Women’s Group – Brisas del Cangrejal Update

The Women’s Group group, Brisas del Cangrejal, has stayed active and is currently composed of 11 women.  They have incorporated new women in the group over the past few months, but at the same time there have been a few women who have decided to leave the group for differences among themselves (Sulma Cantillano and Mery Funez).  Others have left due to not having time to attend the weekly meetings.

The group currently consists of Olga Lopez (President), Xiomara Pinto (Vice President), Yolanda Puerto (Secretary), Doris Jovel (Treasurer), Alba Sánchez (Fiscal), Sonia Murillo (Vocal I), Aurelia Guevara (Vocal II). Elsa Polanco, Karen Palencia, Odilia Mencía, Xiomara Chavarría. This group has shown a lot of inconsistency, given that they are always having problems amongst themselves, which has been a result of gossip or autocratic leadership.

This quarter the group received a significant donation of L16,844.80 in the form of tables, chairs, tents, forks, spoons, knives, baking molds, blender, pots and pans, trash cans, a freezer, plates, bowls and cups from CARE International.  All of these materials are in a temporary space that the women are using to sell food.

The women’s group holds food sales activities and fundraisers weekly.  They currently have L611.85.  Additionally they will be each contributing L20 a month starting in September, which will be held in a savings account.  The women are also planning to make a change on the signature for their bank account, to ensure better money management.

There has been a lot of apathy from the women in regards to attending meetings and working on the development of the overall project and raising funds.  In order to improve this situation Un Mundo drew up an agreement with them, similar to the agreement with the library project, to ensure improved participation and attendance and punctuality for meetings.  If the women continue to not follow through on their responsibilities then they are potentially risking losing our support.
Posted in Organization, Programs and Projects, Sustainable Livelihoods, Uncategorized, Women's Group Project | Leave a comment

Arts & Cultural Project ”ARTE_RIO 2011” Update

The culminating festival for ARTE_RIO 2011 was held on July 3rd, 2011 where over 1000 people attended from all the communities throughout the Cangrejal, La Ceiba, Tegucigalpa and other parts of the country.

In addition to the nine elementary schools in the Valley, we had the participation of six additional artists (One Love, Garifuna Dance Group, Circulo Juvenil de Tambores and others) that concluded our day of presentations on local culture and history, as well as the presence of our project sponsors the Secretary of Arts, Culture and Sports of Honduras, Dole Fruit (L20,000) and the National Institute of Youth (L10,000).

The following presentations/workshops were made on behalf of each school:
  • Urraco: mural project by Ivan Franco from Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Japon: designed models/figures using plants and sustainable materials which was led by Emanual Franco, Mexican artist from Oaxaca
  • Toncontin: painting workshop led by Brenda Ponce, from La Ceiba
  • El Paraiso: Created two songs and music about their community and produced the song on CD for all the kids.  This workshop was led by Obed Mejia, local musician from La Ceiba.
  • Yaruca and Rio Viejo: literature workshops on story-telling and book making by artists Katia Erasmo and Claudia Sanchez both from Tegucigalpa
  • El Pital: designed a graffiti art project and developed a dance by Melva Moreno a local artist from La Ceiba
  • Las Mangas: photography project with the help of the organization Guaruma and local photographer Javier Anchecta, native of Las MangasEl Naranjo: paint and literature workshop conducted by Diana Vallejo an artist from Tegucigalpa
On top of many hours of planning and meetings by the representatives of each community that served on our planning committee, three communities in the Cangrejal helped raise money for the project to help cover some of the costs.  Las Mangas raised L1478, El Naranjo L980 and Toncontin raised L500.  During the final event, each community constructed a champa and sold food and promoted other goods from their specific community.

Following the event, we conducted various evaluations with all participants and had numerous reflection sessions.   Based on the results of the information gathered, we have decided that we are going to suspend this project/event for 2012.  After the third year of holding the ARTE_RIO workshop and event, and watching it grow exponentially over the years, we feel that we no longer have the capacity, funds, nor clear enough vision to continue this project without it significantly taking away from our primary focus or on-going projects.  Therefore we will be taking a break for a year, restructuring the project and seeking more sustainable ways to fund and manage this project for the future.

Posted in Arts & Cultural Festival, Arts & Education, Organization, Programs and Projects | Leave a comment

New Horizons Scholarship Project Update

The two scholarship students (Eldy and Heidy) have been incorporated into the organization since August, and are working full time on staff.  They have also begun an orientation designed by Un Mundo which covers the admission exam and process, the scholarship and the work that they will be doing with Un Mundo.   We have also drawn up an agreement between Un Mundo and the two scholarship recipients for these first few months from August – December and negotiated a small stipend of L1000, and L50 deposited into a saving fund.  This savings and stipend amount will be for August through December 2011.  Starting in 2012, there will be a L500 increase each year if the results of their evaluations are positive.
Recently both Eldy and Heidy have put in their paperwork to receive their ID cards which will assure that they don’t have problems in the university.  Eldy has already received her ID and Heidy is waiting for hers to be processed.  Eldy has opened a bank account since she received her ID.  Both are visiting the university each week to assure their admission and participation in the admission exam.  Both women have filled out their application in UPNFM with a degree in Natural Sciences.  Initially they had both wanted to study mathematics, but this degree was no longer available for distance learning degrees, therefore they chose Natural Sciences, which will ultimately give them more opportunities in the education sector.  Two individuals have recently been identified to tutor Eldy and Heidy in order to guarantee their passing of the entrance exam.

Posted in Arts & Education, New Horizons, Organization, Programs and Projects | Leave a comment

High School Project Update

The construction of the first stage of the workshops has progressed significantly, having finished the walls for the first level of one of the buildings, now waiting for the next disbursement of funds to lay the ceiling and floor for the second story.  The other building of the two already has 7 rows of blocks cemented.  Up to this point, the transparency committee has received 6 disbursements of $5000 summing $30,000 of the $71,907.94 budgeted for the first phase or lower levels, meaning we have completed 42% of this phase.
The transparency committee meets every Friday to plan the work for the following week and to ensure success for the upcoming week.  Each work group/commission is working on the specific role that corresponds with their responsibilities.  Within the transparency committee they assume the role of supervision of the construction work on a weekly rotating basis, overseeing the work of the day laborers and ensuring that the committee is completing the weekly plans.  Additionally the supervisor meets with the workers at the beginning of each work week to give a revision of the most relevant rules and regulations in order to avoid misunderstandings or problems.
They have done a rotation of workers from the communities of El Pital, Las Mangas and El Naranjo.  One of the difficulties that they have had is that the representatives on the administration commission of the transparency committee do not live in El Pital, but rather live in Yaruca and Toncontin and it has been difficult to conduct urgent payments due to their distance from the construction site.  Due to this situation, the transparency committee decided to make an internal change to the commissions and name Carmindo Banegas as a new member of the administration commission to ensure payments of whatever need nearby the construction site.
The “Transparency Corner” bulletin board has not been updated yet because there was a problem with the material to post the information and the papers kept falling down.  The committee will be fixing this problem by the end of the month of September; however the committee has continued to share the reports with the local government groups in the various communities that are represented in the transparency committee.  Other committee business this past quarter was that the committee with Minke’s approval, was able to improve the salary of the workers to help with the increase in the costs of living.  We were able to negotiate a daily salary of L200 from L170, which was increased during the 5th disbursement.
This was actually not a real increase, since in other phases of the project the workers were paid L200, but by reducing the salary for the first four disbursements allowed us to reduce costs for this phase of the project.  During the negotiations with Minke of the increase in the salary, they were willing to approve the increase as long as the committee sought out other ways to save money in other areas of the project so that the overall budget did not increase.  As a result of this request, the committee requested the committee has sought out increased voluntary labor and materials from the community.  Recently, they have had the help of volunteers from the churches in El PItal, volunteers from Las Mangas and the students of the high school.

    Posted in Arts & Education, High School Project, Organization, Programs and Projects | Leave a comment

    Library Project Update

    The Library committee and the kindergarden committee are working together to achieve the goals of the project which is to remodel and contruct the local kindergarden and construct a community library on top of the kindergarden. Although both groups have been working on these goals, the library committee has showed much more maturity and unity than the kindergarden committee.  Over the past few months, the groups have been working on how to design floor plans or a blue print and a 3D model of the project, which is going to help them develop a project budget.   They have completed the first draft of both the floors plans and 3D model, but after evaluating their plans they are planning to make some adjustments and consider some additional details.  Un Mundo has been recommending that the group consider using more sustainable or ecological materials for the building construction to have less of an impact on the environment and they are currently considering what possibilities exist.
    During the months of August and September we have seen a great deal of apathy in both the Library and Kindergarden committee members in regards to attending meetings and completing work for the project’s development.  Due to this situation, Un Mundo drew up an agreement with the two groups with the goal of assuring their attendance, punctuality, participation and in the case of not compiling with the agreement giving Un Mundo grounds for letting go of support of this project.  We hope that this agreement will increase the communities commitment and seriousness for the project, and decrease their dependency on Un Mundo.
    Additionally the groups are planning on opening a bank account to assure improved management of project funds.  Similarly to the ASEC, these committees are also working monthly to conduct fundraising activities.  To date, the Library Committee has raised L2180 over the past three months and the kindergarden group has raised L1000.  A part of the agreement created requires that the groups generate between L800-L1200 monthly to help with start-up operational costs for the project.
    During the months of July, August and September the bibliobandido activity has not taken place because we have been conducting an evaluation of the project and are working on building a facilitators manual.  Additionally we have been working on orienting, preparing and strengthening the leadership of this project with the goal of creating more community leadership.  The primary leaders of this activity are children or youth ages 12-15.
    Monthly story time in El PItal has continued to be offered the first Sunday of every month.  The story time in August and September was very successful which we think is due to the change in the time of the story time being offered, now later and the involvement of new project leadership – one of our scholarship students is now leading this activity, along with a number of young people in El Pital.

      Posted in Arts & Education, Library Project, Organization, Programs and Projects | Leave a comment

      Cangrejal Special Education & Health Project Update

      The Special Education and Health Association of the Cangrejal Valley (ASEC – the parent committee) has maintained the same group of children since the beginning of the year.  ASEC have identified the areas of programming to later work on developing the curriculum for the development of a local program in the Cangrejal Valley itself.  Once ASEC has completed the curriculum outline, the Emilia ‘D Cuire School for Special Education has agreed to support the parents with guidance and suggestions to help the parents committee (ASEC) develop a curriculum which fits the needs of their children and the population in the Valley.
      The parents of the project have also identified three pieces of property for the local project (an education center and clinic which will be based in the Cangrejal Valley).  There are three potential sites which they are evaluating which are located in El Naranjo, Las Mangas and Toncontin, and they currently feel that the last option in Toncontin is the best option since the piece of land is very large and flat, which is ideal for the needs of the population that is being served.  The three pieces of land have been offered by local government groups or land owners as a donation to ASEC.  Both pieces of land in El Naranjo and Toncontin is owned by the municipality, therefore if these pieces were selected by the group, a solicitation would need to be made to the municipality from the local governing body of these communities, stating where the land is located in order to grant a full title to ASEC.  The land in Las Mangas is in the name of a local church and they would have to change the title and land over to ASEC.  The group is also looking at other land options in Rio Viejo and Yaruca.  In October, a group of parents will visit Wilfredo Almendares (a large land-owner) to make a formal solicitation for land possibilities Yaruca.  In the next parents meeting they will decide which land will be best fit for the project.
      The parent group has continued to hold fundraising activities with the objective of guarding funds for whatever emergency that presents itself within the project.  The parents currently have risen about L5000 in the past few months.
      The annual expenses of the project have increased significantly due to the school busito (van) having a problem with the motor oil, which has had to be refilled almost every week or two.  Per the recommendation of Rob Tuebner, they recently purchased a brand name oil filter from Nissan, which they are hoping will improve the problem.  If we do not see any improvements, then they will bring the bus to a mechanic once school ends, in the beginning of November.
      Posted in Cangrejal Special Education & Health Project, Organization, Programs and Projects, Public Health | Leave a comment

      Women’s Group Received Donation from CARE International

      The El Pital women’s group, Brisas del Cangrejal, is very excited because CARE INTERNATIONAL and PROCORREDOR donated tons of materials and utensils that they will use to set-up their temporary restaurant space. THANKS CARE INTERNATIONAL AND PROCORREDOR!
      Posted in Sustainable Livelihoods | Leave a comment

      SAVE THE DATE:NC Benefit 2011 – September 30

      Check back on August 15 for more details!

      Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

      Practicum Students 2011 – A Walk Down Memory Lane by Elias Dubon

      During May and June of 2011, I had the opportunity to orient the four practicum students from the local high school Polivalente Elvira Pineda Madrid Institute, whom were working in the Un Mundo office.

      It was an interesting experience for me working with them because less than a year ago, I too was a practicum student for Un Mundo, therefore witnessing their arrival made me aware of how much I have learned and grown from my experience with the organization in my short time, to such an extent that I was able to play a significant role in their training and preparation with the organization.

      I remember very clearly arriving for my practicum last year shy and scared to talk, not being able to fully express myself to the group, however over the course of my practicum I achieved many experiences in the projects on which I was working in the various communities helping me overcome some of my initial fears.

      When the new group of practicum students began their work with us at Un Mundo, the Un Mundo Directors gave me a work plan to orient the new students over a weeks time, putting me in charge of leading the large majority of the orientation.  While orienting the practicum students, I realized how much I have learned since I graduated, which has been due to my experiences working with all the rural communities in the Valley.  The experience made me feel so proud of myself and the individuals around me helping me to be a better person, understanding Un Mundo better and strengtheninng my ability to be a leader in my own community.

      Many of the projects I manage are in my own community of residence, which allows me to be an example for the rest of the community and particularly for the youth people in El Pital. Un Mundo has allowed me to have so many amazing experiences, teaching me how to be my best self, working with adult and children helping them to have a better future, with the ultimate goal of having a more unified cangrejal valley.

      Posted in Arts & Education, Organization, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

      Midwife Network Project Update

      General Information
      The midwives in the región have felt much more motivated and appreciated by the work they do thanks to the efforts of Un Mundo to recognize the importance of their work and help improve the work conditions of the group.
      The group had a meeting on May 25th to have the space to exchange experiences, present the results of Un Mundo’s study in 2010 and to prioritize the needs for a future project. The happiness of the group was contagious as they worked to identify their needs and search for strategies to improve the situations. In addition, the group also nominated 5 group leaders who will begin to meet regularly with Un Mundo staff to further define and develop how we can support one another
      Posted in Organization, Programs and Projects, Public Health, Viva la Partera Project | Leave a comment