Monday, November 2, 2009

Project Status Update

We faced several challenges on our most recent trip to El Salvador in June. The goal of the trip was to conduct a pre-assessment of the project site, collect detailed community demographic and spatial information, establish a working relationship with the community, and determine the feasibility of the project alternatives. Unfortunately, the June trip did not have the outcome that we anticipated.

The community of Miraflores 3 is highly divided by political affiliations, to the extent that they cannot work together. The country’s presidential elections in March resulted in a president from the left wing party, which is the first time they’ve been represented since the end of the civil war in 1992. The community saw the same changes, the municipality changed parties for the first time in their history (the community was mostly formed after the earthquakes hit San Salvador in 2001). EWB has a rule that when we choose a community to work with, we need to make a commitment to work with them for at least 5 years on one or many projects, depending on how the projects progress. When we tried to host a community meeting in Miraflores, we saw very clearly that the political divisions within the community would jeopardize the success of any project as well as the success of any relationship.

Also, one of the project objectives was to design and build an extension of the medical clinic. When we asked the local NGO (Manos Amigas) if they would use local labor from the community for free so they could be more involved in the project (this is one of EWB’s strategies), Manos Amigas said they would use an external contractor, instead of seeking help from within the community.

By the end of the trip, we decided to stop working with the community of Miraflores on the project. We made that decision together with the Pediatricians for Central America’s Children (PFCAC), who initially invited us to a project in Miraflores. We are now working together with PFCAC to find another community where we can work together for health related projects.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Reunion

After more than two months of working separately, it was high time for all four Miraflores Project teams - Fundraising, Community Involvement, Clinic Expansion, and Water - to meet again as one group. There was, of course, much to discuss, but in the name of brevity we'll stick to the highlights:
  • The Fundraising team has raised (from online donations, grants, and last month's happy hour) $6-7,000. Exact numbers will be known once National releases an update on online donations.
  • The Community Involvement team is planning activities that will help the assessment team engage the Miraflores community and foster the creation of a governing body for the community. The group is also hoping to start a penpal program between students here in NYC and the Miraflores elementary school.
  • To improve efficiency and better share information, the clinic expansion and water teams will start conducting joint meetings. The first such meeting will be this Monday, February 16.
  • Our Assessment Trip has been pushed back to early June (exact dates not yet known) to coincide with PFCAC's own trip. More details should emerge after the February 24 when PFCAC will hold its general meeting.
Miraflores Project general team meetings will now be held once a month. For next month's meeting we will go over the tasks each team needs to accomplish on the assessment trip and how that impacts our budget and available funds.

Thanks to Toshi for hosting this month's meeting at URS. The date, time, and location of the next meeting is TBD.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Adrian Betanzos, Project Lead
Rachel Webre, Fundraising Lead

Last Thursday's fundraising event was a success! We netted an outstanding $1,715 for the project, bringing our total fundraising efforts to date to an impressive $6,215! With the amount raised we will be able to have tests performed on the clinic well and send a team of 4 engineers down to El Salvador in April for an assessment trip. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you and hope you continue supporting the Miraflores project and EWB-NY.

Adrian, Rachel, & the entire Miraflores Team

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Kick Off Fundraising Event!

[click to enlarge]

Upcoming Meetings

Thursday, January 8th @ 7 pm
Location - Galway Hooker
(The private room upstairs is reserved under Rachel's name)
7 East 36th Street, between 5th and Madison

Tuesday, January 13th
Location - Kate's Joint (Vegetarian, Health Food)
58 Avenue B, New York 10009 At 4th St

Community Involvement
Thursday, January 22th @ 6:30 pm
Location - Think Coffee (1 Bleecker at Bowery)

* Please contact the group leads (listed below) with any comments or questions.