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Since its inception in 1982, FAVACA agricultural projects have been an important component in the continued development of the region. With a large portion of populations throughout the region dependant on bountiful harvests for their livelihood, projects that can help farmers maximize their efficiency can have a dramatic impact on the lives of the community members. Whether it is beekeeping, horticulture, or swine husbandry, all of our agricultural projects look to have an immediate and lasting effect. Some of our past programs include, but are not limited to:
- Market weight of Belizean pigs from Double Head Cabbage Village is up 40 percent with the help of Fruitland Park Florida swine-husbandryman Eddie Boston.
- The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation, and the St. Lucia Ministry of Agriculture received training from volunteer Dr. Richard Lee, of Florida's Lake Alfred Citrus Research Center, in methods of identifying and controlling the spread of the tree-killing citrus tristeza virus.
- Wayne Odegaard, extension director for Florida's Hernando County, provided training in dairy farm management to members of the Macal Dairy Cooperative in Belize addressing such problems as herd health, calf rearing, housing, feeding, record keeping and milking.
Small business development has become one of the more popular project types with which FAVACA works. As is true everywhere, the small business sector is usually responsible for the majority of new employment. The growth of the sector in any country can translate into employment opportunities and the further development of an economy. From marketing to accounting to micro lending, the importance of business development can not be overstated. FAVACA has long supported small business development with this end in mind. Some of our past programs include, but are not limited to:
- The Cayman Islands Investment Bureau requested the expertise of small business experts for the training of the outreach counselors that travel throughout the island nation advising and training rural and small business owners.
- Volunteer Phillip John Corrigan eagerly traveled to Port-au-Prince to work with the women’s NGO, Femmes en Production, to consult on overcoming bureaucratic hurdles to exportation, particularly to the Dominican Republic and the United States.
- Caravane de la Paix, an anti-violence organization in Haiti, received assistance in creating a unified and effective set of financial protocols and best-practice models in non-profit accounting and contract reporting for them to implement
With the influx in numbers of NGOs and non-profits over the past 30 years an increasing number of issues are being addressed at the local, national and international levels. Many of the young local organizations striving to make a change in their communities and in their countries lack the institutional know how that comes from years of working in international development. The success of any organization in any sector depends highly on its ability to execute all of its duties, from funding to staffing, in an efficient and effective manner. FAVACA programs like NGO Strengthening work to address this exact issue by pairing requesting organizations with expert consultants with several years of experience in the arena. Some of our past programs include, but are not limited to:
- Mayor Joseph Depas of Cabaret and Mayor Simon Lapointe of Anse-A-Galets, Haiti, received technical assistance in strengthening municipal capacity and promoting economic development in tourism and fishing. Assistance was provided by Mayor Sheila Mullins, Key West, and Alan Woolwich, planner for the Florida Department of Community Affairs.
- The Coalition Against Substance Abuse in Barbados hosted Professor of Grant Writing at the University of South Florida, Mrs. Barbara Howell. A thorough 3 day seminar on all aspects of grant and proposal writing, as well as source finding, was conducted for members of Barbados’ non-profit sector.
- Former Managing Editor of The Miami News and prominent Miami public relations executive, Otis Wragg III, trained twenty-one journalists from seven eastern Caribbean nations in how to report drug abuse issues beyond the superficial and sensational aspects.
Amongst the many things Florida has in common with its neighbors is the volatility of the tropical weather patterns that often plague the region during a large part of the year. On top of the potential devastation that the many hurricanes in the region can bring, many other nations must also deal with mudslides, floods, and earthquakes. One of the most valuable forms of technical assistance and/or training that FAVACA can provide is training in the field of disaster preparedness and mitigation. Florida’s history of violent storms has resulted in this state being a fountain of information and expertise in the subject matter. Spreading that wealth of knowledge throughout the region is imperative for continued development of our neighbors. Some of our past programs include, but are not limited to:
- In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, the Center for Community Development (CEDECO) in Puerto Cortés, Nicaragua, sought engineering assistance in developing a project proposal for rebuilding and paving roads destroyed by the storm. Florida Department of Transportation engineer George Cole, conducted field work and participated in community meetings.
- Dr. Yolene Surena, director, Haiti Bureau of Civil Protection, hosted training for Bureau emergency planners to develop a national emergency management plan. The plan included all sectors involved in emergency management: police, fire, airport, public health, public works, social affairs, Red Cross and others.
- FAVACA sponsored 17 international delegates from 10 neighboring countries to attend the annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference in Ft, Lauderdale, FL. The Conference provided an excellent opportunity for receiving training on a wide variety of subjects including Incident Management Team, Building High Performance Disaster Response Teams, Emergency Planning for Special Needs Populations and Hurricane Decision Making Scenarios.
The expansive biodiversity throughout the Caribbean and Latin America is very well documented. From rolling mountains to tropical rain forests, and from thick jungles to booming coral reef communities, the environment in the region is an intricate part of the lives and livelihood of many of the regions inhabitants. With the effects of severe climate changes, and when you add the rich and long cultural heritage throughout the hemisphere, the importance of being proactive in preserving and addressing the multiple issues that threaten their existence is imperative. Some of our past programs include, but are not limited to:
- Through an innovative program involving local students, the Tobago Community Water Watch Network sought assistance in identifying and developing low-cost residential waste treatment systems. Florida Department of Environmental Protection engineer, Greg Brown of Tallahassee, consulted with members of the Network and local government on how to identify sources of pollution and determine locally appropriate systems for control.
- Kathleen Sullivan, assistant professor of marine biology at the University of Miami, consulted with the Dominican Republic National Planning Office on how to develop a management plan for coastal areas of the country. Her focus included classification and characterization of the coral reefs.
- Archaeologist Kelley Scudder and Mike Temple traveled to Nevis to provide training in promoting effective management of the historical, cultural, and natural resources of the island. The training included archaeological, conservation, and handling of artifacts. They also helped develop the nation’s first protocols and procedures for archaeologists working in Nevis.
The health and social indicators of developing regions are very often the focus of humanitarian work. Despite our wide range of focus areas, the Health & Social programs play a crucial role in the assistance provided to our neighbors. The chronic negligence of health issues and lack of access to readily available care in many parts of the region signify a clear need for organizations to work to fill this gap. The social inequality and problems are also magnified throughout the region, and programs that can help address and have an impact on these issues are a developmental and moral imperative. Some of our past programs include, but are not limited to:
- Nicarguan-born Miami physician, Dr. Raúl Lagos Armas, traveled to the Estelí region of his home country to plan for training of Ministry of Health rural health care providers. This project was a part of an ongoing collaboration between FAVACA and the United States Southern Command's Humanitarian Assistance Program.
- In order to address the serious problem of domestic violence in the Dominican Republic, FAVACA volunteers trained several administrators from two shelters and government officials from the Office of Women Affairs. Areas covered included information on shelter operations, organization, barriers, staffing, funding, and daily operations. Participants also requested details on a holistic approach involving the community, transitional housing, outreach services, and offender intervention.
- Director of Development for the Adelante Foundation, requested for veteran FAVACA volunteer Lisa Green, West Palm Beach, to return to La Ceiba, Honduras to revamp Adelante's education program. Green traveled January 26 - April 15 and created a plan of action, performed observations in the field, experimented with a variety of methodologies, conducted in-office training, as well as teaching in numerous communities. Green worked closely with Adelante staff member Edna Rivera to assist rural children and women in the towns of La Cebia, Pela and Aguan in becoming self-sufficient.