CRACYP Progreso Verde logo - a tree

Community Development
Community development projects have results beyond the school, community building or sports facility constructed or renovated, they also strengthen the community's organisational capacity and social networks.  The members of CRACYP have run or facilitated around 35 projects in local communities over the last 16 years, usually hosting two groups a year from Global Routes.  Development project outcomes have included school buildings, packing sheds for processing local crops, community meeting rooms, health centres, sports facilities and the Piedra Blanca community ecotourism lodge.
Firstly the community must decide what they want from a project, which means that different groups within the village must work together to decide on development priorities.  Community leaders and representatives such as teachers, sports captains, producer groups, parish councillors and youth groups negotiate the relative merits of their suggested projects to agree on one plan for the village.  Then they must all present the plan to CRACYP, in competition with other villages, to win the chance to host volunteers.  In this way we aim to select villages with strong motivation to complete projects which are supported by all sections of the community. 
Development project preparations starts around a year before our volunteers set out for Ecuador.  Construction plans must be drawn up, in agreement with the community and within the proposed budget.  We encourage the use of local materials and eco-friendly designs where feasible.  Meanwhile, the volunteers are fundraising for their trip and studying Spanish so that they will be able to communicate with their hosts.  Nearer the project date, accommodation must be arranged with families in the village and construction materials bought. 
Volunteers stay with local families and work together with them on the construction project.  The cultural exchange of ideas and experiences is educational for both sides and many of the friendships made last well beyond the end of the development project.  Our young volunteers from Global Routes bring funds, energy and enthusiasm which help motivate the community to complete the project.  Knowing that volunteers will raise funds and travel from so far away to help is a great boost to the self-esteem of the village.
Overseas volunteers have played a vital role in our community development projects in Ecuador.  See the Volunteering section for current individual volunteer opportunities with CRACYP, either in Ecuador or online, internships in rural development, or the Global Routes website for opportunities for teenagers from the United States to participate in a future group project. 
Ecuador Travel Information

Community development - a series of small rural development projects in small agricultural villages in Ecuador.
A series of Green Progress sustainable development projects from or facilitated by CRACYP with help from overseas volunteers.

Community members unloading a lorry on a community development projectVolunteers and locals collecting natural materials for construction
Eco-lodge in Piedra Blanca, Ecuador, constructed by volunteers and local familiesVolunteers working with local families on a community construction
Community members and volunteers pose for a photoVolunteer arriving at rural home in Ecuador