After two and a half weeks of shadowing current Program Directors and learning all we can about the programs Manna Project runs in the communities we serve, it is finally time for us to take the reigns. This morning we chose the programs that we will each be focusing on this year, and we are all excitedly getting ready for what is to come. I will be involved in the following programs:
- Basic Adult English: In the communities that we serve there is a huge demand for English classes, and they are consistantly one of Manna’s most popular programs. Having skills in English allows Ecuadoreans to access better jobs, teach English to their children, and just generally have access to a rapidly globalizing world. Every Wednesday and Saturday I will be teaching Manna’s level 1 English class to adults, and I can’t wait to get started teaching and building relationships with my students.
- Library: The Manna library is the center of all of Manna’s activities and programs, and is one of the most important ways that we engage the community. I will be taking the leadership role in developing the library in many different ways: making the space more functional and inviting, expanding the library’s resources through grantwriting and fundraising, creating new initiatives to further engage the community, and more. I am excited to have so much freedom to see the space grow, and I look forward to expanding what we can do with the space and its programs.
- Small Business Development: Manna’s Small Business Development program centers on providing microfinance loans to community members in the nearby town of Jatampungo and helping loan recipients with accounting, marketing, and expanding their businesses. Last week we held interviews with potential loan recipients and this Friday we will disburse the loans of Manna’s fourth loan cycle and begin to work with our clients. This year we hope to expand into two additional communities nearby, as well as expanding our potential to give more loans and provide business advise and accounting assistance to even more clients.
- Adult Nutrition & Cooking: This is a small program run out of our library that does exactly what it sounds like, providing nutrition information to adults while showing them how to cook healthy, nutritious food for their families. I am so excited to build relationships with the community members that will attend this weekly class and look forward to sharing with them over the act of cooking together and breaking bread.
My workload will also consist of organizational roles that will help Manna run smoothly; I will most likely be handling Manna’s metrics and donor relations. Its going to be a lot of work, but I can’t wait to dive in and get started building relationships, learning more about community development, and working to make Manna Ecuador a light in the community.