2009 Projects

Team Monterey 2009

Project Descriptions and Overview

Production Team

Goals:  (1) Create and execute a survey to explore and develop the establishment of local markets to enable community farmers to regain control of profits and business opportunities; (2) Conduct a comprehensive GPS mapping survey of Asociación Mangle member farms to aid the Production center in both the coordination of the local markets and various other organizational activities.


  • Surveyed 90 community members across 13 Bajo Lempa communities
  • Transportation is the most limiting factor for market access
  • Local farmers have a lack of incentive to produce beyond sustenance levels, due to low or no marginal gain from local production sales
  • Limiting factor of production appears to be lack of market access, not the lack of potential cultivation capacity

Recommendations include:

  • Hold regular community meetings to facilitate knowledge sharing and trust among community members and find consensus on crop cultivation strategies
  • Create shared database of seasonal production, including quantities, location, and consumption records, to determine local community needs and coordinate a profitable temporal and geographic distribution of cultivated crops
  • Explore grant-writing and funding sources to acquire La Coordinadora owned and operated vehicles for transporting products to surrounding communities and local markets

Seed Bank Team

Goals:  (1) Create and execute a market survey to document local seed use, sourcing, storage, and management trends, and inform expansion of the seed bank model; (2) Work in conjunction with the Production team to conduct a comprehensive GPA mapping survey of Asociación Mangle member farms to cross reference locations of community crops.


  • Surveyed 100 community farmers across 14 Bajo Lempa communities
  • Transportation is a key challenge to seed exchange and expansion of the seed bank network
  • Communities are motivated more so by word of mouth and are incredulous towards advertisements made by picacheros.
  • ‘Organization’ cited by farmers as a main impediment to any expansion of the seed bank or local markets

Recommendations include:

  • Continue educations efforts about chemical fertilizer use, organic farming practices, and benefits of native seed use through the Agriculture School and through classes and workshops presented by the promotores
  • Conduct cost-benefit analysis to evaluate use of native seeds over hybrid seeds
  • Utilize local community groups and liaisons to facilitate intercommunity seed trading
  • Integrate local ‘seed exchanges’ into larger efforts for creating local markets

Education Team

Goals: (1) Collect educational statistics from the past five years, including the current and past attendance and dropout rate of males and females in primary and secondary school; (2) Identify the factors preventing youth from continuing their studies in primary school, high school, and university; (3) Establish recommendations and a suggested structure for a scholarship program.


  • Successfully surveyed directors and teachers from 3 secondary schools and 6 primary schools, as well as 60 heads of household from 10 communities in the Bajo Lempa
  • Lack of substantial financial resources from the government and on the part of the families and schools significantly hinder the ability for all children to receive a good education.
  • These financial limitations create a culture of indifference towards the importance of education and, in turn, foster a lack of motivation from the parents to the children.


  • La Coordinadora should consider offering more than 8 university scholarships to expand opportunities for college graduates to gain lasting employment
  • Revision and review of the application and selection process, scholarship budget, and methods for monitoring and evaluating the scholarship applicants
  • Hire a full time, bi-lingual employee who is trained in Grant Writing and who dedicates at least 35% of his or her time to researching and applying for grants that will help fund all of La Coordinadora’s project.
  • Contact and request assistance from the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program at the Monterey Institute to develop a program that will train selected employees of La Coordinadora in Basic English, and subsequently in Business English.

Marine Turtle Conservation Team

Goals: (1) Establish a demographic and socio-economic profile of sea turtle egg harvesters within Bajo Lempa communities; (2) Explore socio-economic forces motivating the extraction of sea turtle eggs; (3) Conduct a comprehensive market study of the sea turtle egg supply chain (harvesting to selling); (4) Evaluate effectiveness of existing conservation efforts.


  • 88 interviews conducted across 11 communities and four local markets profiling turtle egg harvesters (“Tortugeros”), buyers, incubation site caretakers, and retail activities
  • Turtle egg harvesting represents a valuable and essential source of income for local communities; Alternatives to egg harvesting must take into account this economic reliance
  • Current conservation efforts and management of incubation sites lack consistency and standardization
  • Payment programs are not enough on their own to support comprehensive, long-term conservation goals


  • Expand research and strategic partnerships (science related institutes, international development/conservation organizations) to further explore and develop effective conservation strategies to compliment community development needs
  • Engage harvesters, nursery caretakers, and communities in seasonal or quarterly workshops to raise awareness around conservation and encourage participation
  • Conduct further scientific research around ecological and biological behavior of marine turtle species; utilize this information for strategic use of ‘Vedas’ (bans) in conjunction with community and scientific participation
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