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Volunteer & Intern News

Nutrition and Family Garden Program Underway in Jilimbí
May - June 2013
Brielle Davidson, Nutrition & Gardening InternBrielle Davidson, American gardening and nutrition intern, led the creation of a nutrition & family garden project in Jilimbí.  Brielle designed and broke ground on a demonstration garden, which will be used as a learning/ research laboratory and vegetable seedling nursery for the local community.  She also conducted a series of interviews to determine health and nutritional needs of local families, and created a cookbook with healthy recipes.  Before finishing her internship, she held the first in a series of monthly cooking classes to make the connection from seed to plate.
American Volunteers Conduct Research on Trees and CADO
May 2013
Community development training workshop with Marcus & Rachel RobertsMarcus Taylor, American agroforestry intern, and Rachel Roberts, American volunteer, spent much of the past month gathering tree seeds and seedlings from local communities for starting in CADO’s nursery. Marcus is a graduate student at the University of Copenhagen conducting research on the usage of trees in CADO agroecosystems. In addition to conducting surveys, he has been leading a series of workshops planning the growth of the CADO tree nursery.
American Economics Intern Conducts Cost of Production Survey
April 2013
Economics intern Evy DrawecEvy Drawec, an American economics/production-cost analysis intern, interviewed CADO organic sugarcane farmers and administration officials to investigate costs of production and important financial roadblocks for the cooperative.  Her project was an important step in the process of quantifying the total cost of production for fair trade sugar cane alcohol producers.  As a result of her work, a case study will be produced that will be extremely useful in understanding the costs of production in various communities as well as identifying various issues in the buying/exportation process.
Iowa State Students Construct Shade Frame for Tree Nursery
March 2013
Sustainable development volunteersTwelve students and 2 professors from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa stayed in with 3 families in Jilimbí for a service learning Spring Break trip in March. With assistance from a local farmer, the students harvested bamboo and constructed a shade frame for our tree nursery to protect seedlings from the sun during the summer. In addition, the students transplanted some 20 fruit trees from the existing nursery to help address the issue of food security in the area. They also volunteered at the local community center, reading books and playing games with primary school students.
Organizational Consultancy for CADO's Women's Committee
January & February 2013
Ben training the women's committe as part of the capacity building planThe 5 female farmers of CADO's women's committee worked with social responsibility consultant Ben Evans to develop the committee's organizational structure and operational plans.  The committee leadership was democratically elected in 2012 to guide community- and family-led social interest projects. At 7 participatory workshops the group focused on: (1) leadership skills training for the committee administrators, (2) a conceptual, values-based framework to establish the committee's purpose and direction, & (3) the essential organizational and operational documents necessary to guide actions. Now, the leaders of the "Comité de Mujeres CADO" (CMC) have new skills in the facilitation of participatory group decision making, reflective learning & appreciative dialogue leadership techniques. The committee leaders established mission & vision statements, & a values structure. They established an operational plan & budget for 2013, wrote an organizational policy to support greater participation of women in CADO, and instituted constitutional amendments recognizing the CMC as a formal structure in the cooperative.
Farewell to Sustainable Development Coordinator Margot Conover
December 2012
Margot ConoverAt the start of the month, CRACYP bade farewell to Margot Conover, Sustainable Development Coordinator from May 2011-December 2012.  Margot was instrumental in starting a number of projects, including the transition of CADO to becoming a Fair Trade organization, an after-school literacy program for children, and the development of an eco-tourism project.  She remains in touch with us and helps out as a consultant.  At the same time, CRACYP welcomes Nick Ohde as the new Sustainable Development Coordinator.  Nick will be using his extensive experience of agriculture and development to guide interns and volunteers through the challenges of life in the field.
New Sustainable Development Coordinator for Volunteer & Intern Program
October 2012
Nick OhdeNick Ohde, a graduate of Iowa State University with an MA in Sustainable Agriculture, has been working with CRACYP since July, helping with fair trade compliance and various community projects, and will now be promoted to take responsibility for volunteers and interns.  He is currently training with the current coordinator of the volunteer and intern program, Margot Conover and will assume her role in December.  Learn more about our volunteer opportunities and internship program and our new sustainable development coordinator.
Production Cost Analysis by Intern Will Help Assure Fair Prices
July 2012
Fair trade intern visiting sugar cane farms to analyse production costsAmerican intern Maya Cross, a senior at the University of Georgia, developed a production cost analysis for CADO. She interviewed CADO farmers in villages around the region to determine their cost of living and the input costs for their microdistilleries. Maya used this information to write a report detailing her findings and providing recommendations for continuing the study in the future. The report will be used to help CADO assure fair prices from international clients.
Native Trees Researched by Intern for Reforestation & Food Security
July 2012
Interns helping in the tree nursery producing seedlings for reforestationJapanese intern Junko Tomae, a sophomore at Soka University, spent 6 weeks researching native trees in the area and organizing a tree nursery.  She planted over six hundred seedlings of native and fruit-bearing species as part of CRACYP's reforestation and food security programs.  Junko organized and led a minga (community work group) to clear the pasture for the nursery on land recently purchased by CADO.  The seedlings will go to CADO members to be planted on their farms.
Educational Interns Develop Ecological Curriculum
July 2012
Primary education volunteer in local school in EcuadorInterns, British Millie Townsend of Oxford University and American Sam Holte of Beloit University, worked as a team to create a primary education program at the Jilimbí school. They developed an ecologically themed curriculum and gave dynamic, interactive lessons.  As a side project, they also interviewed dozens of CADO members to make a video that will be used for client education and marketing.

More information about volunteering in Ecuador

Volunteer for Green Progress with CRACYP:
working holidays in sustainable development, conservation and reforestation;
Ecuador volunteering opportunities in rural communities and community projects;
volunteer jobs & voluntary work in Ecuador's eco-tourism development;
volunteer service: openings for consultants to use their professional experience & expertise.