Last weekend, VASE-France Volontaires Equateur and Une Option de Plus organized their first joint « Volunteers weekend ». To the organizers’ greatest pleasure, it was an experience filled with words and learning opportunities.
The weekend started on Friday evening with the arrival of participants at Baños Christian Learning Center. It was quite an ideal environment for the event: peaceful, natural and colorful. A first integration activity took place just after dinner, enabling participants to get to know each other… and to use their memory faculties!
On Saturday, there were numerous workshops for volunteers to get to know each other, and to think more precisely about their volunteering in Ecuador, and the support offered by Une Option de Plus and VASE-France Volontaires Equateur.
Thus, the first day enabled volunteers to analyze their experience in Ecuador, the skills they have been acquiring while volunteering, proposals of action to deal with problems encountered by Ecuadorian local associations, or advice and testimonies for the future volunteers.
On Sunday morning, during quite a rich and constructive workshop, volunteers composed small groups to work on the sustainability and impacts of their volunteering mission for the associations welcoming them and the communities. They also discussed the support offered by structures enabling candidates for volunteering and local associations to meet, such as VASE-France Volontaires Equateur and Une Option de Plus, as well as the support offered by their host structures (most of them being local associations).
From these working groups, came up many discussions and ideas, as well as concrete proposals that VASE-France Volontaires Equateur and Une Option de Plus will implement in the coming months: create a common file gathering the possibilities of financial support for volunteers, a practical guide for volunteers, a guide for local associations, and trainings for them to improve their practices when welcoming a volunteer, a volunteering certificate, and to pursue of networking for volunteers.
We warmly thank every volunteer who has taken part in this weekend, which greatly contributed to both our associations! We are looking very forward to our next meeting!
Translated by Lucie Gil
For years, Funsiba has used musical activities to work towards independence and wellbeing with its residents. Mikaël, a voluntary music therapist recruited by One More Option, has been supporting the organisation since January.
He offers one-to-one and group therapies to residents based around listening to and producing music, to improve wellbeing and contribute towards their behavioural therapy objectives. His theoretical knowledge and practical experience of music therapy have allowed the development of a more structured approach to music therapy in the organisation.
For Clave de Sur, who offer music classes to children, young people and adults from Guasmo Sur (a marginalised neighbourhood of Guayaquil), Mikaël’s presence was an opportunity to take advantage of! In their daily work, the teachers at Clave de Sur see how their students’ difficulties affect the music teaching, and when they met Mikaël, they suggested organising a workshop to train and skill them in ‘the basics’ of music therapy.
As such, last Saturday 25 April, they held a wonderful skill-sharing event. Mikaël delivered an introduction to music therapy to 11 participants from Clave de Sur. Seven members of the Funsiba staff also came to find out more about music therapy.
After an initial experience of music therapy in practice, Mikaël presented theoretical aspects and facilitated a moment for participants to look at how music therapy could help each of them in their daily work. The participants were thrilled and Mikaël was very happy with his first experience of being a trainer!
At One More Option, we want to emphasize our joy at seeing these types of meetings and exchanges developing spontaneously within the network of organisations, as we are certain that all of the organisations benefit from sharing knowledge and holding discussion forums.
Translated by Amy Porter
As part of Clave de Sur’s concert tour among the different NGO’s of the Une Option de Plus network, a very pleasant exchange took place between Clave de Sur and Creando Futuro on 3-4 April in the canton of Muisne.
After a 9-hour bus ride and a 5-minute boat trip, the children & adolescents of Clave de Sur arrived on Friday morning on the island of Muisne, where they were welcomed by the members of the Creando Futuro foundation. After having made themselves at home in a house of the Santa Rosa area that was prepared for their disposal and having had a breakfast typical of the Ecuadorian coast (a delicious bolón and a cup of coffee), the children & adolescents of Clave de Sur started the music workshop with the Creando Futuro children who for their part come from different parts of the island. The workshop started with a couple of games whose purpose was to create enthusiasm and serve as a social ice-breaker. The next activity was making musical instruments (for example: tambourines, claves or maracas) out of recycled or reused objects (wooden spoons, conch-shells, plastic bottles...). After lunch, the youth of Clave de Sur shared their knowledge about percussion instruments with the local children to prepare them for a concert to be held the following evening in the Santa Rosa area. The rest of the afternoon was devoted to resting and enjoying the beautiful Muisne beach.
On Saturday morning, some of the youth of Clave de Sur did the same workshop for another group of children who came specially from Chamanga, a remote village of the canton of Muisne. Three musicians from the village accompanied them, which helped the youth of Clave de Sur to receive support in their project of reaching out to disadvantaged populations through music. Meanwhile, other youth from Clave de Sur did a “minga” (a South American tradition of collective community service) by cleaning the Santa Rosa park and making it ready for the evening concert. (Adults took advantage of the afternoon to hold a meeting between the different NGO representatives of Clave de Sur, Creando Futuro, and Une Option de Plus plus the Chamanga musicians so that they could know a little bit more about each other and discuss further collaboration.) In the evening, after a quick rehearsal with the children who took part in the workshops, it was time to start the concert! Clave de Sur and the children who took part in the training were the first ones on stage. Then, it was the turn for some of the other artists who were invited: First, Eric Lopez, a local musician from Chamanga, went on stage to play some bachata music for an electrified public. Then Nelson Zambrana from Esmereldas province played a number of songs that the audience enjoyed singing along to. After that, the GAC group went on stage with a performance based on playing with fire. Finally, Clave de Sur went back on stage to play some cumbia and salsa music for the local people to dance to.
It was a great pleasure for us to know that the inhabitants of Muisne were able to benefit from this exchange between Clave de Sur and Creando Futuro!
Finally, after over two years of planning by successive Une Option de Plus teams, the “Cycle of Training” project began in early 2015. Intended for those responsible for running the charitable organisations that are members of the Une Option de Plus network, it aims to strengthen their administrative processes so they are better equipped to face the many obstacles which might otherwise impede the achievement of their actions. The “Cycle of Training” project involves the provision of a series of training sessions covering five main areas which have been identified as problematic by all of the associations within the network: budgetary management, project management, raising funds, communication and human resources management.
These training sessions, organised by competent trainers who have been carefully selected by Une Option de Plus, will aim to give those responsible for running the organisations new tools which will help them improve their management processes. Following the sessions, there will be individualised follow-up within each charity to supervise the implementation of the tools and methods acquired during the training.
On the 7 and 8 of February of this year, the first of these training sessions took place, on the subject of budgetary and fiscal management. The course leaders were Amélie Teisserenc, a consultant with considerable development engineering experience, and Maria de Lourdes Garcia, accountant for Une Option de Plus. During the training session, the attendees re-considered some fundamental concepts – What is a budget? What is its purpose? Who is involved in developing it? Attendees also had the opportunity to gain methodological skills for the development of a transparent budget, and to tackle some more practical matters such as accounting and tax rules, and their impact on budgetary management within charities. Finally, armed with these various accounting and budgetary tools, the participants worked on seeking funding, and participated in an exercise that helped them identify the potential sources of funding most suited to their activities and management capabilities.
The trainers, using teaching methods inspired by community education, sought to highlight the knowledge and experience of each of the participants, and organised many small group exercises which aimed at putting into practice the skills learned during the training. The training methods used, open to all and pedagogically effective, gained approval from all the attendees. In addition, some time was allocated during the training to allowing the attendees exchange their experiences informally. Members from ten of the network’s organisations travelled to attend this first training session, and it will definitely contribute to strengthening the charities that make up the Une Option de Plus network.
We would like to thank the Franco-Equadorian Lycée La Condamine, which graciously lent us facilities for the training that were both comfortable and ideally suitable.
Translated by Alison Kapor
What was going on in the network’s foundations on the 3 of December, International Day of Persons with disabilities?
In Catamayo, for the first time ever, the psycho-pedagogical centre received support from other organisations in co-ordinating the day. Also present to lend a hand in the day’s events were the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Department of Economic and Social Inclusion, the Funcasol foundation and representatives of the town hall. Throughout the morning, the crowd gathered in its numbers at the town’s Coliseum and spectators were treated to performances from different groups of persons with disabilities, who had prepared dance, music and theatre shows.
There were also dance competitions and ‘pinzas’, and everyone was able to share a delicious cake. The words of the directors of the various foundations highlighted the importance of integrating those with disabilities in all areas of society and hit home to all those listening. Click here to see the video of the event.
In Esmeraldas, a hundred people with disabilities who are cared for by the Creando Futuro Foundation participated in the event organised by the Department of Economic and Social Inclusion. There were several dance, music and theatre performances. In addition to this, the Department provided baseball caps and t-shirts for all of the participants who had come from various different organisations in the province.
In Zaruma, Fpanjez participated in the event organised by the Ministry of Education at El Oro’s Sultana College. The charity was also joined by the Special Centre of 13 April and the Portovelo Persons with Disabilities Project. Over the course of the event, several activities were held, during which that participants were able to show off their talents. It was an exceptional festival that stood as a symbol of the integration of those with disabilities, a notion for which the foundation strives day in day out.
In La Libertad, the Melvin Jones Integral Education Centre organised a week’s worth of activites with the entire gang, parents and students alike, from the 1st to the 5th of December. The jam-packed week was kicked off in Santa Elena’s Vicente Rocafuerte park, with videos showcasing the workshops organised at the Melvin Jones centre, an exhibition explaining the different types of disability and a discussion on different strategies for dealing with disabilities. On the 2nd, a debate about cinema was organised at the 18 August school with around 250 attendees! On the 3rd, the event was held at the Buenaventura Moreno shopping centre. The students organised a party with different activities: dance, music, art showings, an exhibition of their work etc. On the 4th, the students held a painting day at the Paseo Shopping centre, the theme of which was ‘a world for all’. On the 5th, all of the Melvin Jones Centre students came together to bring the week to a close. They participated in traditional games and a ‘Champion de Salinas’ tournament was held on the playing fields with students from several different schools and from the province’s integration support units.
In Machala, ADESPORO participated in an Open House organised by the Department of Economic and Social Inclusion. It was the perfect opportunity for the foundation to unveil the its work to the public. Around 700 people flocked to the event. It was equally a day of sharing and collaboration amongst all of the city’s charities working with those with disabilities. Sewing and carpentry workshops were also offered to participants.
In Guayaquil, the residents of Funsiba were invited to an event organised by the Department of Economic and Slocial Inclusion. Being no stranger to the stage, Funsiba’s music group also performed several songs from its repertoire. Everyone then had a chance to bust out their salsa moves on the dancefloor, and one of the residents blew the Queen of Guayaquil away with his dancing skills!
Translated by Malikah Alibhai
The Third Clave de Sur Event:
An Introduction to Music for the Children of San Vicente
Saturday December 6th, for Futuro and Clave de Sur, was the big day! The third Clave de Sur event, this time set up at San Vicente, came to fruition!
Emerging from the bus at 5 o’clock in the morning, the young musicians of Clave de Sur were able to rest in the accommodations provided by the Futuro organization before meeting with the children of the toy-library. After a delicious tigrillo (traditional dish of the coast: a mix of bananas, eggs, cheese, and onions), the Guayaquil musicians went to the Centurion toy-library, where more than 15 energetic children were waiting! To break the ice and create a group dynamic, the youths led the children in games of introduction and reflex actions.
Then it was time to make instruments with the children. Armed with recycled materials and paints, the Guayaquil youths taught the children how to put together rain sticks with bamboo and shells, maracas with bottles and rice, and panderetas (percussion instruments) with wood and bottle caps! Each was able to paint his instrument to his liking, and personalize it.
Proud of their creations, the children practiced next with the Clave de Sur youths who taught them several basic rhythms. Carried away by the music, the children played their percussion instruments without a break right up to meal time. Their plates emptied, they took to playing once more and were able to explore the instruments of the Clave de Sur youths: drums, congas, clarinet, trombone, etc. For many, it was the first time that they were seeing these instruments. At the end of the day, all left with a smile after this day of learning and sharing centered on music!
The following morning, as part of the Plan Calle, a local government program, the youths and the children played together to the great joy of the public! Proud of their instruments and their appearance on stage, the children were already asking when they would see Clave de Sur again! Likewise, the youths of Clave de Sur seemed in no rush to leave… When will the next meeting be?
Translated by Gilian Jackson
Paralympics: a fruitful exchange of ideas between associations part of Una Opción Mas!
Last 17-18 November, four associations from within the Una Opción Mas group met in Guayaquil in order to exchange ideas and benefit from training in how to organise paralympic events for all ages.
The ‘Creando Futuro’ association works with people of all ages, 'Melvin Jones' focuses on children whilst 'Adesporo' and 'Funsiba' work mostly with adults.
The four associations and the central Una Opcion Mas team were hosted by Funsiba, who had generously lent space and supported the logistics for the event.
We were lucky to be joined at Funsiba by Celso Moran and Mireyra Sacco, two professors from the Instituto Especial de El Oro in Machala, both experienced in the organisation of regional and national paralympic events. They worked together with us to organise the event on a completely voluntary basis.
The event included: a debate surrounding the visión and objectives of the Paralympics, training on everything that needs to be considered in organising such an event (health, safety, planning etc), sharing lessons learned and applying these to the organisation of the Creando Futuro olympics, which is to be held on 12-14 December in Muisne.
To finish, all the participants and Funsiba residents relaxed together with music and a capoeira workshop – the Funsiba team had been preparing this workshop for two weeks!
In addition to gaining knowledge, skills and ideas from sharing experiences amongst the associations, the Creando Futuro association left having already planned a great deal of their own upcoming Olympics and have put together a firm proposal for the participants – they’ve even offered to organise the 2015 Una Opción Mas Olympics, to include all those within the group!
Our enormous thanks to all those who participated and we look forward to seeing you next time, which will be in Muisne from 12-14 December!
Translated by Elizabeth Brook
One More Option Receives the French Ambassador in Ecuador
November 4, 2014, François Gauthier, French Ambassador in Ecuador since last year, visited One More Option along with Evelyne Ladet, the representative of France Volontaires in Ecuador.
This meeting was the occasion to present One More Option’s work in Ecuador to Ambassador Gauthier: the history of the organization, its objectives, projects, and the sixteen related organizations.
The One More Option team also had the opportunity to invite the ambassador to the Clave de Sur concert in San Vicente December 6th, and to the Special Olympics which take place December 13th in Muisne.
Translated by Gillian Jackson
A successful ISW !
As mentioned here earlier, from 15 to 21 September, members of the network participated in the second edition of the International Solidarity Week in Ecuador.
Four of them organized various events, which were very successful. Funsiba had a full day open door event welcoming the public. In addition to a fine arts exhibition, a puppet show was presented, followed by a dance show, a capoeira demonstration and other musical performances given by Clave De Sur.
In San Vicente, Futuro Esperanza launched a playful encounter between the children of the association and the residents of the city’s retirement home, thus promoting intergenerational solidarity and support.
Finally the association Jovenes Para el Futuro, invited youngsters from Ambato to design a wall painting together with an Argentinian artist.
Una Opción Más, on the other hand, presented films on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in addition to organizing a treasure hunt in Quito’s historical center, to bring this eventful week to a close. On this occasion, the participating teams were able to put forward the master word: Solidarity!
This week provided emphasis on getting together across generations, and gathering citizens and associations around one major basic value “ which is not a vague feeling of compassion, but the strong determination to committing for the common good”.
In the near future, the International Solidarity Week will be held in France. Une Option De Plus invites you to participate in its photo competition, on the issue of culture, peace and democracy!
Traduced by Marie-Catherine Arnal
The associations in the network will be participating in the
second International Solidarity Week in Ecuador !
From 15 to 21 September 2014, together with organisations such as Acnur, Education Refugee Trust and Cruz Roja Ecuatoriana, the associations in the network will be participating in the second International Solidarity Week in Ecuador.
While Funsiba and Clave De Sur from Guayaquil are preparing two presentations and a concert on the premises of the Funsiba association on 18 September, the Futuro Esperanza association in San Vicente is planning an intergenerational encounter between the beneficiary children of the association and the adults from San Vicente's retirement home on 20 September. On the same day, the association Jovenes Para el Futuro will be repeating the concert held for the launch of the A.R.I. project in Ambato.
Una Opción Más will be organising four film screenings on the Israel/Palestine conflict, together with a treasure hunt in the historical centre of Quito on the last day of International Solidary Week 2014. In France, Une Option de Plus will be holding a photography competition on the theme of culture, peace and democracy.
This week will be invaluable to all involved and will emphasise the shared values of the different associations and organisations present in Ecuador, whether or not they are members of the Una Opción Más network.
We would like to encourage them in their preparations and wish them success during this special week!
Translated by Jane Davis
Fifth edition of the Evento!
Like every summer, the Une Option de Plus’ network gathers for a week to reinforce the associations’ institutional abilities through networking: it’s the fifth edition of the Evento.
This year, facing the Ecuadorian unstable legal and socio-economic context as well as important jurisdictional and legislative changes, the aim was to analyse together the challenges met over the year, and to come up with common solutions. The associations had the occasion to exchange their individual and collective knowledge and good practice in a democratic way, thanks to the network dynamics conducive to a greater autonomy of its members.
Ten associations gathered in Guayaquil on 7th and 8th June 2014, at the Nahim Isaias Museum, to use the resources and strengths of the network dynamics. The following associations attended the event: Clave de Sur, Plan Ecuasol, Funsiba, Futuro, Creando Futuro, Casa de la Juventud Mashi Pierre, Jóvenes para el futuro, Las Marías, Unisur, and FPANJEZ.
Members ran relevant workshops related to the issue, in a participatory and joint spirit. Driana, member of the advisory board of Una Opcion Mas and president of the FUNSIBA association, presented an analyse of legal texts regarding the integration of disabled people at the social and professional levels. Then, Ana, coordinator at Clave de Sur, exposed self-financing and self-management systems. Finally, Maria, the accountant of Une Option de Plus in Ecuador, led a workshop about the legal and fiscal aspects of associations, which met with a great success. Indeed, confronted with this complicated issue, the associations expressed the need of an analytical presentation of their rights and obligations. External speakers also took part in the reflection process and enriched the debates. Benjamin Lureau, French expert in the integration of disabled people, introduced us to strategies of communication and raising-awareness in companies.
A major activity during this week-end was the setting up of working groups, dealing with the associations’ individual weaknesses, in order to produce solutions. With this purpose, the associations used the SWOT matrix as an analytical tool. It enables them to identify internal strengths and weaknesses but also external threats and opportunities. This collective thinking allowed the members of the network to come up with comprehensive solutions and practical activities to implement together.
After this event, the associations find themselves strengthened, provided with tools and knowledge that will enable them to improve their internal and external management.h the associations’ individual weaknesses, in order to produce solutions. With this purpose, the associations used the SWOT matrix as an analytical tool. It enables them to identify internal strengths and weaknesses but also external threats and opportunities. This collective thinking allowed the members of the network to come up with comprehensive solutions and practical activities to implement together.
The Une Option de Plus team is willing to thank all of those who came to Guayaquil, insuring the success of the fifth edition of the Evento: the associations, the volunteers of Une Option de Plus in Ecuador, our president Danilo Valdiviezo, Benjamin Lureau. Last, a great thanks to the whole team of the museum for their warm welcome and their numerous services.
Hoping that this fifth edition of the Evento will encourage new collaborations, we will meet again very soon. See you!
Clave De Sur debuts at last!
Group discussions and exchanges are enhanced by communal experiences and music, a universality that binds us all. This fact led us to the idea of using Clave De Sur’s musical talent to strengthen relationships between the network’s associations.
The idea was for musicians at Clave De Sur, a community music school in Guasmo Sur (an underprivileged neighborhood in Guayaquil), to visit each association in the network, hold music workshops for the association’s beneficiaries and help the beneficiaries put on a concert.
For Clave De Sur’s debut, without hesitation we chose the association Plan Ecuasol in the capital city of Quito. Plan Ecuasol runs social and educational programs for young children in the underprivileged neighborhood of Róldos in north Quito. Quito turned out to be a good choice if only because many of Clave De Sur’s musicians had never been there!
To be able to put on the workshop, we held a Ulule fundraiser in early 2014 to raise money for transportation, room and board for the musicians. Finally, on Saturday, May 17, our dream came true: 12 musicians held a drum workshop for 25 children at Plan Ecuasol in Róldos. Afterwards, the children played a concert at the Metropolitan Cultural Center in Quito’s historic center to show off their new knowledge.
In the end, the first stop on Clave De Sur’s tour was a smash hit filled with mingling, discussions, exchanges—and lots of fun!
With the success of their debut, we hope that the musicians can continue to share their musical knowledge and talent with beneficiaries at other network associations. We will be holding another Ulule fundraiser soon to make it possible.
¡Que viva la música !
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. T