Illinois South Conference Ecuador Partnerships

Illinois South Conference Ecuador Partnerships

Report of Five Year Evaluation of Ecuador Partnership

FEDICE works to liberate the indigenous women high in the Andes Mountains by means of a loan program for the development of micro-enterprises in agriculture and animals. Women are responsible for the success of each project, but Fedice provides technical assistance in such areas as accounting, pasture management, health and care of the animals, etc.

Chuquiragua Club provides scholarships for young women to attend high school. The ISC is presently providing scholarships for 20 girls. As these girls have graduated from high school–many first in their class–ISC has offered college scholarships to 8 of them. Habitat Ecuador, our newest partner, provides housing for families in Ecuador living below the poverty line. ISC built one in 2005, will build two in the summer of 2006, and have committed to build 9 more in the next 5 years.

FUNEDESIN provides high school education to students in the small, remote villages of the rain forest. This is an experimental farm program where students spend 21 days at the school, then return to their village, and another group comes in. Dormitories are provided, and the school is teaching both traditional classes and hands-on courses in agriculture, ecology, forestry, and tourism. The Integrated Family Service Center is a Christian counseling center that provides services to indigenous people in the prevention of violence and abuse.

Advent/St. Nicholas Church joined with ISC this year as a partner with a program to provide immersion experiences for pastors from the United States where they might live, learn, and appreciate another culture.

Report of Five Year Evaluation of Ecuador Partnership
Jan. 7 through Jan. 14, 2005

Jan. 7, 2005 – The first day of the evaluation meeting was held at the Center for Integrated Family Services from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Representatives from all four partners were present. The team from ISC presented their evaluation of the partnership and reported: 43 of 87 churches are participating; 60 people from ISC have traveled to Ecuador in mission teams; various methods are used within the ISC to promote the partnership; many lives of people in ISC have been ;

Chuquis: Goal: benefit the poorest in our society. Research – women least valued people and those with the fewest resources. Men only finish secondary school. Girls leave school by 8th grade if not before. Started with scholarships for 5 girls in 6th grade.

Now have girls in school in 3 regions: Quito – 46; Sierra – 35; Coast – 20; Amazon – 8.

Total of 109. Also provide workshops through CIF to deal with problems of poverty, low self esteem; poor confidence; sexual issues; alcoholism in the family, violence in the family, and how to plan for the rest of your life. These workshops have been extremely successful, with only 4 girls leaving the program—two moved out of the area,

The girls themselves praise the workshops and how the topics discussed have changed their lives. 

FEDICE (Faith speaks) Liberation of the indigenous people spiritually, socially, and economically. Basic purpose – create consciousness of their own change. They are the action of their own destiny. 100% of projects managed by the women. Long process. 18 projects in Cotopaxi. Recent mission team from ISC came to Cotopaxi to build a Women’s Center. With impact of Free Trade agreement, this mission team changed how the people in Cotopaxi saw Americans. Projects include white onions, pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, sheep, cows. Involves a rotating fund loan with interest. Loan must be repaid within one year. Training is provided once a month by FEDICE including nutrition for animals, accounting practices, medical treatment of animals, good pasture management, organization and leadership, gender issues. Through these projects, nutrition of the people has improved, migration to the cities has decreased, people have more income for their families, more children are attending school, women have found value in themselves and their lives. Many communities are now finding their own loans and working with other leadership groups to complete public work projects.

Funedesin – Beginning a new school, middle school through high school in cooperation with the Ecuador Ministry of Education. school will include a curriculum that is taught through a practical approach, i.e. learning academic skills while working in the experimental farm or forest reserve. Breaks tradition of education in a box as the traditional learning within the indigenous community is an oral tradition. Students will focus on Agriculture, forestry, and tourism. It will include dormitories so that students can spend 15 days at school, and 15 days back in their remote villages. The school will start with 60 students Sept. 2005. The Ministry of Education will finance the salaries of the teachers. Each student that graduates will receive a high school diploma, plus a certificate of practical experiences.

Center for Integrated Family Services: Begun in l995, the Center attempts to help families overcome difficulties by identifying the problem and teaching ways to deal with it. The Center frequently invites professionals from outside Ecuador to present workshops to the staff and community.

Lines of Action: Training – The Center regularly trains doctors, teachers, pastors, and students in the community and schools how to understand family problems within the family. The Center also provided a Master of Science degree through the Polytechnical University in Systemic Family Therapy. In February, this degree will be offered in cooperation with the Christian University. Outside of Quito, family facilitators are trained in a 150 hour program, working with churches, and NGOs in various parts of the country. The Center is also working with municipalities to prevent violence with youth at risk.

In Dec. a program with CLAI will begin with workshops for pastors, training them to help people find their own resources in their difficulties. Pastors also recognize that they themselves have problems and need tools other than the Bible. This program will eventually be presented in 7 additional countries in Central and South America.

The Center is also involved in a program called Voices of Change, which provides therapy to prevent violence in male offenders.

The Center has begun a support group for divorced women and is eager to provide other support groups to the community.

During the presentation of each partners goals and objectives, our committee noticed that the other partners were paying very close attention, then asking questions, then beginning to verbalize ways that there might be cooperation between one or more of the partners. It was not as if these groups did not know about each other—most attending Advent St. Nicholas Church! But they had never taken the time to explore what each might offer the other. It was very exciting to see this happening at our evaluation meeting.

                                    INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS WITH PARTNERS 

Jan. 10 – 9:30 a.m. Funedesin

Douglas McMeekan, Director, explained the new school that will open in the rain forest in September. The program is just for students in the rain forest and is approved and supported by the Ministry of Education. (Financial support from Ministry is for the salaries of the teachers only) The school with start at 7th grade and go through 12th grade. Students will live in dormitories with a house mother. School will be year round with students rotating in school for 15 days and then return to their community for 15 days. The program will begin with 60 students. Upon graduation, the students will receive a High School Diploma, plus a certificate of practical experience. Funedesin will pay an additional bonus for teachers as it is difficult to recruit teachers for the rain forest. The curriculum will include Agriculture, Forestry/Conservation, and Tourism. The curriculum will be taught through immersion education on a 125 acre experimental farm in the morning, and classes in the afternoon. No new buildings will be required.

Douglas reported that the Mondana Clinic became economically unfeasible. Negotiations are underway for the Ministry of Health of Ecuador to assume responsibility for the clinic. At this point, the Clinic belongs to the community of Mandana.

The Ecuador Committee and the staff of Funedesin then discussed mission teams that come to the rain forest. Douglas expressed that “gringos with stuff” create big problems for he and his staff. He does not want teams coming down with anything that is not part of a project requested by villages or the new school. Visiting communities has also become a problem. Villagers feel as though they are on display. With more and more visitors, the villages are finding ways to take advantage of the people who come in ways that are really not always appropriate. Douglas would like to request that any team that comes down learns the culture and ways of the people by working on the experimental farm with the students. He also said that groups coming down should know about Plan Columbia and the effects this program has on the indigenous people, and should also be aware of the effects of the debt of the people from loans through World Bank.

FEDICE: Tocagon – women knitting but unable to sell product. One middleman offered $.60 for a wool hat. This doesn’t even cover cost of wool. The market is shrinking; demand is low, particularly in January. These women can do anything with a pattern. They work in the fields during the morning, then knit in the afternoon. This village is also interested in training people to not use chemicals in the strawberry fields.

Women in the second village are interested in starting embroidery projects. They need a sewing machine. They need samples and patters of things that might sell in the US.

In our meeting with FEDICE Victor expressed disappointment that the capital campaign fund did not produce enough to purchase the truck that we had promised. He also expressed concern that Hunger Action had not sent any funds last year or this year (?) He was happy with the group that came under Gus Kuether’s leadership and built part of the women’s center in Cotopaxi. They people of Planchaloma have gotten $28,000 from the provincial government to finish the project and buy furniture. Victor reports that there are still three students in tech school. Segundo need to finish, he was not sure about Blanca and Leon. We need to set a policy about how many years we will continue to send support for people who are not finishing, or continue to change their major.

We expressed concern to Victor about how difficult it is to get him to answer e-mails that are sent. We also told him that we could no longer continue to visit 6 or 8 projects while we were in Ecuador. Many of these projects have no ties to ISC, and the trips are very exhausting. We suggest visiting no more than 3 projects at any given visit.

Visits with the girls: Students can choose to attend any high school in the city. Some travel up to 25 miles to attend the school that they’ve chosen. Many of the better high schools in the city receive thousands of applications and take only 400 students. Two of our girls attend Manuela Canezares High School which is very highly rated. The school does have a bus that brings the students to school, but this service costs $15 per month, which many families could not afford. Therefore, most of our student must choose to attend the high school in their community. Evelyn Alexandra, one of the students at MC, said, “Thanks to all of the kind people who are giving me this opportunity. This is a wonderful school. There are many people here interested in helping students. My major is physics/mathematics. I will do my best for myself and all of you. Please continue to pray for me as I will for you. I also will keep you in my heart.”