We spoke with International Project Alliance (IPA)’s Peter Martin about IPA’s plans of using the FXBVillage Toolkit and Planning Guide to enhance its development projects in the Copán Ruinas region in Honduras’ western highlands.
The IPA is a group of 10 Rotary clubs from Skagit and surrounding counties in Washington State. Its mission is “to pool financial and professional resources and apply them to humanitarian and development projects in one small region in Latin America.”
This interview with Peter Martin, the Chair of the IPA, was conducted on February 16, 2016 and was edited and condensed by FXB USA.
Q. What specific features in the FXBVillage Toolkit caught your eye and made you decide to adopt the FXBVillage Model to IPA’s projects in Honduras?
A. There are really two big things in the Toolkit. One was the concept of attacking all the causes of poverty at the same time and the necessity of doing that, which suggested to us that we should be doing things differently. The other is the completeness of the Toolkit. It’s essentially a handbook to allow anybody like us to start a program like this and make use of your experience without reinventing the wheel.
Q. Could you give us an overview of how IPA is planning to use the FXBVillage Toolkit and implement the FXBVillage Model in the test village in Honduras?
A. Our plan is to begin with a very small village, so that the scale of the project is affordable for us. We’ll probably start with a village of 20-30 homes only. Then it’s pretty clear we need to partner with an NGO to do some of the hands-on training, follow-up and support, because Rotary is not very well equipped to do this. And the other thing will be, to help succeed, to set up a team in this village with the village leaders, the health worker, the teacher, the head of the water board, ethnic leaders and so on, so that the project has the support of the village. It’s not just us going in there and telling them what to do, but we’ll be facilitators with that team.
Q. What is IPA’s current approach in Honduras? After the implementation of the FXBVillage Model, what specific changes do you expect to see in IPA’s practices?
A. Our approach is essentially sequential rather than simultaneous. One thing that we will be changing [after the implementation of the FXBVillage Model] is to do a simultaneous model. If we are successful, a small village [will be] economically independent. That’s going to get a lot of attention, and it will be easier to raise funds for large-scale implementation.
Q. During the implementation of the FXBVillage Model, what challenges do you anticipate that IPA will face?
A. We’ll certainly face challenges. If achieving economic independence in Mayan villages was easy, it would’ve been done before. So we know it’s going to be a tough game. One of the reasons is that poverty is largely cultural and has deep roots.
Q. How do you envision that the FXBVillage Model, especially Income Generating Activities, can help IPA accomplish its goal of fostering self-reliance and self-sustainability in the villages where IPA implement its direct service projects?
A. During implementation, the big help is going to be your Toolkit. Because you’ve potentially presented us with a plan of exactly how to do this in great detail, we are not starting from scratch. This will be extremely valuable.