Our Rapid Development project is designed to boost economic activity in the Maya Chortí villages (aldeas) of the Copán region, so that families become self-sufficient and can maintain a reasonable standard of living without dependence on outside aid. In the three municipalities where we are active (Copán Ruinas, Santa Rita and Cabañas), there are about 230 villages. None of them is thriving today, according to the mayors of the municipalities.
Average per capital incomes in these villages are typically in the range of $1 to $2 per day, which represents extreme poverty. An unskilled day laborer earns about $5 per day, when he is lucky enough to be working.
The root causes of village poverty are many, including centuries of oppression, dislocation and discrimination; steep slopes and poor soil; poor infrastructure and services; inadequate education; health problems; and often no access to the necessities of life such as water, sanitation and power.
We always planned to implement a project like this, because IPA will be supporting our villages indefinitely unless we help them to become self-sufficient. Our job is not done until we achieve this, so a project of this kind is essential.
This project is a pilot program supporting just three villages. If we are successful, we hope to implement it on a much larger scale using a grant from a major donor. The project includes a comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation process, so that we have high quality data to prove our results.
We chose to adapt the FXBVillage model developed by the FXB organization (fxb.org) in Switzerland. It has demonstrated an 85% success rate over 27 years of projects in Africa, Asia and Columbia.
The FXBVillage model has many attractive features that we replicated in Copán:
This project involves various partners to provide necessary support and services. These include:
The project includes a formal Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) process, so that we have solid data to back up our results. We conducted household surveys at the start of the project (for baseline data) and repeat the survey on every anniversary. The questionnaires were designed to measure our impact on economic activity, standard of living, and quality of life. Every action we take will be evaluated by relevant metrics.
Early results are encouraging as we move into the second year of the program.
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions. Your generous donation will fund our mission.