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4th Violet Groth Vaca Memorial Meeting And 1st Victor Hugo Vaca Memorial Meeting

{Originally Posted on March 25th, 2013}

On March 23rd, 2013, FEDICE held the 4th Violet Groth Vaca Memorial Meeting for Women in San Francisco, a small community near Latacunga, Ecuador. It was also the 1st Victor Vaca Memorial Meeting for Women.

There was a great turnout, with people from the communities of Cochapamba, Jatun Juigua, Maca Atápulo, San Francisco, Pupaná Sur, Luz de América, Romerillos, Santa Rosa, and El Chaupi. In fact, only one expected person was unable to attend.

The purpose of the meeting was to analyze each community's strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats to those opportunities. FEDICE calls this process FODA (Fortalezas, Oportunidades, Debilidades, Amenazas). For example, some strengths (fortalezas) might be efficient administration of programs and the ability to obtain low-interest loans from FEDICE. Some opportunities might be selling to mercados or large companies. Examples of weaknesses could be inefficient administration of programs, insufficient capital, or a lack of training. Threats (amenazas) to the opportunity of, say, selling, might be varying prices in the marketplace or diseases to animals and crops.

With the FODA process completed, FEDICE is better able to define its objectives and goals for the next five years with respect to these communities. Rigorous processes like FODA help FEDICE insure that communities are being realistic about their needs. These programs also insure that communities come to FEDICE with identified needs and plans, instead of expecting FEDICE to tell them what they need, like a parent figure.

Grace Zurita and Hugo Pacheco presented the process. The gathering then broke into groups according to the communities they represented. Each group went through the FODA process, identifying their own strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats to those opportunities.

Blanca Puma, Grace, Marco Garzón, Hugo, René (Grace's husband), and Clarita (who is a university student doing her thesis on the community of San Francisco) assisted the nine groups with the process. Luis Jara Román and Marilyn Cooper took pictures and handled other logistical tasks. Glenn Hebert mostly observed so he could write this article.

After completing the process, reports were presented by the various groups. This helped them understand what they could realistically accomplish in the future with the assistance of FEDICE.

The last thing before lunch was the presentation by different communities of various gifts and plaques to FEDICE in honor of Violet and Victor, and the assistance received from FEDICE. Marco also read a poem he had written in honor of Victor.

After a traditional almuerzo (lunch), a mass was said in honor of Victor and Violet. The priest was late, so Maria, wife of Marco, led us in singing hymns until he arrived. She had a beautiful voice.

This was planned before Victor Vaca's death in February. He is no doubt overjoyed to see that FEDICE is carrying on the work that he and Violet began 18 years ago.

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