Each of these Genesis projects have a date to be “inaugurated” and our team, as well as the other two CoHI community commissions, will be present for this exciting day in a few months.
As a way to motivate these local leaders we gave each member of the commission a T-shirt with their community’s “logo” on it. These “logos” were designed by HTH's graphic designer friend, Angela Eldridge, of Made Midwest. However, every idea and “components” of the design came out of a CoHI activity last year, where each community submitted identified aspects of their community that made it unique or gave it value - things for which they are known or of which they are proud. Sheer joy and pride came over their faces when they saw their “humble” village name and THEIR ideas beautifully displayed on a shirt they would be able to wear themselves. It is and will be a great sense of community pride and belonging.
March was our staff's turn to travel to each community and spend a day there with the commission and anyone else who desired to attend. We only require the 9 member commission to attend the workshops but we are finding many other community members attend simply to gain the information for themselves. All are welcome! The workshop focus was on fundraising and finance management. It taught on ways to be transparent and have healthy accountability with community funds. Although all active community groups manage funds, most small villages do not have a formal system to collect, keep track of or report what they manage. So, this is a big step in development as well as an exercise in building trust. A lot of development is slowed in communities because of lack of trust in leadership handling money. Staff member Marvin Sorto led this workshop to train the commission on basic financial stewardship practices, he included practical worksheets for them to learn to use.
Coffee in Lomas del Aguila
For those of you who follow along, you know that the local economy of Lomas del Aguila literally runs on coffee. The vast majority of local families derive their primary income from the harvest. As a result, any increase in the price that they receive for their harvest can result in a significant boost to a family's livelihood.
Boston Stoker Coffee Co. has been a great HTH partner for a while now, and has expressed interest over the past couple of years in purchasing coffee from Lomas del Aguila once their quality improved sufficiently. As it turns out, 2019 would be the year for that to finally happen.
The community of Lomas del Aguila has been working hard with CoHI over the past year. They have shown grit, determination, and unusual passion for their community as they have fought through local development challenges.
The farmers association has been working hard with HTH and with a USAID program (Acceso a Mercardos), to improve the quality of their local harvest all throughout 2018. When Boston Stoker rated their coffee this year, they noticed a marked improvement in the product of several farmers.
Following a visit to Lomas del Aguila in early 2019, Boston Stoker was impressed with the advances in Lomas del Aguila, and decided to move forward in an initial purchase of the end of this year's harvest. What does this mean for local farmers?
The eleven farmers that qualified will sell 8400 lbs of coffee at a price increase of 43% or more over what they were receiving before. We, and the people of Lomas del Aguila, are grateful for Boston Stoker's just dealings with local farmers. Such an improvement in price makes a remarkable difference in the lives of many people in Lomas del Aguila.
Part of the CoHI story will now be helping those farmers learn to manage those earnings in a healthy and sustainable way, that both improves harvests and family living conditions.