Volunteer Weekend Held April 12 and 13 in Quito and Papallacta
In order to facilitate sharing and discussion, Una Opcion Más organized a special weekend for volunteers from various network associations. We believe it is important to provide aid and counsel before, during, and after each volunteer’s mission, as well as to offer entertainment to help build bonds between volunteers.
As part of this, Una Opcion Más held a special weekend in Quito for its volunteers. On Saturday, attendees were given the opportunity to discuss their missions, their host associations, and daily life in Ecuador while playing games and attending workshops. Nelly, an art therapist with FUNSIBA, showed off her artistic talents and demonstrated her creativity by creating the first page of her logbook, which revealed her pre-departure anxieties. Charlotte, a music teacher at Clave de Sur, talked about the importance to future volunteers of sharing her experience. Laurène, an event planner at Hogar para Todos, intends to finish her degree when her volunteer period is over. All of them had positive things to say about their experiences, having acquired or developed new skills, shared good times with their association, and had unforgettable encounters. They also discovered an Ecuador rich in diverse landscapes that kindled their desire to travel.
On Sunday, we and our volunteers visited the thermal baths in Papallacta north of Quito. We had a delightful day filled with delicious local trout and revitalizing hot springs in the heart of the mountains.
Une Opcion Más would like to thank its volunteers, Charlotte, Laurène, and Nelly, for all their help over the weekend. Their feedback, impressions, and experiences are invaluable to the development of the Una Opcion Más network.
Translated by Andie Ho
Training week end on project management for the network members of Una Opción Más in Quito
On October 26 and 27, the network members of Una Opción Más got the chance to meet again. Indeed, in order to meet better the needs of its members, Una Opción Más organized its first training about project management.
It is within the premises of Una Opción Más in Quito that a great number of the members gathered in order to share and strengthen their skills and experiences about project management. In order to help them, three social workers accepted to share their experiences with the associations. Santiago Boada (advisor for the Ecuadorian Red Cross) presented what a project is and what it stands for, while insisting on the writing standards. Danilo Valdiviezo (president of the board of directors and member of the committee of the advisory council of Una Opción Más) presented the stakes of international cooperation, making work the participants on a case study by a United Nations call for entries. Finally, Lorena Diaz (head of the PRAS (environmental and social reparation program at the Ministry of Environment) presented a case study about project assessments and follow-ups.
During these two days, the network members learnt key tools for the wording, the follow-up and the assessment of the projects. Indeed, a project has to go through different steps and each step has new stakes, goals, strategies and tactics. Going beyond a theoretical approach, the participants were able to use those tools while making practical exercises performed in groups and restituted eventually to the audience.
These two days training were enriching for the associations members of the network. The event ended in a good atmosphere with the delivery of the diplomas, the network certificates and a series of pictures.
All this demonstrates the relationship that is being developed and reinforced between all the members of Una Opción Más.
Translated by Alexandra Calame
The first summer camp for the beneficiaries of Creando Futuro, with assistance from Funsiba.
On the 20th and 21st of July, the Creando Futuro association organised its first summer camp for handicapped children from the town of Muisne and the surrounding area. Funsiba, a member of the organisation Une Option de Plus (UODP), also participated in the event.
Everything happened very quickly. In May 2013, Maricledis Cagua, coordinator of Creando Futuro, shared with UODP her desire to organise a summer camp for the handicapped children in her local area, the first of its kind. The idea, she said, would be to get children and parents together over a weekend and offer a variety of workshops to them all with both fun and education in mind. Two months later, and it’s all over. The camp took place on the grounds of a school in the town of Muisne. All in all, counting both children and parents, 130 people came out to attend the event; a far higher number than Creando Futuro expected.
Four workshops were on offer to the participants: arts and crafts, art therapy, sexuality among handicapped persons, and bread making. Each workshop was run by a professional in that field and had clearly defined aims.
Two of these workshops (art therapy and sexuality among handicapped persons) were led by Funsiba, an association that is also a member of UODP. Indeed, when Driana and Bolivar (managers of Funsiba) were contacted by Maricledis to take part, they didn’t hesitate for a moment. It’s all in the name of “team spirit which should be likes a network” said Driana. A perfect attitude from the last association to have joined the network.
Parents and children thus learnt to use recycled materials to make photo frames, to use music and painting as means for physical and psychological therapy, to speak about sexuality among handicapped persons (an extremely taboo subject), and to make bread for a few cents, with the aim of making a supplementary income from it.
In addition to this purely practical learning, it was the first time that these families had come together in such high numbers with the chance to share, talk, and get to know each other. To bring things together, when the event came to a close, a member of the government made an appearance. The families made the most of it, telling them about their wishes, getting the masses involved in their activities.
A success right across the board, and this was only the first incarnation! A big congratulations is therefore due to all of the Creando Futuro team and to Funsiba who made this event possible without any precedent whatsoever in the entire history of the region of Muisne. Here’s to next year!
Translated by Cheryl Traylor
On July 7, 2013, the youngsters of Plan Ecuasol went to Ibarra for an exchange day with the children benefited by Christo de la Calle.
What place could be more appropriate for this day than the Yuyucocha resort, a paradise where the children can enjoy the swimming pool, sports courts, trampolines, etc.?
Cristo de la Calle loaned this site on Sunday to accommodate forty children arrived from Quito. The objective of the gathering was simple: allow beneficiaries of the two associations from different cities and backgrounds to take advantage of a day of rest and recreation.
Of course, the pool with the slide and the zip line were the best places on this beautiful and sunny Sunday. And of course, football played a role as the adolescents from Ibarra played a match against those from Quito.
Time often goes by too fast when you're having fun! And it was very hard to say goodbye. Tired but happy and after fighting to get on the bus, the plan beneficiaries got back on the road to Quito.
Translated by Katherine Leiva
Anual seminar 2013 : ¡ Una Opción Mas, Soy Yo ! (Une Option de Plus, That’s ME !)
Every year, for the past four years, two members from each of the network’s associations have taken part in the Une Option de Plus in-house seminar known as “el Encuentro anual de Una Opción Más”. Over the course of a weekend, the associations meet, discuss and exchange in a spirit of cooperation in order to improve the work of each but also and above all a network approach.
We met in Cuenca, the Athens of Ecuador, on June 8th and 9th, in a warm atmosphere and the beautiful of la Casa del Migrante. This small, colonial style house is laid out over two floors around an open-air patio, which proved a great setting for the presentation material set up for the occasion: photographs of the network in action, an Une Option de Plus France stand, a map of Ecuador representing the geographical distribution of the network’s associations along with their respective activity sectors, and the indispensible Une Option de Plus banner.
Forty-three people took part in the “Una Opción Más Soy Yo” seminar. We chose this evocative name to echo this year’s theme: working as a network. In name and in content, this entire seminar would be one to bring together associations that would identify with the slogan “Una Opción Más Soy Yo”.
Over the two days, the French team and the President of Une Option de Plus, who travelled especially for the occasion, presented the work carried out in France. Spanning from communication to pursuing financing, sending voluntary workers and, more recently, facilitating children’s workshops on inter-cultural issues, the seminar participants discovered a project of significant scope.
The two days featured activities promoting team work and encouraging a feeling of belonging to a network: examining the strengths and weaknesses of each association, practical workshops run by association members and games such as the so-called “NASA” game, which illustrates how team work always yields the best results.
To sum up, these two days certainly allowed participants to enrich their associative project and to see the advantages of working as part of a network. In addition, the “How to work together” session provided us with several ideas as to how to bolster network efficacy, be it with regard to the role of the network or the associations of which it is composed. The election of two association representatives to the Una Opción Más Advisory Committee also denotes a turning point in the building and consolidation of our network. Congratulations to Dr Vicente Alejandro, from the Unisur association, who is taking up presidency of the local Advisory Committee and to Driana Heras, of the FUNSIBA association, who will take up the role of Vice President of the Committee.
The Une Option de Plus team would like to thank those who made the trip: the associations, director of the Pro Movilidad Humana Committee Danilo Valdiviezo, the Una Opción Más volunteers working in Ecuador, the Una Opción Mas translators that came from Equatorial Guinea, and the staff of the Casa del Migrante for their warm welcome and their service.
The Une Option de Plus team is actively working towards the next associative meeting, which will take place in October in the context of the Project Management training.
Until next time, we wish you continued success and look forward to seeing you all again.
=> More picture in our Facebook page ! <=
Melvin Jones welcomes the network's associations for a day of disability training.
It is undeniably the biggest event of early 2013 for the network Une Option de Plus!
On Saturday 20th April, about forty participants arrived in Libertad, on the premises of Melvin Jones, for a day of training on educational and professional integration for people with disabilities, courtesy of Une Option de Plus. The participants included representatives of the psycho-educational center of Catamayo, of FPANJEZ, of Funsiba, of Granito de Arena, of Hogar Para Todos, and Una Luz en Tu Vida.
With the support of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education, this gathering aimed to share Melvin Jones' expertise on the topic, and discusss the various activities put in place for people with disabilities and improving how beneficiary associations manage it.
Juanita Chumo, educational director of the Melvin Jones center led this training. She tackled a variety of topics ranging from school curriculum adaptation methods, to issues of professional integration, amongst others. Mariela Ortega, a psychologist, emphasised the importance of human relations in the management of beneficiaries, which was welcomed by the participants.
Furthermore, this gathering enabled members of the participating organizations to share their respective experiences and to exchange ideas on the development of social and political perspectives, following the new administration of President Correa.
At the end of this day of study, a diploma certified by the Ministry was awarded to each participant by the Une Option de Plus coordinator. Finally, the gathering came to an end with a small toast, encouraging a last informal exchange of ideas.
This training was highly successful for the trainers as well as for the participants. Everyone present unanimously agreed that this would be good if it were more regular. The message has been received loud and clear by the Une Option de Plus team, who are already planning the next event.
Paper Maché Workshop with Melvin Jones and Una Luz en Tu Vida
For some time now, Nataly Llerena, Marcia Villacis and Marcia’s sister Alexandra have had a very specific goal: to work with their association’s beneficiaries to develop paper maché activities.They liked the idea, but first they needed to learn the basics. With the help of Melvin Jones, another association in the network, they were able to do it.
The three enthusiastic women traveled to La Libertad for a three-hour workshop on paper maché that combined both theory and practice. After presenting some of the works created by Melvin Jones’s beneficiaries, Margarita Gonzales, the lead instructor, began the workshop.
The three phases—soaking, stirring and draining—consisted of intensely detailed steps. The women were eager to jump right in and attempt the process themselves. After three hours of training and practice, the workshop came to an end. The students were exhausted but exhilarated!
Through this effort, handicapped persons in the city of Quero will be able to do what their friends did in La Libertad—and maybe even surpass them! Indeed the people in Quero are very aware that the beneficiaries of Melvin Jones have won several computers by way of a paper maché competition. That’s how you motivate our Una Luz en Tu Vida team!
The Babel Brass Band stops off at One More Option !
From the 11th February to the 5th April 2013, ten engineering students from a school in Paris, who are also members of their school band, the ‘Babel Brass Band’ came to Jovenes Para el Futuro and Clave de Sur to share their passion for music with the beneficiaries.
For our ten volunteers, this Equatorian adventure began in the town of Ambato at the premise of the Jovenes Para El Futuro association. Over the next 5 weeks, the group and the children of the association worked together to develop a performance comprising of theatre and musical groups.
The story was as follows: Daniel, an elephant without a trunk is chased out of Africa and undertakes a long journey to the Amazon to find a solution to his problem.
With the help of costumes designed by the children and instruments made from recycled material, the story came to life on the 19th March before a large and admiring public who had come for the occasion.
Although saying their goodbyes was difficult, the Babel Brass Band had to eventually leave the Andes for the sun of Guayaquil, and the Clave De Sur association.This time, our ten volunteers had only a week to develop a concert with the trainee musicians from the Guasmo.With the aim of diversifying the musical activities proposed by the association, the Babel Brass Band held beginners workshops in percussion and jazz rhythms.
This week resulted in a concert at the Nahim Isaias Museum in Guayaquil, in which all the players presented the fruit of their collaboration. Again, the experiment was successful both from a strictly musical perspective, and as an enriching intercultural exchange.
After two months of intense work and exchanges in Ecuador, the Babel Brass Band troupe now heads in the direction of Africa, their heads still filled with Latin rhythms and unforgettable memories...
Hogar Para Todos invites Las Marias to hold an awareness day on violences against women
On Saturday, 19 January 2013, the "Las Marias" organisation was welcomed into the "Hogar Para Todos" Foundation, to hold a workshop on violence against women. Sixteen people helped by the Hogar Para Todos Foundation, along with Mélanie Corvez, UODP volunteer for the Foundation, attended the workshop run by two members of the Las Marias team.
The awareness day started around 9:00am after a warm welcome from the Hogar Para Todos staff. The aim of the meeting was, through the medium of interactive workshops, to list and categorise the different types of violence inflicted upon women and to inform the audience of the rights these women have to call for change.
In these workshops, the participants took part in activities such as working in groups of four to create a short play about the four types of abuse: physical, psychological, economic and sexual.
In another, more intimate, workshop, the participants wrote down on a piece of paper one pledge they would make to avoid finding themselves back in a violent situation. Then on another piece of paper, they wrote down a violent memory that they never want to go through again. These papers were then burned as a symbol of their new start.
Here is Mélanie's account, and a clear-cut summary of the present situation:
"In Ecuador, 6 out of 10 women are victims of some form of violence. It's only natural to think of physical abuse first, as it's the most visible. But it's not the only form of abuse. For this reason, the day provided an opportunity to discuss other forms of abuse: psychological, financial and sexual.
Through a number of different interactive activities, they also tried to explain the role of the patriarch, which is strongly determined by society and history, and the origin of inequalities between men and women. They also established that while abuse can happen in a relationship, it can also happen at work or within the family. The visit from Las Marias has allowed all of the participants to think about the different forms of abuse, and to see that they represent a violation of human rights which should not under any circumstances be trivialised or excused."
This training, coordinated by Une Option de Plus, has allowed women and girls who have been subject to abuse and welcomed in to the Hogar Para Todos to become more aware of their rights and recover their self esteem. This only scratches the surface of the contributions made by Las Marias, who want to be able to follow up this awareness campaign in other associations within the network.
Clave de Sur and Las Marias unite for Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women
On the 23rd of November 2012, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the women’s centre Las Marias took over the squares of Gualeceo and Paute to conduct an awareness campaign.
The morning got off to a good start with an event in Gualaceo market square. The whole Las Marias team rallied round to make the day meaningful: talking to passers-by, handing out leaflets, bracelets and t-shirts...with loudspeakers standing to one side of these events broadcasting the key messages of the association: respect for women, and respect for women's bodies, choices and rights. The young musicians of Clave de Sur provided a musical performance that lived up to the occasion, making the day’s message their own, and becoming activists themselves.
As soon as the concert had finished, everyone moved to Paute square, to meet others from Las Marias. In the square, events were already getting started. A large audience had turned out for the occasion. The two associations began their presentations again, and their collaboration worked well.
In fact, united by a shared message, these two completely different associations were able to combine their talents to increase the impact of their two respective projects. This fruitful event demonstrates without a doubt the benefit of collaborative work between associations.
Here, we can see the wisdom in the saying "Unity is strength", which is, in effect, the guiding principle of Une Option de Plus.
Project manager meeting
On Friday, September 28, 2013, as part of Une Option de Plus network’s inter-association conference, we organized a meeting with three volunteers currently acting as project managers at the associations Jovenes para el future, Una luz en tu vida and Cristo de la Calle.
The project managers were joined by representatives from associations affected by and interested in the topic of project management.
A fourth association, Plan Ecuasol, also attended after learning about project management’s benefits and range of impact.
Many associations in the Une Option de Plus network have recognized the importance of developing and improving their project management capabilities.
The three volunteers listened to representatives from their associations and worked with them to brainstorm, plan and share their knowledge. This helped in the diagnosis, projection and evaluation of the association’s various projects and thus their sustainability over the medium-long-term.
The meeting helped members capitalize on project management knowledge and tools developed by the volunteers in their 3 associations, which committed to developing and building their medium-long-term association project.
Some of the network’s member organisations meet in Quito to share ideas and opportunities around sponsorship and cooperation.
Coordinated by Una Opción Más, the network’s member organisations demonstrated their interest in sharing different methods and opportunities for sponsorship and cooperation with public and private bodies. So, on Thursday 20 September 2012, representatives from Plan Ecuasol, Jóvenes para el Futuro, Cristo de la Calle, Una Luz en Tu Vida and UNISUR met with the UOM team and with Jackeline Coronal (Programme Director of Human Rights and Intercultural Mediation of the "Allichik kuri" Community) at the UOM headquarters in Quito to discuss and share different options for sponsorship, twinning and other types of cooperation with public and private institutions.
In keeping with the meeting’s agenda, Plan Ecuasol began by sharing its experiences of a programme of child sponsorship, as well as their management of a system to receive students studying at the Universidad Politécnica de Quito to assist with educational support activities.
The members of other organisations were invited to share their own initiatives and experiences. Paola Pinza, of the organisation UNISUR, gave a presentation detailing the implementation of a twinning project between two educational institutions; one being a difficult-to-access rural school, and the other a school in the centre of Quito, whose economic and social contexts are completely different. The objective of the project is to raise awareness amongst the interested parties (institution directors, teachers, students, parents) about their complex social reality, or rather, social realities, thus generating the commitment and involvement of these actors in a dynamic and reciprocal exchange of information.
In conclusion, the meeting’s main objective was to foster ways to improve the assistance provided to the beneficiaries through the implementation of projects which would help the organisations at the financial level (through child sponsorship), the human level (through cooperation with universities) and even the institutional level (through twinning with other organisations).
The discussions were rich and all participants left the meeting feeling satisfied, having benefitted greatly from new ideas which may be used to diversify the sources of financial support and cooperation in order to improve the structure and smooth running of their organisations.
The association "Fuente de Vida" met with the “Fpanjez” Association to develop techniques in occupational therapy.
It started with a session of orientation presented by the FPANJEZ team, during which children from the school put on a performing art show (singing, dancing, and sketches) for the members of the association Fuente de Vida. The meeting was then organized around workshops and discussions between stakeholders of both organizations.
While the members of Fountain of Life were able to observe the different activities developed by FPANJEZ, the staff of the host organization equally benefited from the skills in arts and crafts taught by the two occupational therapy teachers from the institution from Taura.
This workshop, intended for teachers and parents of the beneficiaries of the school, was also an opportunity for children with disabilities at FPANJEZ to make their own necklaces and bracelets, while developing their dexterity and creativity.
This inter-association meeting enabled the two organizations to get to know each other better and to exchange knowledge and skills in caring for people with disabilities. This dynamic form of network is to be promoted because it is a great way to build stronger relationships between the associations that are members of Une Option de Plus as well as enriching their professional practices and improving the support to their beneficiaries.
Following the same logic, new meetings between Une Option de Plus member associations are scheduled soon.
Clave de Sur and Fuente de Vida: two associations in Harmony
The Clave de Sur Association, from the South of Guayaquil, performed an hour-and-a-half-long concert for the beneficiaries of Fuente de Vida, which was dedicated to the mothers of children with disabilities. This shared moment of music was very well received by its audience, and has encouraged further exchanges between members of the two organizations.
This inter-association meeting had a two-fold aim: both to provide access to culture to those who sometimes find themselves isolated, and to create synergies between the member associations of the Une Option de Plus network in Ecuador.
Encouraged by this first experience, Clave de Sur has shown enthusiasm for the idea of repeating this type of joint event to benefit other network relations. Fuente de Vida, which hosted the event, has expressed a wish to repeat this experience in the future.
Children visit Rosa Elvira de León for the first time.
On Saturday 12th May, Lucy Hoyos, Ana Calle, and Lucile, volunteer nutritionist for both associations hosted the first exchange between the children and the elderly, enabling them to get to know each other. This moment was very rewarding and the children are ready to start a gardening project team with the elderly. Therefore, eight children aged between 6 and 10 years are expected to come every week to do some gardening and to explore the environment...
The younger children become more familiar with nature, with the garden and with the existence of new fruits and vegetables. This should help them to better understand their meals which are prepared to ultimately improve their nutritional balance.
The two French volunteers Lucile and Aliénor organized a workshop on the topic of nutrition. On the morning of Saturday 19th May, the children met again with the elderly to create a table of nutrition ... Through activities involving cutting, pasting and coloring, they studied the quality of the daily menu available to them. Some of the menus have since been improved; it is an opportunity for the children to be agents of their own nutritional change!
In the afternoon, the group started to work in the garden: tilling, providing manure, raking and lots more. All of this work allowed them to discover the pleasures of gardening: the community exercise outdoors, small injuries from all the effort, bits of dirt on trousers, the pride of an accomplished job... The material provided is minimal and the requirements for the project development are significant. Therefore, the associations are always looking for small financial donations.
Bonds are already evident. Children regularly ask to go and see "granny-doll", an old lady who dances all day long on the terrace. They regularly ask the staff of the institution about Rosa Elvira de León’s President, Fernando, a man who is appreciated when he brings refreshments to the workers !
We wish to congratulate both organizations for their commitment to this fun, exciting, motivating and original project.