Here are five things I know about Progressio in Ecuador, writes Luis Camacho
During my 18 years with Progressio in Ecuador, I’ve worked with many development workers: people of different nationalities, different professions and different backgrounds; people with different perspectives and different political views. But despite this rich diversity, they all had one thing in common: the willingness and readiness to contribute to improving the quality of life of people and communities by passing on their skills, and so empowering people and organisations.
The individuals and organisations we’ve worked with in Ecuador have come from different realities, regions and experiences: peasant farmers, women, health promoters, indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian officials, technicians and professionals. We’ve had the privilege of walking together and seeing them grow stronger, play their part in social processes and political events, and build the participatory knowledge and mutual learning which is the work between people that Progressio stands for.
As an organisation we’ve been through many changes, but throughout, we’ve approached our task with optimism, dedication and passion, and with the commitment to continue to adapt and respond to new demands. In doing so we have had successes and failures, but have always kept one goal in mind: to establish respectful relationships, and encourage people to have their own voice, forge their own destiny, and build the change they need.
The story of Ecuador, since I started my work with CIIR in 1992, has been dynamic, vibrant and contentious, but the strongest feature has always been its people. Social movements, community organisations and civil society have been key players in the process of change and the search for a new direction. We as Progressio contributed to this process through our partners and the work we do with them.
The opportunity to be part of this story has been an unforgettable experience. I’ve been privileged to get closer to the people of my country, to share their needs, dreams and aspirations, and to contribute to achieving their aims. I’ve enjoyed the satisfactions of successes, learned from mistakes, and most of all, shared experiences with colleagues and friends. All this has made me grow as a person. And I’m proud of it.
Luis Camacho was Progressio’s Country Representative in Ecuador from 1992 to 2010.
Photo © Graham Freer/Progressio