CONGRATULATIONS to all the Challengers on our first six Charity Challenges of 2011, biking from Guatemala to Honduras, the inaugural Nicaragua Volcano Challenge, Brazil's Chapada Diamantina Challenge , Guatemala's first Caribbean Kayak Challenge, Perú´s Cerani Pass and Ecuador's Volcano Challenge. Nicaragua's second volcano Challenge is set for 3rd-6th November and the third Guatemala Volcano Challenge dates are set for 27th November -2nd December.

Click on the following for our most recent official project reports for Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Perú and Brazil.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

All the Fun of the Fair - Plan Moo is born in Ecuador

Usually, the weekly Saturday morning Feria de Animales here in Otavalo is just a tourist attraction for hardy GVI volunteers able to face a 6am wake up call! Not so for the last 3 weeks. The GVI Phoenix Team has been making the new initiative ‘Plan Moo’ a reality…

Plan Moo? I hear you cry! We have come to the stage where, with the trust in the communities, rather than helping our kids with the purchases each year for text books, transport and uniforms to go to Secondary School, we have decided to find ways to help the families raise the income to pay the costs of their childrens’ education, and also create something sustainable within the community at the same time, for years to come.

A tough challenge, but one which Huayrapungo (our trial community) has taken on with incredible enthusiasm. After lengthy meetings with community leaders to discuss the relative merits of similar GVI Phoenix plans in other countries, like the Seed, Fertilizer and Chicken Schemes, it was decided the best option would be for us to buy calf-bearing cows and “give” them to the families whose children will enter secondary school.

In this way, the families can sell the cows’ milk each day and save money regularly to go towards the costs for education. Plus they are excited about the chance to teach their children how to run community enterprises for example, making cheese and yoghurt, and buying and raising guinea pigs.

The families will keep the original cow, though the first calf is returned to Plan Moo, thereby allowing us to spread the program further within the communities. If the child drops out of school, then the cow must be returned; this puts pressure on the families to support their children through education.

So the last 3 Saturdays have seen GVI wandering around the cow section of the Feria looking for likely candidates to purchase. Ok, so admittedly, we couldn’t pick out a decent cow from a police lineup, so luckily we had the expertise of the community President, Senor Luis Moran to rely on. With cow poo near misses and unprovoked cow kickings, an exciting time is being had by all!

As we write, we have now bought 6 of the 8 cows we need to set Huayrapungo on its way. The community is overwhelmed and delighted by this opportunity they have to take control of their own futures and to work together on new initiatives to benefit the community as a whole.

We are funding Plan Moo thanks in part to the volunteers' initial investment in the project and also to all of you who have donated to the GVI Charitable Trust We want to expand Plan Moo into our other communities over the next couple of years, so anything you can do would be excellent, and earmarked for GVI Phoenix Ecuador!


How does GVI Phoenix make a difference?

The following film was made in Guatemala, though the message is the same across all GVI Phoenix projects