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Ministry Highlight: Ecuador
Posted By Web Team On November 4, 2011 @ 1:12 am In Country Staff,Multimedia | 12 Comments
We began our ministry in Ecuador in 1974, with the Child Sponsorship Program. In 2002, we started the Leadership Development Program and in 2006, the Child Survival Program.
Fernando Puga joined our ministry in Ecuador as Country Director in 2001. Before this, Fernando was a civil engineer and had his own consulting firm.
And during the 1990s, prior to having his own firm, Fernando was Executive Director at the World Bank, working to reform elementary education curriculum and promote the concept of school networks in poor areas of Ecuador.
In 1999, he was named Vice Minister of the Interior of Ecuador.
Fernando holds a Master of Structural Engineering degree from Escuela Politécnica del Ecuador University in Quito.
Implementing Church Partners
Implementing Church Partners are local churches in Ecuador with whom we work to deliver child development programs and ministry in the field.
However, Catholicism is diminishing and Protestant evangelical denominations are growing.
The indigenous people practice unique religions, often combining pre-Hispanic traditions with the Catholic faith. Throughout the country, people are free to practice whatever religion they choose with no fear of persecution.
Poverty often leads to abuse, and many women are victims of abuse from the men in their lives. Many children in Ecuador are being raised in this environment, which interferes with healthy development particularly with their sense of confidence and self-esteem.
Other challenges in Ecuador are a the lack of job opportunities, low quality of education, lack of access to adequate health care, an increase in the number of child workers, and child abuse in homes and other environments.
Additionally, we give support through occasional radio programs, monthly newsletters and yearly meetings with pastors and church leaders.
Child Survival Program
The most common workshops are beauty (haircuts, manicures and pedicures), knitting, ornament making, and making hygiene products such as shampoo, chlorine and disinfecting liquid.
If there are any children or mothers who cannot access adequate medical care at the public hospitals due to the hospitals’ lack of equipment or supplies, we provide additional ministry funds for them to go to a private hospital or doctor’s office.
The food products included in each basket are specific to meet the needs of the individual families, and the budget for each basket of food is $20 (USD).
During home visits, program implementers make an effort to talk to the fathers about the importance of their involvement in their child’s development. However, many fathers do not want to attend program activities because most of the attendees are women.
Also, some centers have a training plan for the mothers whose children will be transitioning to the Child Sponsorship Program. Once a month, they are asked to join the Child Sponsorship Program activities that are appropriate for their children or to attend a parent activity such as a lecture.
Child Sponsorship Program
Your sponsorship of a child in Ecuador provides a variety of benefits.
The children attend the child development centers after school.
Some child development centers offer snacks to the children before they go home as well, and it is very common to give additional food to children under age 5.
Generally, the Implementing Church Partners offer soccer, art, music, dance and liturgy. A few Implementing Church Partners organize trips and camps.
Our adolescent program in Ecuador includes three to four hours of class per week. This program offers classes about nutrition, health care, educational reinforcement, access to libraries and vocational training. Adolescents also attend camps and go to youth group meetings on Saturdays.
We encourage pastors to take charge of the families, training parents and involving them in different spiritual and academic activities.
Given these three factors, we would like to expand into Esmeraldas, Manabi, Guayas, Bolivar, Napo, Pastaza and Zamora Chinchipe. These areas are in three zones: the jungle, the highlands (which are over 3,000 meters above sea level and where the poorest zones in the country are located), and the river basins along the coastal regions where there are frequent floods and extreme poverty.
Leadership Development Program
In addition, students meet in smaller groups to do community work on a monthly basis.
In the area of physical development and health, we cover conditions and tendencies of the Ecuadorian family as well as the differences between Andean ancestral medicine and Western medicine.
Our core Child Sponsorship Program, while comprehensive, does not address all obstacles to a child’s healthy development. The Complementary Interventions program was created to work with our holistic child development model to provide additional services, such as our AIDS Initiative, Bibles for all children, disaster relief and clean water.
Generally, Complementary Interventions are addressed in three ways: urgent interventions in cases of emergency or disaster, planned interventions based on needs assessed by our staff in Ecuador, and planned interventions based on needs assessed by the Implementing Church Partners.
The most frequent interventions have been related to water purification, disaster relief, entrepreneurial ventures and infrastructure improvement.
Our staff and church partners in Ecuador are dedicated to serving families in their community. This video — created by our Ecuador country staff — illustrates a spirit of service embodied by the young men and women they serve.
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