DEVELOP LOCAL LEADERS
The future of the SVH villages depends heavily on the emergence of local leaders who care about improving their lives and their villages over the long haul. Vecinos staff identify and develop such leaders by teaching them how to train each other, and by building their capacity to run strong organizations.
For example, Vecinos staff have taught the leaders of the savings and credit organization in Cablotal how to keep trustworthy records of savings deposited, other income, and loans.
Vecinos staff facilitates a series of village mapping meetings that will be carried out in each SVH village.
Villages collaborate to create a map of the features of the village, water sources, forested areas, family houses, churches, school, soccer field and parks. They mark the places that are important to them and the homes where a child or adult is vulnerable.
This forms the basis for a discussion of what are the most pressing issues facing the community and how to address them. Leaders emerge from these meetings.
Vecinos staff supports leaders in the SVH villages, for example Maritza Linares in El Zapotal, a remote SVH village of about 20 households. (Photo G3) El Zapotal is only connected by a two-kilometer footpath to a dirt road. It takes strong leadership to complete projects such as improvement of the El Zapotal water source, that involves hand-carrying cement to the water site.