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Three Florida attorneys and a domestic violence assistance professional traveled to Antigua from July 7 to 12 to conduct training on domestic violence legislation, implementation and enforcement for legal professionals, law enforcement and counselors who work with domestic violence victims.
|(Left to Right) Nina Zollo, Robin Thompson, Sheila Roseau, JoeAnn Fletcher.|
Robin Thompson, of Robin Thompson & Associates in Tallahassee, headed the team, and was supported by Nina Zollo, legal director of the Greenberg Taurig Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence/Alliance for Battered Women in West Palm Beach; Beth Gammie of the Law Office of Beth Gammie in Tampa; and JoeAnn Fletcher of Women in Distress in Broward County, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale.
"Our team modeled a constant collaboration between the legal system and domestic violence assistance providers," Thompson said. "And we had a nice cross-section in Antigua who came to work on justice issues."
Through the training, legal professionals in Antigua learned more about how domestic violence impacts all areas of practice and how to best advocate on the victim's behalf. Counselors, police officers and others also learned about victim dynamics and how to understand their cases as well as how to assist victims and keep them safe.
The training was requested by Sheila Roseau, director of Gender Affairs in Antigua. She said that the participants in the two workshops were pleased with the training. "All four consultants were very knowledgeable in the subject areas and did a very good job imparting their knowledge," Roseau reported. "They were all very professional and highly enthusiastic about the work that they are involved in."
Thompson acknowledged that the trip was rewarding for the consultants as well. "This was my fourth trip there, and I am so pleased every time to see the great work that they are doing. They now have safe houses, a hotline and new domestic violence legislation," Thompson said. "It's been a continuing and wonderful relationship. They've also taught us how this is really a human rights issue. It's truly been a great exchange."
Nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Panama have grown at a rapid rate at the same time the country's economy has been adversely affected. Gabriel Parra and Miguel Mantilla of New Directions Employment and Training Services in Miami visited Panama to address NGO leaders on effective fundraising activities to counter the negative economic trends. The audience included managers and directors of 37 local NGOS, government officials, private university officials, marketing managers of local museums and hospital administrators.
Parra and Mantilla presented five days of training including workshops and one-on-one consultations with each participating organization during the week of August 19 to 24. During the consultations, Parra and Mantilla reviewed applications, budgets and projects and gave advice to the organizations.
"The agencies we met are mainly based on culture. For instance, one of them is searching for funds to rehabilitate the old Panama City. We also had an agency that is training people with mental disabilities and trying to create jobs for them, as well an agency that is providing individual therapy for children with disabilities," Parra said.
Jamari Salleh, cultural affairs officer for the U.S. Embassy Panama, sought the expertise from FAVA/CA consultants in response to requests from agencies and organizations seeking funding.
"A lot of those agencies approach the US Embassy for support. We met mainly with organizations from Panama City this time, but we are supposed to go back and present some more seminars to other parts of Panama. They really need it," Parra continued. "I believe Panama is well prepared to implement these strategies. They have a lot of knowledge, and we were impressed with their organization. They are well structured, and the people know how to manage programs."
Parra and Mantilla still have contact with several of the agencies and they have been instrumental in helping them network with agencies and organizations in Florida, to provide examples of effective fund raising.
"The workshop met everyone's expectations. The one-to-one sessions enabled the speakers to tailor to the needs of the 37 NGOs that were represented," said Zorina Carby, cultural specialist at the U.S. Embassy. "The expertise of FAVA/CA speakers was greatly appreciated. As a result of the workshop, the participants acquired fundraising, proposal writing, and marketing strategies and are able to recruit donors with more confidence."
|Administrators and faculty of Discovery School|
Volunteer Tom Baird, along with his wife Genevieve, of Tallahassee, traveled to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, from August 12 to 18, to work with the administration and faculty of the Discovery School. Tom and Genevieve, employees of the Florida Department of Education, have many years of experience in curriculum planning and educator professional development.
FAVA/CA received the request for support from Michael Kent, principal of the Discovery School. The Discovery School is a private coeducational, international school (pre-kindergarten through 11). The school has an enrollment of about 130 students representing eighteen nationalities. The faculty is composed of teachers from Honduras, the United States, and Canada. All instruction is in English except for Spanish language classes. The Discovery School is accredited by the Honduras Ministry of Education and the United States Department of Defense Dependent Schools. The school is presently seeking accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This accreditation will help the students of the Discovery School gain admittance to U. S. colleges and universities.
Tom and Genevieve assisted the administration and faculty to focus on curriculum alignment, development of content area scope and sequence, and communication techniques. The faculty and the administration reached understandings and agreements on a common format for the school curriculum, common coding for the curriculum matrix, and many other items. A timeline was established so that the school can complete the remaining work before the SACS review.
"This was our first experience as volunteers for FAVA/CA," Tom said. "We are very impressed with the FAVA/CA organization and thank Ben Fleming, International Programs Manager, for his support and information before we traveled to Honduras. We were well prepared for the consultation," Baird also added. "We also offer our sincere thanks to the faculty and administration of the Discovery School for their gracious hospitality. They were a joy to work with and are an exceptional group of educators. This is a fine school with high standards which is constantly striving to improve. We wish them the best as they prepare for the SACS review." (story by Tom Baird)
|Students at Jacmel Music School|
FAVA/CA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) joined forces to provide consultation to Jacmel Music School in Jacmel, Haiti, from July 4 to 9. Minnesota Orchestra, Director of Individual Gifts, Katy Gaynor worked with the music school staff on fundraising concepts and strategies.
"The school has more than 525 students, and they are all so hungry to learn to play an instrument," Gaynor said. "I saw firsthand that music has the power to change children's lives by giving them self-expression, discipline, stimulation and hope."
Since returning from her mission Gaynor has continued her work on behalf of the school by soliciting donated instruments for the school. She took three instruments with her and has received two more and a financial donation since her return.
"The children need musical instruments of all kinds," she said. "Once I collect a fair number of instruments I will send them down to the Jacmel Music School."
Jacques Civil, director of the Jacmel Music School, requested the consultation via the USAID Regional Initiatives Program. The Jacmel Music School is a non-profit organization that provides private and group lessons for junior high and high school students.
|Board Chair Diane McNeel (left) with Dora Valdes-Fauli, gallery owner.|
FAVA /CA's Caribbean Basin Art Collection offers a visual symbol of the hearts, minds and cultures of the people served by FAVA/CA staff and volunteers. On July 20, The Americas Collection Art Gallery in Coral Gables held a reception, showcasing the Caribbean Basin Art Collection as well as other works from the Caribbean that express the vibrance and diversity of Caribbean culture.
The exhibit included works from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, the United States, Haiti and other Caribbean countries, and the general public was able to view the art work for a month after the reception.
"The idea of the Caribbean Basin Art Collection is to provide a visual component to the work that FAVA/CA does. It's hard for people to get an understanding of the many different areas where FAVA/CA volunteers help out. But the art collection creates a visual masthead to bring about awareness," said Dora Valdes-Fauli, owner of The Americas Collection Art Gallery.
"We had 200 high-profile people come to the reception. It served as a way of giving information to the public about FAVA/CA and the people of the Caribbean. The art reflects the many heritages of the Caribbean - British, African, Indian, Amerindian and others. This art has a very different rhythm. It's very colorful," she added.
FAVA/CA supporters believe that this inaugural exhibition will be the beginning of an ongoing celebration of Caribbean culture and the growing awareness of its importance. FAVA/CA also hopes to add to a greater understanding of Florida's role as a vital component of the area through this collection.
"Personally, I've had so much fun learning about Caribbean art through this project. I found it a fascinating area," Valdes-Fauli concluded.
Usually FAVA/CA volunteers visit countries outside the United States in order to provide consultation and training, but recently Margarette Martin, the director of the Chamber of Commerce, Professionals and Industry of the Southeast, in Jacmel, Haiti, visited South Florida in order to share ideas, promote an exchange of information and develop linkages between the Jacmel private sector and businesses abroad.
Martin attended meetings and conducted site visits at the Association of Bi-National Chambers of Commerce Worldwide, the North Dade Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Women's Chamber of Commerce. This exchange provided her with an overall understanding of the mission, goals and operations of a Chamber of Commerce. The trip to Florida followed training in organizational development by a FAVA/CA volunteer consultant and took place from September 3 through 9.
Nadine Patrice of Operation Green Leaves in Miami, an organization which encourages economic development as well as environmental responsibility, coordinated the meetings.
"I think it was very beneficial to her," Patrice said. "The purpose of the trip was to help her see how other chambers function effectively.
"In Jacmel they have the infrastructure, and now they are trying to encourage people to invest in the area. They're ready to have more people join the chamber and encourage others to invest in the area in a sustainable way. She was able to get a lot of information on how to organize and do it correctly, and I believe she was very satisfied."
Maude Heurtelou, a registered nurse with the Broward County Department of Health and a 2000 FAVA/CA Volunteer of the Year, traveled to the city of Leogane in Haiti along with Miami freelance writer Joann Hyppolite and retired teacher and writer Marie-Ketsia Theodore-Pharel of Pembroke Pines to help develop a survey, specifically for women with filariasis.
Filariasis is a blockage of the lymphatic system in the lower leg area caused by a parasite which is generally transmitted by mosquito bite. It can result in deformation of the legs. According to Heurtelou, women are ten times more likely to be infected than men, and the infected women suffer both physically and emotionally.
"They are most likely to be abandoned by their spouse and children. They are less likely to find a job. Some of them are very young. Some of them rely only on the support group," she said. The Centre de Recherche et de Services Sociaux Humanitaires (CRESH), a non-governmental organization interested in the social well being of Haitians with special needs, requested the assistance.
The team helped to develop a survey to identify, assess and prioritize the social needs of the women; they also planned and tested a form to collect data on the psycho-social needs of the women. Then the survey was implemented with the assistance of a volunteer group from CRESH. A report will be published detailing the needs identified in the survey.
"The report will be a useful tool for researchers, intervenants, missionaries and local leaders who wish to assist these women in their psycho-social needs," Heurtelou noted.
According to team-member Hyppolite, the support group staff now has greater awareness of the women's individual and collective needs and a broader range of knowledge of the social impact of the disease on their lives. Because of the survey, they are better able to discern the necessary types of intervention. In addition, the affected women have been empowered by being able to voice their experiences and needs.
In addition to developing the survey, the volunteers conducted workshops for staff of the St. Croix Hospital on managing patient's health and social issues. They also appeared on TV programs to promote social acceptance and community awareness of filariasis.
"It was a great experience for us, as Haitian women, to be given the opportunity to train the local staff on collecting psycho-social data for the women with filariasis who live in the City of Leogane," Heurtelou concluded. "Because this situation is endemic in the city of Leogane, our training will be beneficial to generations of people."
For a variety of reasons, Guatemalan foundations and non-profit institutions often find it difficult to raise funds. That's why fund-raising expert Nestor Rodriguez, executive director of Voices for Children of Miami, traveled to Guatemala to consult with the Fundacion Paiz and to conduct a fund-raising workshop for local non-governmental organizations. He completed both missions from July 1 to 4.
"I found the participants to be very eager to learn and implement new strategies in fund development. As they lack a history of fundraising, they know there is a challenge but are very motivated to move ahead. Certainly having the Paiz Foundation serves as a good model to follow," Rodriguez said. Rodriguez specifically helped the Foundation and the workshop participants learn how to set up a "development office" and organize a fund-raising campaign.
According to Fernando Paiz, president of the Fundacion Paiz, there is a general perception that Latin individuals do not have the "culture of giving" as it exists in the United States.
"This conviction is based in part on the fact that most people do not pay taxes and thus do not have the incentive to make 'tax deductible' contributions," he said. "In countries like Guatemala it has not been a custom to donate to charitable institutions. In the USA fund raising is an art, and it succeeds simply because it is so well planned and organized."
Paiz believes that using the same proven techniques in Guatemala could bring similar results. The seminar, which his organization hosted, was directed to development officers and directors of local charities.
"The seminar was attended by 25 people and was a success. Nestor is very knowledgeable and articulate," Paiz said. "The end result was to teach local non-profit institutions how to become financially self sufficient, thus enabling them to achieve their organization's goals. FAVA/CA´s concept of sending expert volunteers to teach others on how to help themselves was ideally suited for this project."
Bonnie Harrison and Mary Hausch of the Hippodrome Improvisational Theater in Gainesville took their unique youth empowerment program to the Windsor Girls Home in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica for a workshop from July 6 to 21.
According to Director Eunice Scott-Shaw, 30 girls, or more than 90 percent of the home's population, were trained.
The Windsor Girls Home serves teenaged girls between the ages of 13 and 18 who have been abandoned, physically or sexually abused, involved with drugs or in need of care and protection.
The theater program focused on drug prevention, teen pregnancy and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. They also talked about goal setting, recognizing obstacles and finding solutions.
This program has also been successfully introduced in Antigua, Barbuda, St. Lucia and Grenada.