The families with which we have been working in our six communities have now successfully graduated from Sustainable Harvest International (SHI). SHI is no longer working in the Department of Santa Barbara. We will continue the Trinidad Conservation Program work in Santa Barbara, but with a new set of nonprofit partners. As a result, our work with Roy Lara continues, and he has become a part of our new Honduran partner., Vecinos Honduras.
This new chapter is exciting for us. First, something about our new partners: Groundswell International has its offices here in Washington, and Vecinos Honduras (Honduras Neighbors), in Honduras. While many of the previous objectives remain intact from our former work (reforestation, “sustainable” agriculture), there are new nuances: an explicit connection is made with environmental awareness at the village level and practical actions that can be undertaken to mitigate climate change in particular, “community led processes”, concern for gender issues, and an emphasis on local determination and self sufficiency. Underpinning all of these is a profound belief in interconnectedness with the environment and others.
Here is a bit more about Groundswell International and Vecinos Honduras. Groundswell is an “umbrella” nonprofit: it has affiliate organizations in, among others, Guatemala, Haiti, Ecuador, Mali, Nepal, and Ghana. Its core values are local action leading to global impact by fostering connections, lasting change, agroecological farming, etc. Vecinos continues these values.
Steve Brescia, Executive Director of Groundswell, and Edwin Escoto, Executive Director of Vecinos, are exciting, dynamic leaders.
Here is a bit about the new program as it is presently visualized. The program, will last for three years (with the possibility of renewal), operate in five communities — three from our original cluster, and two entirely new villages from a neighboring area. The Vecinos methodology will be applied, and participants from the original villages will become “extenionistas” in the new villages. Roy is at present a consultant and has worked with Edwin to frame the start up of a three year project in the municipalities of Chinda and Ilama both of which are near Trinidad, Honduras. We are presently reviewing. a budget and proposal that will cover activities through the end of 2016.
In some respects, this seems like another mountain to climb, but we are really excited about the journey. We continue with Roy, our good friend and the villagers whom we have come to love. We have made new friends with Edwin and his staff, and people in the “new” villages. Broadly speaking, the new partnership will work to build alliances among organizations in Honduras and connections with new organizations here in the United States.
So, we invite you to share in our excitement about how TCP can continue to empower the rural Honduran poor and help the environment.