A YEAR IN
ST VINCENT & THE GRENADINES
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
GOOD REASONS why Plan works in Ecuador
• A quarter of children aged 5 to 17 work – the vast majority in harmful or dangerous conditions
Young students with new learning aids
Tocantins Manabí Norte Manabí Sur
Put • Enabling children to grow up in a safe,BRAZIL healthy environment through better um ayohealth, education, water and sanitation, nutrition, and family incomes Japura • Promoting children’s rights and preventing mistreatment
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• Helping children to take part in community decision-making
ECUADOR Country Office Programme Unit
Children make use of new toys during a class
“It has been a challenging yet successful year for Plan, working in partnership with government and non-governmental Riberalta organisations locally and nationally. I look forward to another exciting year, and thank you for your continued support.” Manu
Climate: Although the country is not particularly large, there is great variety in the climate, largely determined by altitude. The Pacific coastal area has a tropical climate, with a severe rainy season. The climate in the Andean highlands is temperate and relatively dry;
Economy: Ecuador’s natural resources include petroleum, fish, shrimp, timber and gold. In addition, it has rich agriculture: bananas, flowers, coffee, cacao, sugar, tropical fruits, palm oil, palm hearts, rice, and corn. Fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact.
Population: 13.2 million
– Phillip Groman, Plan’s Country Director
Language: Spanish. Quechua is widely spoken
and the Amazon basin on the eastern side of the mountains shares the climate of other rain forest zones.by the El Niño and La Niña phenomena.
Cotopaxi Guaranda Chimborazo
Our in Ecuador a Caquetpriorities
• Children are rarely involved in decisions affecting them, and there’s a lack of public policy to protect children
• Poverty, malnutrition and child mortality rates are disproportionately high Uraric Guaviare in indigenous communities
A YEAR IN
ECUADO09R SUMMARY REPORT
FOCUS ON: A SAFE, HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT Plan aims to increase the number of children living in a safe, healthy environment, and help them to reach their full potential in life. This includes increasing the number of children who get a good quality education, introducing safe water and sanitation to homes which don’t have them, and improving the quality of children’s diets. Lastly, it means enabling children and communities to cope when natural disasters strike. These are wide-ranging goals, and can only be achieved if the community themselves are committed to making, and sustaining, progress.
UNITED WE STAND
amboo huts, roads in serious disrepair, scarce employment and poverty. That is what Colimes looks like at first sight but, as you get inside the community, you discover a dynamic group of people striving for better opportunities.
A basket comes in handy during a recent flood
The Bigger Picture
Plan is working with children, families and whole communities to address the problems that Equador faces. This report can only tell a small part of that story. As a further insight, last year we also: • Gave children the opportunity to express themselves by supporting 40 youth media groups and 330 clubs, student councils and community committees • Supported 34 children’s consultative councils, which make suggestions on national and local policy on children’s issues • Helped to provide water, mosquito nets and hygiene kits for 30,000 families affected by flooding and mud-slides • Saw 28,796 families are take part in Planbacked credit and savings schemes, enabling them to increase their incomes and meet their children’s basic needs. Your support as a sponsor is crucial to achieving these positive results. So on behalf of the communities, partner organisations, and most of all the children we work with – thank you!
“Effective reconstruction would not have been possible if the community had not been united.” To learn more about Plan’s work in Ecuador visit plan.org.au/ourwork/southernamerica/ecuador
Produced for Ecuador by the Australian National Office.
A short conversation with the locals is enough. In their words and their faces, you can see their passion for the development and growth of their community. Plan’s work in Colimes, as elsewhere, focuses on encouraging that passion, bringing the community together and providing the training, guidance and (on occasion) raw materials needed for the people to make progress for themselves. The severe flooding which hit the Ecuadorian coast in the spring of 2008 provided a real test for this approach. In the wake of the flooding came disease, loss of crops, isolation, economic instability and damage and destruction of homes. In many houses, the water level was almost two metres high and left the community practically isolated. Colimes was helped by the Ecuadorian Army and Air Force, but truly effective reconstruction would not have been possible if the community had not been united. “One of the things distinguishing Colimes is that the common vision of the problem was very positive and everyone participated,” says Wilson Valencia, Mayor of Colimes. “That was very important because as mayor you can be sorting out and channelling aid, but you need the goodwill of the community for things to move on.” With Plan’s support, the community also went into action to help the people affected and move them to shelters, where about 25 families stayed for a month. “Thank God no lives were lost, and not even many material goods,” says one resident. Community members were trained as volunteer disaster workers and did what they could to solve the problem. Fabiela was one such volunteer. She found flooded and impassable roads to be one of the biggest challenges. “It was hard to get through to the
“We have the right to life, to the love and care of her parents, the right to education, as education allows us to be someone in life.”
community,” she says, “but the leaders were always willing and trying to find the best way. My greatest satisfaction is having attended so many patients, especially children. There were whole families evacuated, not many, but they were given particular support, and also follow-up.” Another major problem was disease, especially among children. Marlene, an auxiliary nurse in the local health centre, says that the main illnesses the flooding brought were malaria, dengue fever, intestinal infections and even typhoid. “At one point there weren’t enough beds here, we had children on a drip sitting on chairs – it was a disaster! [But] Plan brought in a stock of medicine that we didn’t have before,” she says. Children’s rights During the emergency, Comiles’ children were not only protected and cared for, but with Plan’s support were also educated on their rights. This meant that they could ask for proper care and attention at that time. Maria, aged 13, says she felt vulnerable during the emergency, especially as her father’s livelihood was jeopardised. But a knowledge of her rights led her to express herself and get organised with other local children. “When we needed things for school and asked our parents, they told us they couldn’t give us anything because of the floods. So we decided to hold raffles and do other things to raise money for what we needed.” With her strong commitment to children’s rights, Maria looks set to become one of Ecuador’s future leaders: “We have the right to life,” she says, “to the love and care of our parents, the right to education, as education allows us to be someone in life.” Some names have been changed for child protection and privacy purposes.