We’re doing volunteer work right now in one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere - Honduras. You can help us make a real difference.
We’re long-time B.C. newspaper journalists, and have both had careers in newspaper management. Jody has also worked with B.C. non-profits serving vulnerable, impoverished people, and she has now taken a one-year volunteer placement through Cuso International to do communications work for a Cuso partner organization in Honduras, the Comision de Accion Social Menonita (CASM).
The work sounds amazing, helping CASM develop a strategy for talking more effectively to all kinds of people inside and outside Honduras about the difficult community issues it works with.
Those issues are important. CASM is a social-justice organization in a country with many needs. CASM’s projects include working with communities to reduce the social and environmental impact of migratory farming, a practice common in impoverished countries that destroys vital forest lands, causes serious environmental problems, and is at best a fleeting fix for people’s real economic problems.
Honduras is the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its eight million citizens struggle - with 28 per cent unemployment, extreme poverty, contaminated and uncertain water sources and routine crime. More than 40 per cent of Hondurans live on the equivalent of less than $1.25 a day.
Desperate to survive, Hondurans are inadvertently devastating their environment in some areas of the country in an effort to feed their families. People log forests in hopes of setting up subsistence farms on soil that can’t sustain farming. Or they cut down mahogany trees to sell into the international market. The country has lost more than a third of its forest lands in the last 20 years.
As long-standing newspaper columnists, we are familiar with reflecting on such complex community issues as writers. But we are also advocates and activists, and it’s that part of us that is most excited about the opportunities opened up by our Cuso volunteer placement.
Jody has dealt with many complexities in her work in Victoria with survival sex workers and people living homeless. She knows such work is hard, slow and often frustrating.
But at the same time, this placement is a terrific opportunity to take the sum total of communication and management skills from a lifetime of work in Canada and pass it on to an organization doing good work in Honduras, where the needs are so great. With your help, we have the chance to work with Cuso International to apply the skills, knowledge and energy of Canadians like us on tough problems here and around the world.
Why Cuso? We have known of the organization for many years, and have long appreciated the volunteer work Cuso International does in developing countries. Cuso understands the importance of grassroots strategies built around the skills and knowledge of the people who live in the countries where it works. We’re honoured to be having our first international volunteer experience on behalf of an organization with a proven track record for effective, home-grown initiatives addressing some of the most pressing problems of these times.
We’re posted to Copan Ruinas, near the Guatemalan border. We hope you’ll visit our blogs for regular updates on our travels - you can subscribe to get updates from Jody’s blog
and/or Paul’s blog
and we are also on Facebook!
Thank you for your support of the work we’ll be doing. Your donations make all the difference to the important work Cuso International does around the world. We hope you'll read our blogs about our time in Honduras - we'd like to take you along with us for what is already proving to be a fascinating year.
Paul and I arrived in Honduras in January. Read more about my placement by pressing 'more' below...then you can make a tax deductible gift and leave us a message.