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Top Volunteers Named
On March 6 of this year, eight volunteer consultants received
recognition as FAVA/CA’s 2001 Outstanding Volunteer Achievement Award
recipients. The event was held at the University Center Club on the
Florida State University campus in Tallahassee and took place in
conjunction with the Secretary of State’s International Days 2002.
Recognized were Tallahassee’s Brian
Polk of the Florida State park system; Dave Clay, assistant professor at
the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne; Maude Heurtelou, senior
public health nutritionist and health educator, Coconut Beach;
Julie Collins of the Florida Department of Education, Tallahassee;
Gabriel Parra, executive director of New Directions Employment and
Training Services, Miramar; Tomas Mozer, Gainesville, former state apiary
inspector and private consultant to the beekeeping industry; David Crisp
of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Tallahassee and Antonio
“Tony” Fernandez, Miami, with the Florida Department of Banking and Finance.
In a letter to the volunteers, Senator Bob Graham, chair of FAVA/CA’s Executive
Advisory Council, lauded them for their willingness to share their time and
talents with people in neighboring countries.
“Beyond building useful skills,
relationships are established. These invaluable connections between
cultures and communities help us all better understand the mutual benefits
of cooperation and compassion in making our world a more sustainable place
now and for future generations,” Graham wrote.
"Working with FAVA/CA, and particularly
the Special Project Assistance Team (NGO) and the Carib people of Dominica, has provided me with a
renewed appreciation for the efforts of grassroots development. My
experiences have left me dreaming of how I can devote more time in the
service of those working hard, in difficult conditions, to
improve their own lives and the lives of others in their community," said
Scarce Water Balances Public, Private Interests in Haiti
Dan Johnson surveying Dubreuil water system.
Retired engineer and
return volunteer Daniel Johnson from Kissimmee, traveled to Dubreuil,
Haiti, for five days in January to train two local technicians and three
committee members of the Dubreuil Community Water System in managing their
water system more efficiently.
The spring cap and
distribution system in Dubreuil were designed, financed and built by CARE
in 1988. Initially the system delivered enough water to the public
fountain-shower structures, but when the water committee sold rights to
connect service lines to homes, the lines took water and pressure from the
public fountains. Because the public
fountains were not receiving enough water, Johnson’s work was to study how
the system could deliver a more equitable water supply from the abundant
spring to all water users. After several days of learning and
inspecting the system, Johnson met with members of the water committee and
presented his recommendations.
“They were well accepted and hopefully will be implemented in the future,”
Johnson reported. “I am also preparing a more detailed water system evaluation
report with a map of the area. This will be sent to FAVA/CA for delivery and
encouragement of the implementation by the water committee.”
Panamanian NGO Gets Down to Business
FAVA/CA volunteer Frank O’Connor of Sarasota traveled to Panama in February to
consult with the staff of the Association for the Promotion of New Alternatives for Development, better
known by its Spanish acronym APRONAD. The organization seeks to improve
the local environment and to find alternative methods for economic
development with an emphasis on solid waste management and the promotion
The purpose of O’Connor’s visit was to
identify strategies in management practices, fund raising techniques,
forming a board of directors, forming a consortium of local non-profits,
and increasing APRONAD’s visibility in the community. O’Connor, now
retired, lived in Panama for several years while an executive for
O’Connor met with about 30
people from the organization, advising them on building their own board of
directors and on developing a board for the consortium. Because of his
business experience in Panama, he was able to offer information and advice
on working with leaders in the Panamanian business community.
Frank O'Connor with the Emberá Indians
He also offered advice on several APRONAD projects to promote
tourism such as working with the Embera Indians, who live in the forested
“Canal Zone” basin. The Embera are prohibited from clearing the land for agricultural purposes
because this would adversely affect the Canal ecosystem and the supply of
water. O’Connor visited them to consult about developing an ecotourism
“We drove out to a landing, got into a dugout canoe and went up the river to
their village. They had a welcoming dance and offered lunch,” O’Connor
commented. “The village was like it was when Columbus came. And the Indians were extremely
receptive to ideas. They are very smart people and, thanks to APRONAD,
they understood marketing.”
In addition, O’Connor helped APRONAD identify international foundations that
might be willing to provide funding.
“They were very receptive. They’re a
small agency but they sure know how to make a presentation. Everything was very well
done. I would be confident that when they applied to a foundation, the foundation would be very
impressed,” he said.
Executive Director of APRONAD, Isidra Meneses, noted that 100 percent of her staff participated
in the consultation and training.
“Working with Frank was excellent,” she commented. “We're very content with his
St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua Women Empowered
FAVA/CA consultants played a significant role in International Women’s Day
activities on St. Kitts and Antigua this past March.
Dr. Mary Ann Jones, licensed psychologist and director of the prevention and
education department of the 45th Street Mental Health Center in West Palm
Beach, and Jennifer Dritt, director of the Governor’s Task Force on
Domestic Violence in Tallahassee, traveled to St. Kitts March 5 to 9.
The two provided training at the Women’s Empowerment Conference and covered
such topics as battered women’s syndrome, child victims of domestic
violence, and support groups for victims. Seventy-five professionals,
community members, and victims took part in the trainings.
believe that the group experience was a positive one, as almost none of
the women had spoken openly about their own victimization with another
battered woman,” Dritt reported.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism & Culture Minister
Ministry of Social Development, Community & Gender Affairs in St.
Kitts & Nevis, a long-time FAVA/CA partner, hosted International
Women’s Day activities that coincided with the training. Director of the
Department of Gender Affairs, Ingrid Charles Gumbs, and Permanent
Secretary Rosalyn Hazelle had requested volunteers to provide technical
assistance in the area of domestic violence. The
conference was attended by professionals from such fields as law
enforcement, business, social services, news media, and health care. There
were also victims among the attendees, as well as a group of Rastafarian
men, all wanting to have input on eliminating violence and promoting
healthy family relationships.
Antigua, Sheila Roseau, executive director at the Directorate of Gender
Affairs, also requested a trainer to take part in a workshop celebrating
International Women’s Day and to kick-off a three-year project, funded by
the Organization of American States, to get more women involved in
objective of this first meeting was to generate interest in the project
and provide ideas as to how women can become involved. Lynda
Kinard, a legislative/governmental specialist currently working with the
Florida Department of Education as the director of Health Education in
Tallahassee, traveled to Antigua to provide training to 125 participants
on such topics as the history and current status of women in politics and
myths and realities relating to women’s political participation. Kinard
also participated in a call-in radio show to promote International Women’s
goals of the project, she noted, are to: increase women's political
participation and create competent, effective and committed women
women with the full exercising of citizenship by promoting and forging and
strengthening of alliances, networking and coalitions of women at the
national and regional levels; address
the inequality that exists in the power sharing and decision-making
through institutional strengthening and development of social support
networks in the region and at national level; and influence
national and regional development agendas toward gender-balanced policies,
planning, programming and governance. Many
of the women in Antigua believe that there are too many obstacles to
overcome for them to be involved in politics. The focus of the
workshop that I did was to discuss these perceived obstacles and explore
ways and methods to overcome them,” Kinard said.
Web Whiz Joins FAVA/CA Team
Pasquarelli has been hired at the Tallahassee office to manage website
development and information systems at FAVA/CA. An important future role
for the website will be resource development and fund-raising. Pasquarelli
has already launched a contributions site where premiums are offered for
credit card donations to support Volunteer Corps projects. Formerly a developer of web-based
training programs for a San Francisco new media company, Demian is the son
of former FAVA/CA president David Pasquarelli.
Domestic Violence Shelter to Open in Dominican
As part of a follow up
visit by a team from the University of South Florida Harrell Center for
the Study of Family Violence, volunteer Gabriel Venero conducted workshops
and consultations in the Dominican Republic from March 11 to 16. Venero is
an intervention programs coordinator with The Spring, a shelter for
victims of domestic violence in Tampa. He accompanied Harrell Center
director Dr. Martha Coulter, USF professor Dr. Wayne Westhoff and several
USF students. At the request of the Ministry of Women's Issues, Venero
conducted a workshop on offender
treatment and the court system. Venero and other team members also
consulted with police and community members in Piedra Blanca in
preparation for opening a shelter in the town. According to Coulter, the results of the trip were excellent
and they anticipate that the shelter could open in September or
individuals, educators, social workers and government agencies agreed to
work together on the pilot project in Piedra Blanca. There was also an agreement to
have some of the individuals from Santo Domingo travel to Tampa for
training at the University of South Florida and The Spring.
“The overall response was very positive. They realized we
were only there to help where needed and act as advisors. As far as
training, they had a good knowledge of the subject matter we were to
present and those of us who were there were prepared to discuss the issues
and answer questions. It was a great experience for me and I hope to be able to do more in the future,”
Venero said. This project was funded by the Florida Department of Education.
Study Abroad Course Imperative for College Students
“The need to provide students with knowledge
about intercultural communication becomes more pressing each year as our
increasing personal mobility, expanding global economy, changing
demographics, and spreading mass communication technology bind the world
even closer,” said University of North Florida professor Paula
Horvath-Neimeyer. “Our increased contact with other cultures, both within
and outside our own country, makes it imperative that we make an effort to
understand and get along with people who may be very different from
Horvath-Neimeyer and University of Florida professor of
psychology Greg Neimeyer led 12 students to Belize March 16-23 under UNF’s
“Communicating Across Cultures” course. The goal of this
study-abroad experience is to help prepare students to live and
communicate in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and otherwise diverse
While in Belize, the students undertook a variety of service projects, including an
improvement project for the elementary school in the Mayan village of San
Jose. Another team of students, lead by a graduate UNF nursing
student, conducted a medical needs assessment of the community. The
results of the assessment will be presented both in paper form and via
multi-media presentation at the end of the semester. A final team of
students were involved in creating a series of stories and photographs for
publication in U.S. newspapers.
This project was funded by the Florida Department of
Karen Sharkey Flaherty, FAVA/CA’s data manager, women’s projects director, and
earth mother, age 53, died February 4, 2002 of complications from surgery
undergone in late 2001. Karen was active in projects in the Eastern
Caribbean and in Belize. Her passions included the Volunteer Corps; The
Farm, an intentional spiritual community in Summertown, Tennessee; and its
global development agency, Plenty International. She was committed to justice and
peace, and will be remembered with love by staff, partners and friends.
Panama Counterfeit Detection Targeted
At the request of Panama’s Inspector General’s Office, and in coordination with the US Embassy, FAVA/CA provided an expert consultant as part of a seminar on counterfeit document detection this past March. She is Jacksonville-based Fraud Program Coordinator Priscilla Smith, of the Office of Vital Statistics in the Florida Department of Health. The seminar was jointly sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and the Contraloria of the Government of Panama.
Smith’s presentations focused on birth certificates. The United States has 6,672 types of birth certificates which people issuing passports, driver's licenses, voter's registration cards, and other forms of identification must use to determine a person’s origins.
“Our societies revolve around civil documents, such as passports, cedulas (government identification cards), birth records and vehicle registrations. The ability to judge whether a civil document is authentic or not is key to government employees, law enforcement professionals and many in the private sector. These people are truly the first line of defense against terrorism, drug trafficking, alien smuggling, vehicle theft and other transnational crimes” according to Laura Livingston, director of the Panama US Embassy’s Narcotics Affairs Section.
Smith shared with this group methods which the State of Florida Office of Vital Statistics uses to safeguard the collection, registration, preservation, retrieval, distribution, storage and archiving of birth certificates. “I believe that it is essential to communicate between agencies. The agencies responsible for the issuance of vital records and the agencies that must judge the validity of the vital records must stay in constant communication to ensure that when changes are made in collection, registration, preservation, retrieval, distribution, storage and archiving, those in the field making the judgment call can do the most efficient job possible,” she said.
Representatives from the following Panamanian agencies participated in the seminar: National Directorate of Immigration, Passport Agency, Civil Registry, Motor Vehicle Registry, National Police, Technical Judicial Police and Customs. Representatives from airlines operating in Panama also participated.
Honduras Technical Institute and Florida School make
Virtual Connection Concrete
South Dade Adult Education Center principal Bertha Pitt and ESOL
department director Armi Sturges conducted a follow-up visit to the
Instituto Técnico de Electricidad y Electrónica (ITEE) in Honduras for a
week in February. The team conducted brainstorming sessions, toured
facilities, met with faculty and administrators, and evaluated and
assessed more than 900 students. Pitt and Sturges also consulted with the
faculty to implement a system for future evaluations. In addition, Pitt
coordinated a large donation of supplies that ITEE will, in turn, donate
to a public elementary school to create computer and sewing labs. The ITEE
students will provide instruction and maintenance for the labs as part of
their community service requirement for graduation. “Our trip was
extremely successful,” Pitt reported. “We were thoroughly impressed with
the accomplishments and gains realized in two years. We feel the
dedication of the faculty is impressive and the volunteerism of FAVA/CA
has shown the Hondurans many lessons.”
The visits and consultations are the result of a partnership
established by the director of ITEE, Raúl Peña Moreno, with the South Dade
Adult Education Center in Homestead, Florida, to provide English as a
Second Language (ESOL) instruction via the Internet for his students. ITEE
provides instruction in technical trades at an affordable price.
“The visit by these volunteers helps to augment and improve the program
which in turn is promoting and creating new objective forms of evaluation
for the personnel of this institution,” Peña said.
"Green" Campus Planned in Belize
Florida State University professors Ivonne Audirac and Harrison Higgins
traveled to Belize in February at the invitation of the University of
Belize vice president, Geraldo Flowers, to discuss the best ways to
approach ecologically-sound development of the new site of the University
of Belize, Belmopan.
In March the professors returned to Belize accompanied by FSU advanced planning students Nathaniel Malavenda, Rebecca
Karnas, Penelope Karas, Stewart Cruz, Dawn Jourdan and John Harris.
According to Flowers, the focus of FSU’s technical assistance with the Belmopan Campus
Ecology Plan Project is two-fold. One purpose is to assist UB in developing a comprehensive and
environmentally sensitive plan for the development of the Belmopan Campus
in accordance with the needs of the university community. Components of
this plan are expected to include recommendations on the site planning of
future buildings, walkways, monuments, and landscaping, in addition to
addressing issues of waste management. The consultants will also provide guidelines for the
development of the Belmopan Campus which can serve as a model for
environmentally sensitive development throughout Belize. Among structural
and architectural issues will be green architectural design, inventory and
conservation of flora and fauna, soils, and so forth. Formal recommendations in the form
of a report are expected this summer.
In the meantime, the visits have served as a catalyst
for several accomplishments. Initial steps have been made toward the
establishment of a permanent Belmopan Campus Development Management Team,
which will oversee the future development of the campus. There is
increased dialogue between UB central administration, faculty, staff, and
students with respect to the role of the Belmopan Campus and its future
development. There is also increasing communication between UB and the
Belmopan City Council in conjunction with planning
UB looks forward to working with FSU over the coming months to draft the
Belmopan Campus Ecology Plan, and to implement appropriate
recommendations,” Flowers said.
This project is funded by the Florida Department of
Adventures in Travel