Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Friday, August 26, 2011


When you arrive at SIFAT's Galilee Campus in Lineville, Al on September 30 for the AHMEN General Meeting you will see a new face. Don't worry, though; he isn't really new! One of AHMEN's Domestic Missionaries, Ezekiel Nichols, will be with us to talk about different approaches to raising money here at home and in Honduras. In addition to the ways we can move toward subsidizing projects in Honduras and move away from a “giving a fish” mindset, Nichols will tell us about a brand new project he is developing with AHMEN!

Ezekiel Nichols will be graduating with a Ph.D. in Economics this December, and he has come up with an idea to completely transform the La Ceiba Dump Ministry. You may remember speaking with Sister Eleanor about the Dump Ministry, or you may have even been there yourself. If not...I do not aim to dramatize the situation. There are literally hundreds of people living in the city dump, making their meals and building their homes with other people's trash. Although we cannot immediately alter the conditions contributing to such a crime against humanity, Ezekiel has come up with a plan to make sure the Dump Ministry has what it needs to provide physical and spiritual sustenance for the dump's inhabitants.

1st of many benefits to raise money for the endowment

What makes Nichols' plan so special is his understanding that fundraising, like mission work, is about a concerted, long-term approach. As a starting point, Ezekiel aims to raise $40,000 for an endowment to continually pay for the Dump Ministry preachers' salaries and a reliable supply of highly-nutritional meals produced by Stop Hunger Now for the dump inhabitants.  His creative means of raising the money is testament to the type of partnerships AHMEN can include in our fundraising efforts. Ezekiel is holding benefit concerts, producing a blues album, placing change jars at local businesses, having bingo (the legal kind) events, in addition to soliciting funds from large corporations. Planning for down the road and to meet needs now, he immediately splits money raised between direct relief to the Dump Ministry and the endowment. What a difference a long-term approach to fundraising will make for both the people living in the dump and AHMEN!

Orlin, a child with Bullous Dermatosis in Belaire, before receiving Stop Hunger Now food packets
Orlin 6 months later

Now I don't want to get too philosophical here, but Ezekiel Nichols also serves as a symbol for the way  mission work is done outside of the mission field. He is a symbol for the people who want to help out with AHMEN but don't necessarily want to or are able to go to Honduras. Nichols went to Honduras several years back, but has been unable to return because of school, work, etc. Now, he has come back full-force to tackle a single project and serve as an analyst to such other projects as the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative. By starting the Dump Endowment and holding fundraising events he also raises awareness of issues important to the Honduran people and AHMEN. By starting a blog about his ideas and efforts he raises AHMEN's web presence. Through communicating with other AHMEN folks about their projects he adds valuable input and momentum to our shared concerns. His efforts clearly show the value of teamwork, the importance of communication, and the inspiration of long-term planning. In all sense of the term, in the past few months Ezekiel Nichols has become one of AHMEN's Domestic Missionaries.

When you get a chance, track down Ezekiel Nichols to see what he's up to lately.  He is on facebook, and a link to his blog can be found here.  Hopefully we will be hearing a lot more from him!

Monday, August 8, 2011


AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative Exploratory Meeting in Yorito
Now that the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative's community agents in Cusuna have completed the first third of their training, we would like to begin exploring the possibility of bringing additional workshops to other Honduran communities. In light of its highly-motivated population and international NGO presence, Byron Morales made a trip to explore the community of Yorito as a future workshop site. The following information regarding community leaders and organizational partnerships is based on his report:

  1. ALFASIC: Fanny Aviles
Responsibility: She is the supervisor of the area. She has been our initial contact and the dynamic person who has organized the visit and meetings.
Type of Organization: Evangelical, Educational & Private
Work field: HIV Prevention, Adult Education, Microcredit, Citizenship
Level of impact: Working in 32 communities
Observations: We can count with her as our main local partner for logistic, organization and follow up. She is a member of the local Catholic Church Board.

Responsibility: She represents the Government Policies for Women and Rights.
Type of Organization: Governmental
Work field: Gender and Women Rights
Level of impact: Three municipalities and 16 groups with around 150 women involved
Observations: They can support some curricula subjects for the community agents workshop.

Responsibility: She is the Library administrator.
Type of Organization: Private
Work field: HIV Prevention, Adult Education, Microcredit, Citizenship
Level of impact: Working in Yorito
Observations: The library is available for free for the eventual trainings, but they have a room for only 30 people.

Community Leaders From Left: Fanny, Melvin, Dilcia

  1. EDUCATODO: Jose Perez
Responsibility: Coordinator
Type of Organization: Private with Norwegian funds
Work field: Formal and informal education
Level of impact: Working in 18 communities, with 18 facilitators and 185 attendants from the communities
Observations: Their facilitators could be candidates for AHMEN/SIFAT Initiative workshop.

Responsibility: Library Board President
Observations: He is also the assistant director of the High School San Pedro and invited us to visit the school because of their interest in some seminars on HIV and sexual abuse prevention.
  1. FIPAH, Melvin and Dilcia Ramirez
Responsibility: Director
Type of Organization: Private with Norwegian funds
Work field: Agricultural and Technology
Level of impact: 21 youths groups on agricultural training, environmental care, computer and English classes.
Observations: They could be one of the strongest partners and a source for community agents candidates as also for funding the project. Dilcia attended our first workshop at Cusuna as part of the group that Janet Espinosa of Peace Corps mobilized.

Variety of Beans Produced by FIPAH

  1. CDF: Juan Perez
Responsibility: Coordinator
Type of Organization: Private and member of FIPAH
Work field: Youth leadership and microenterprise
Level of impact: 38 graduates. 10 youth groups.
Observations: They are a good source for recruiting youth for the training.

  1. PEACE CORPS: Nina Pfiffer
She has been key in the organization of our visit and is doing good work mobilizing the communities of Yorito and Pacayal.
  1. PRALEVA: Ramon Lagos & Rita Velasquez
Responsibility: Facilitators
Type of Organization: Governmental - MOE
Work field: Youth and Adult education
Level of impact: 300 students in 20 community centers
Observations: This will be an excellent source for recruiting community agents for our training program.

  1. RENACER: Gloria Avilez
Responsibility: Coordinator
Type of Organization: Private
Work field: Promoting local culture among youth
Level of impact: 10 youth facilitators
Observations: RENACER is an outstanding partner for promoting local culture.

Byron Morales of SIFAT and Marlene Pozas of SERTEDESO

  1. SERTEDESO: Marlen Pozas
Responsibility: Coordinator
Type of Organization: Private
Work field: Technical Services on Agriculture, Environmental care, Microenterprise
Observations: They have offered support as facilitators for the trainings.

  1. ALCALDIA (Mayor Office): Manuel Hernandez
He is the second in command to the mayor.  His office is responsible for 16K people from the Municipality of Yorito, with 3 ethnic groups, in 52 communities. He has expressed the commitment of the Municipality to support our presence.

FIPAH also teaches Computer and English skills and need volunteers for both!

We also visited:
  1. San Pedro High School: Met with the Principal and she would like her school actively committed with the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative. She has requested to train their teachers in educational methodologies, HIV prevention with the students, and child sexual abuse prevention with the parents. They could reproduce the manuals.
  2. FIPAH: With them we could coordinate SIFAT trainings on appropriate technology. They have groups coming from Nourish International to support their programs.
  3. Catholic Church: They have a big conference room, kitchen and green areas for developing the workshops. We would have to sign an agreement to use the place.
  1. SIFAT will send the mentioned leaders to distribute among their organizations and prepare another meeting with us.
  2. Plan a second meeting in August or September to design the project and budget together.
  3. To look for the resources to cover SIFAT costs and the logistic for the attendants.
  4. Potential partners to develop: Peace Corps, ALFASIC and FIPAH. All of them have expressed possibilities to allocate funds to start the training program at the end of 2011 or early 2012.

With such a highly mobilized group of community leaders and organizations already in place just imagine what the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative could add to the mix!  For more information on how to get involved feel free to contact me.  With prayer and determination we can all work toward developing Yorito as a sustainable model community  in Honduras!