport are via a network of footpaths or boats that navigate a maze of rivers. A commercial flight serves the area three times a week.
Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CIPDH) is a nongovernmental organization that arrived in Jaque in 2003 to help refugees fleeing the armed conflict in Colombia. It later focused on clearing title to community land and registering births, deaths and marriages. Eventually, CIPDH began working with the Organización de Productores Embera Wounaan de Jaque (OPEWAJ), an organization composed of indigenous Panamanians. OPEWAJ once did a brisk business purchasing rice from its member communities and processing it for sale in the surrounding region and in Panama City. Operations suffered when violence spilled over the border in 2000 and movement became restricted. The area around Jaque has been relatively calm since 2002, but restarting OPEWAJ’s enterprise has proved difficult.
With its IAF award, CIPDH will help OPEWAJ develop the management skills and trade networks necessary to a viable economy. A working-capital fund will help the subsistence-based communities buy seeds and other inputs as they diversify their crops to include coffee, sugar cane, tubers, fruits and vegetables. Production will be coordinated so that each community has a specialty. CIPDH will help OPEWAJ obtain the licenses required to operate five stores, which should improve the distribution of food and the local diet.
Embera and Wounaan crafts are beautiful and durable and have potential as a development resource. They include the water-tight baskets that take Embera women months to weave from local grasses colored with vegetable dyes, and the exquisitely detailed animals that Wounaan men carve from wood and tagua, a palm seed that simulates ivory. Jaque’s artisans will have access to the working-capital fund and CIPDH will help them reach affluent consumers who appreciate fine workmanship. Along with OPEWAJ, it will document the struggles and accomplishments of these indigenous Panamanians as they pursue development in their remote and challenging corner of the world.—Marcy Kelley, IAF representative
Estación A–Nucleo Cultural (Estación A), $252, 939 over three years
Estación A will train 176 men and women to design and produce Ñanduti lace, weavings from palm fiber, pottery, and woodcarvings to market in Paraguay and abroad. It will organize events and tours that coincide with local festivals as well as develop networks to promote the workers’ crafts and services. (PY-198)
Institución Ecuménica de Promoción Social (OGUASU), $198,353 over three years
OGUASU will train 1,000 Mbya Paraguayans in the organic cultivation of traditional crops, reforestation, conservation, beekeeping, aquaculture, small-animal husbandry and their rights as an indigenous people. (PY-199)
Mennonite Economic Development Associates del Paraguay (MEDA-Py), $221,000 over three years
In collaboration with Pro Desarrollo Integral Rural (PRODIR), a microfinance institution, MEDA-Py plans to organize 2,500 farmers and improve their manioc and sugar cane crops to market directly to agro-processors and exporters. Training, technical assistance and access to credit will help the farmers diversify crops for sale and consumption and develop their individual enterprises. (PY-200)
Grupo Sunu (Sunu), $103,216
Sunu will continue working with indigenous Ava Guaraní and Angaité Maskoy in the departments of Canindeyú, Presidente Hayes and San Pedro to promote their cultural identity, their understanding of their rights and their economic development and to improve their nutrition and access to services. The project will directly benefit 3,600 indigenous residents of the communities served and will indirectly benefit 6,000 other indigenous Paraguayans. (PY-195-A1)
Struggling to Survive Surrounded by Soybeans
Soybeans are big business in the Southern Cone, where a frenzy is underway to fill the global demand. Paraguay has become a laboratory for experiments with genetically modified seeds as well as new pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, all designed to boost production. As forests are cleared and farms are absorbed into soybean plantations, migration to urban areas increases, threatening the survival of native seed stocks and traditional farming techniques. Making more land available for soybeans has led to the displacement of indigenous Paraguayans, who are often unaware of legal prohibitions on the sale of their territory or lack the clout to make local authorities enforce them. Communities have been duped by fake documents or, desperate for cash, have entered into leases that leave their land completely degraded at the end of the term.
Institución Ecuménica de Promoción Social (OGUASU) is comprised of 37 members, mostly churches and chuch-affiliated individuals. Its mission is to further the development and inclusion of indigenous Mbya Paraguayans and the preservation of their Mbya identity. The Mbya have traditionally lived from hunting, gathering and from limited cultivation of species that grow in the wild. Each year less land is available on which to pursue their traditional way of life. Surrounded by soybean fields, Mbya face major problems with food security and nutrition.
OGUASU works with Ñogueroî Pave’i, an association of Mbya Guaraní communities in central Paraguay. It plans to use its IAF grant to train 1,000 individuals to cultivate maize and other crops using native seeds and organic farming methods and offer related technical assistance. The communities will receive the necessary materials and supplies to engage in aquaculture, small-animal production and beekeeping. OGUASU’s reforestation and conservation programs will include the development of tree nurseries and seed banks and of natural barriers against contamination from chemicals applied on neighboring soybean fields. OGUASU and Ñogueroî Pave’i will also work to assure that all Mbya know their rights and protections under Paraguayan law. Ñogueroî Pave’i’s weekly radio program will inform listeners about the Mbya culture and history and on agricultural and conservation practices.
The goal is greater autonomy for Mbya indigenous communities as they adapt to contemporary Paraguayan life. While the pressure from soybean cultivation will not disappear any time soon, the professional staff of OGUASU and Ñogueroî Pave’i expect Mbya Paraguayans to maintain the diversity and sufficiency of their traditional food supply, to develop the skills to negotiate in their own best interests and to communicate the value of their contribution to Paraguayan society.—Jeremy Coon, IAF representative
Acción Humanitaria sin Fronteras (AHSF), $205,000 over two years
AHSF will work with two community associations to build and operate cassava-processing plants that add value to the members’ crops. The plants will serve 610 families in 20 communities located along the banks of the Amazon River, in the district of Fernando Lores, Loreto, an hour by boat from the city of Iquitos. (PU-559)
Asociación Cultural Ayllu Yupaychay (Yupay), $260,000 over three years
Yupay will use the visual arts, the Quechua language and indigenous cultural values to further the educational development of rural Andean children between the ages of 3 and 7 in 10 Quechua communities in the Cusco region. The goal is the official institutionalization of this program. (PU-560)
ALTERNATIVA, Centro de Investigación Social y Educación Popular (ALTERNATIVA), $260,000 over three years
ALTERNATIVA will offer technical assistance and training for 440 recyclers, micro-entrepreneurs, community leaders and municipal authorities. It expects to strengthen the recyclers’ organizations, increase recyclers’ income and work with all participants to address solid-waste management in three districts of metropolitan Lima and in the province of Callao. (PU-562)
Asociación Minga Perú (Minga Perú), $332,000 over three years
Minga Perú will train 1,000 indigenous women from 45 communities in the Loreto region in the Amazon Rainforest with the goal of advancing their socioeconomic development and improving their participation in public life. Its 200 new radio programs and rebroadcasts of 430 programs will reach 100,000 listeners every week. (PU-563)
Asociación Cultural Ayllu Yupaychay (Yupay), $10,000 over three months
YUPAY finished systematizing data collected over four years and concluded the audio-visual documentation and the evaluation of its methodology for teaching indigenous children basic math, science and cultural appreciation through art. (PU-531-A4)
To consolidate the participatory budgeting processes begun with the IAF’s support, CooperAcción will continue its training and technical assistance for representatives of government and civil society in 15 district municipalities in the provinces of Barranca and Huaura. (PU-539-A3)
Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Regional (CEDER), $130,500
CEDER’s fund financing local development will extend to additional grassroots organizations in Arequipa, Moquegua and Puno. (PU-540-A2)
A Root of Development along the Amazon
The rural communities in the district of Fernando Lores, located on the edge of the Amazon River, in Peru’s Loreto region, are connected to the outside world only by boat. Most households have no running water, no sanitation, no electricity. More than a third of the population is under 12 years of age and 30 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 9 suffer from malnutrition. Income derives principally from agriculture and fishing, although farming predominates. Farm families produce plantains, beans, rice, corn, papaya, sugar cane and pineapple in addition to cassava, their main source of income and food.
Cassava is inexpensive to grow and is well-adapted to the Amazonian region. It is forgiving of poor soil and does not require intensive labor. Once harvested, cassava is bulky to store and highly perishable, with spoilage beginning within one to three days. It can, however, be left in the ground unharvested for months, but only if the soil is dry. Therein lies the problem for farmers in Fernando Lores whose plots are routinely inundated between January and May due to rain and the rising river. This forces them to choose between harvesting just when prices for fresh cassava are lowest or losing a good part of their crop. Processing cassava can resolve this dilemma, but not if it is done manually.
Acción Humanitaria sin Fronteras (AHSF) is a nongovernmental organization with an office in Iquitos, Loreto’s capital, some 60 minutes away by boat. It has been helping develop cassava-processing plants that are expected to serve some 600 families in 20 communities of Fernando Lores. The families are members of Asociación Centro Industrial and Asociación San Felipe, which will manage the plants’ operations, purchasing cassava, overseeing its processing into fariña, or flour, and almidón, or tapioca, and marketing the finished products in Iquitos and elsewhere in the region. The value added to the cassava crop is expected to produce enough revenue to increase the members’ income, enable the plants to become self-sufficient, and fund essential community infrastructure and social services identified as priorities by the members.
Cassava is indisputably a development resource. Fariña and almidón are ingredients in baked goods, soups and sauces as well as in processed meats, pasta, beverage bases and snack foods. More surprisingly, almidón, which consists of starch granules, is used to manufacture textiles, paper, glue, plywood, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, animal feed, alcohol, glucose, dextrin and monosodium glutamate. Such a broad range of applications creates a significant demand. Taking advantage of it in rural Peru requires commitment, broad farmer involvement and effective management. With IAF’s support, AHSF, whose mission is promoting social and economic development through participation and inclusion, can help communities in Fernando Lores realize their potential.—Miriam E. Brandão, IAF representative
Organización para la Conservación de Cetáceos (OCC), $49,950
OCC will support a network of environmental activists and representatives of civil society, government, small businesses and microenterprises, who work to assure that tourism benefits communities in the provinces of Rocha and Maldonado and is conducive to the survival of whales and dolphins offshore. Participants will receive the training and technical assistance necessary to develop activities compatible with the responsible use of the environment, including tours to watch whales in their habitat. (UR-184)
Una Casa Un Sueño (UCUS), $66,365
UCUS will complete its construction of 25 homes on land donated by private organizations, benefiting more than 100 residents of Montevideo. (UR-179-A6)
Coopertiva Delicias Criollas Produccíón y Venta de Servicios (Delicias Criollas), $30,000
Delicias Criollas will continue to offer training and technical assistance in the production and marketing of traditional foods, with the goal of developing its 15 affiliated enterprises managed and supplied by 170 women in 10 Uruguayan departments. (UR-181-A1)
Whale-Watching as a Community Resource
Whaling fleets navigated the seas from the 1600s until the 1950s, stalking the enormous beasts for their meat, bones and especially their oil. The blubber bonanza provided fuel for city street lamps during the 19th century and lubricated the machinery of the industrial revolution, and the fleets’ owners amassed huge fortunes. Demand for whale products waned with the advent of mineral and vegetable substitutes, but the damage had been done. Whale populations were decimated. The International Whaling Commission was formed in 1946 to manage the seriously depleted stocks; 40 years later it imposed a moratorium on hunting the giants of the sea. Current populations of eight out of the 11 whale species that had been hunted to the brink of extinction remain dangerously low but show signs of recovery.
Today more people would rather observe whales in their natural habitat than buy products derived from them. Whale-watching generates some $2 billion annually and employs upwards of 13,000 individuals around the globe. Organización para la Conservación de Cetáceos (OCC) is betting on the Southern right whale to boost economic development in the department of Rocha. From early July through November, the austral winter and spring, these whales pass through the waters off Rocha as they make their way from the calving grounds off the Brazilian coast to their feeding grounds in the freezing waters of the Antarctic. In the course of this migration, they may elevate their flukes, or tailfins, to catch the wind for propulsion, a unique and fascinating maneuver known as sailing and still not fully understood by experts in cetaceans. Rocha stands in rustic contrast to the luxury hotels and chic restaurants catering to the jet-set that flocks to Punta del Este in the summer. But in recent years, the number of visitors attracted to Rocha has skyrocketed and so has pressure to build infrastructure that residents fear will only benefit the developers and industrialists.
OCC will use its IAF grant to work with three Rocha communities to identify alternatives that will assure a responsible approach to tourism and to determine the feasibility of forming local grupos motores, or boards representing the interests of civil society, government, businesses and residents. It plans to provide training and technical assistance to start-up businesses offering visitors opportunities to observe the whales as well as ride horses and hike. Workshops and activities planned for schools will cover conservation, marine ecosystems, water management, waste recycling and renewable energy technology. The goal is to develop a vibrant network of rochenses interested in tourism that safeguards the environment and benefits the entire community.—Eduardo Rodríguez-Frías, contributing editor
Grupo Ambientalista de Reciclaje Everest (GARE), $47,308
GARE will help young Venezuelans at risk and others acquire marketable skills by expanding its recycling initiative and its campaign to promote environmental awareness into two low-income communities in the Venacio Pulgar Parish on the outskirts of the city of Maracaibo, state of Zulia. (VZ-201-A1)