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Ecuador Mi Pais

 Flag of Ecuador
Flag of Ecuador

Ecuador Mi País (EMiP) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that was born in August 2005 as an initiative of young Ecuadorian professionals living in the Washington D.C. area that felt a moral imperative and a deep desire to contribute to the social and economic development of their country. In Ecuador, not enough resources are spent on education. For this reason, its founders agreed that the most valuable and effective way to collaborate towards the development of the country was by supporting educational projects targeted to low-income groups. Since its origin, this organization has sponsored more than 100 students.

EMiP is now a registered 501(c)(3)organization operated and directed by volunteers and it was legally incorporated in the District of Columbia (D.C.) in June 2006.

EMiP was conceived to promote equal opportunities and to facilitate access to education for underprivileged children and adolescents in Ecuador, regardless of gender and ethnicity. The organization is well-positioned as one of the most solid NGOs created by Ecuadorian emigrants, and its membership has grown steadily every year, counting now with more than 3,500 members in its cause in Facebook. The organization has affiliates in different states of the United States of America, and also in Europe, specifically in Spain, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom, countries that have large concentrations of Ecuadorian immigrants.

Contents

Organization

Ecuador_(orthographic_projection)

EMiP believes that with the help of fellow citizens and friends, the organization can help build a more progressive and developed country. The diverse academic backgrounds and professional experience of the founders helped create an executive board that worked quickly to disseminate the message and the objective of the organization, reaching a fair amount of Americans and Ecuadorians that were inspired to support and help the cause. Its members also organize fund-raising events to celebrate national festivities and promote Ecuadorian culture.


EMiP has become a very lean and efficient organization with very low operational costs (less than 10 % of revenues). The majority of Ecuadorians that volunteer for the organization reside in the United States of America. Its leaders are committed individuals determined to continue working towards expanding opportunities for poor students in Ecuador.

The organization has partnered with recognized Ecuadorian and international organizations in Washington D.C. such as the Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington D.C., Grupo FARO, Symphony for Life -Ecuador, the Association of Ecuadorian Ladies in Washington D.C. (ADEW Ecuador), Federación de Entidades Ecuatorianas en el Exterior (FEDEE), Young2Young Community of the World Bank , Young Connection of the Inter-American Development Bank, and Centro Argentino (CEGA). These partnerships are sought to develop new ways to contribute to development projects and to work with the D.C. metro area community. As a testament of its responsible and serious work, one of EMiP's projects was selected as a finalist at the 2008 World Bank Remittances Fair, held in Bolivia.

EMiP is an open organization that provides opportunity for global community volunteering. Its grants have had a real positive impact on the lives of the students who receive education scholarships. Furthermore, the organization allows Ecuadorian emigrants to help their country by supporting the dreams of underprivileged children that need help with their education expenses. Volunteers have found in EMiP a bridge that connects them to their country, where their initiatives and voluntary work creates hope and contributes to a better future.

Projects and Programs

 Ecuadorian Children
Ecuadorian Children

The organization's main project is Edusemillas (Education Seeds), an ambitious sponsorship program established in 2007. The project was created to provide education scholarships to students in strenuous economic circumstances. EMiP has been teaming up with established organizations in Ecuador to help locate schools and educational programs that are able to work with the organization. During the 2007-2008 school year, Edusemillas sponsored 91 basic education students, and 3 university students. The program works as other sponsoring programs in the U.S., with two key differences: (1) the funds collected are utilized only for educational purposes, and (2) the program is run by volunteers, which ensures that the money of the sponsor actually goes to the children, rather than administrative expenses.

Services Offered

With a monthly contribution of $25, sponsors cover the educational expenses of one student in a given year. EMiP ensures that the child or adolescent attends classes, while at the same time committing the student’s parents or guardians to support and encourage their children’s education. Each individual sponsorship covers school supplies, uniforms, tuition, and a monthly stipend for attendance at an elementary or high school.

Monitoring and Evaluation

EMiP prepares information reports of each sponsored student, which includes a final report card and a summary of how the contributions were used. This information is sent twice per year to each sponsor. EMiP has monitored closely the results obtained by scholarship recipients. The partners associated with the program provide EMiP with quarterly report cards obtained from each student.

Scholarship recipients are required to maintain a minimum grade average of 16/20 in a school year to keep their scholarship. Few scholarships have been cancelled due to failure of obtaining the required grade average, and fortunately the majority of children take advantage of the economic support for several years. EMiP is sponsoring the college education of three students that are currently attending local public universities.

In order to ensure that the funds provided for educational purposes are used only for this purpose, EMiP signs a contract with each one of the program’s partners specifying what type of expenses are allowed. Each partner provides detail annual expense summaries, including invoices to back up these expenses.

Target Population

The services provided are not limited to specific religious or ethnic groups. However, in the distribution of the scholarships, EMiP tries to maintain gender parity. In addition, the scholarship program targets children not only in urban but also in rural areas of the country, where education opportunities are even more limited.

Testimonials

 Rural Ecuadorian child
Rural Ecuadorian child

In the words of one of their sponsored kids:
Friends, thank you so much for the help you are giving us. My name is Esteban Jaramillo and I think it is wonderful that you are giving this kind of help to people like us. We want to do something with our lives, although sometimes we don’t have the opportunities to study and help our family and contribute to the progress of our society. I think it really motivates me to know that there are people who care enough about others to support them; that’s something that will be repaid to you in this life. I also want to tell you that I’m committed to moving ahead, so your support is in the right place. (first student to graduate from high school with the support of Ecuador Mi País).
And in the words of one of the parents:
I’m very grateful to you for the grant you gave my daughter. Thanks to that, my girl is making her dreams of becoming successful true. I’m very thankful; thank you from the bottom of my heart and please keep helping my daughter and other boys and girls.

References

The organization is currently working with the following partners:

Casa Victoria Foundation in the city of Quito, Province of Pichincha. It is currently sponsoring 20 children. [1]
Muchacho Trabajador Program (a program to eliminate child labor and maintain children in school) in the city of Manta, Province of Manabí and the city of Esmeraldas, province of Esmeraldas [2]
Fé y Alegría School in the city of Cuenca, Province of Azuay [3]
Embassy of Ecuador in Washington D.C. [4]
Grupo FARO, a public policy advocacy NGO [5]
Symphony for Life - Ecuador [6]
Asociación de Damas Ecuatorianas en Washington (ADEW) [7]
Federación de Entidades Ecuatorianas en el Exterior (FEDEE) [8]
World Bank Young2Young Community [9]
Inter-American Development Bank Young Connection: [10]
Centro Argentino [11]

External Link

Ecuador Mi País [12]

Cause for Ecuador Mi País on Facebook [13]

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