We talk with Aldea Development employees Pedro Hernández and Martir Alvarado about our Community Partnership Program and the community projects we've been working on this summer:
Q: What have you noticed new this year with the Community Partnership Projects?
Pedro: We're seeing that the groups are doing their work with love as if it were for their own personal benefit, not just for the community they are partnering with. I also see that each year there is growth between the group and the village: the groups start to know the children's names, and the community remembers by name the ones who have visited for multiple years.
The groups are making many friendships in La Unión itself, with the children and the families of those who work with Aldea Development. This is something new this year - really being involved with the translators and families - and the care they have for each other. For example, a couple of the translators this year found their own transportation to join the group on days when they weren’t scheduled to translate.
Martir: There is more participation of the groups directly in the development of the projects. The ones in the groups are teaching skills they know, and are very involved in the work itself, not just in sending the funds. They are becoming involved in the management of the projects, and it's successful, too.
Q: What are you excited about for the future of the community partnerships?
P: Something that's important for each project and group is continuing to gain experience; whenever we have problems that we have to figure out, we gain experience for the future. It's also important the credibility that the groups have with the communities. When the groups come and promise to do something, the communities know that, even if it takes a while and is done in phases, the group will follow through.
We're excited about finishing the projects we have started, doing them by phases. We hope that the groups are able to continue supporting the communities after one project is completed. We also hope to partner with more communities to have additional supporters for those villages that need it.
Martir: The good thing is that the communities already know the method we use in each project - doing it by phases. I like this method because it helps the members of the village do their own work in their fields at the same time as they work on the project. If the project required that everything were finished all at once, the community members would have to stop working in their fields.
I agree with Pedro, there are other villages we’d love to help with a community partnership. And, it’s really beautiful to see the partnerships growing and the care that the communities have for each other.
Q: What will you be focusing on in the next few months?
P: We have to begin planning the next coffee purchasing season so it's well organized and ready. We also continue to keep track of this year's microloan information, tracking payments and interest for microloan clients.
M: We are continuing with the community projects that we've been working on. We're almost ready to deliver loans for the second round, in September. And, we have some work to do at the beneficio before next harvest.