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CEN eNewsletter - December 2010                                                                            Contact Us

In this issue...

Letter from the Director
CENS Approach to Development Sets Us Apart
The PRATICAR Learning Approach
Suruacá Entrepreneurs Support Each Other Through Their New Entrepreneur Group
The Impact of CENs work is felt by Residents and their Communities
Thank You for a Successful Fall Pledge Drive and Raffle
Art Display and Benefit Sale - Going on Now
How You Can Help
Donate to CEN Follow CEN on facebookFoward this NL to a friend

Letter from the Director


BobAlthough we normally only send the CEN newsletter every other month, I really wanted to thank everyone for their support during our successful pledge drive and raffle, which just ended.. I'd like to give a special thanks to Wendy Wagner, who crafted the beautiful quilt.

Thanks to everyone's support, I'll be heading to Brazil next month to assess the needs of and document the Women's Entrepreneurial group. While in the region, we'll also continue to strengthen the Suruacá Entrepreneur Group and to work with Couro Ecologico on marketing their products more effectively. In recent newsletters we've talked about our efforts with the Women's Group and Couro Ecologico projects. In this edition, we'll share a bit more about our work supporting the Suruacá Entrepreneur Group.

Over the last couple of years, we've made significant organizational progress, even though our budget and resources are still very small (apx $25,000). Our pilot project in the Amazon has succeeded: more than a year after the pilot ended, community members are still applying the skills they learned.

Our comprehensive approach to building self-reliance in communities, as well as our unique learning approach called PRATICAR, sets CEN apart from many other development organizations. In this edition of the newsletter we explain both of these, and how they empower communities to address their development objectives. It takes time to change behavior and even longer for projects to grow and make a huge change in peoples' lives, but with your help, our PRATICAR strategy allows us to break the cycle of poverty in rural communities.

Also, as you shop for holiday gifts this year, please be sure to visit our cEnSHOP for a variety of alternative gifts that are sure to satisfy anyone. In addition to purses and backpacks from Couro Ecológico, the cEnSHOP also offers a variety of items that have been donated to us, as well as our popular Online Savings Cards for discounts at hundreds of web merchants. And of course, every purchase supports our critical work building self-reliant communities.

I wish you happy holidays, and thank you for your support as we work together to help people help themselves.

Bob Bortner

CEN Founder and Director

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CEN's Approach to Development Sets Us Apart from Many Other Development Non-Profits

by Ben Bernstein and Ian Coleman

Our Approach to DevelopmentCEN empowers communities by strengthening basic skills and habits that pave the way for sustainable development. On top of this foundation are two key components: building vocational and entrepreneurial skills, and overcoming structural barriers such as access to markets and capital. Our progressive, ground up approach helps rural communities break out of poverty's stubborn cycle. See how it all fits together here>>.



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The PRATICAR Learning Approach

by Ben Bernstein and Bob Bortner

PRATICAR Learning ApproachAt the heart of CEN's work is our PRATICAR Learning Approach. In every community we work with, we gather information, design activities, and apply activities in a cycle that is repeated as many times as needed. This approach allows us to create an ongoing dialogue with people so they may learn fundamental skills and habits needed to empower themselves and their community. Learn more>>


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Suruacá Entrepreneurs Support Each Other Through Their New Entrepreneur Group

by Ben Bernstein and Bob Bortner

Suruaca Entrepreneur groupCEN is helping participants from the cCLEAR Pilot Project, as well as other entrepreneurs, establish a group to offer advice and encouragement to aspiring entrepreneurs in the community. Participants will meet twice a month to discuss obstacles their projects face, brainstorm ways of overcoming them, and share ideas. The group continues CEN's mission of participant accountability, as the group doesn't provide handouts, but a forum for discussion, mentoring and learning. Learn more>>


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The Impact of CENs work is felt by Residents and their Communities

by Bob Bortner

impactBuilding self-reliance doesn't happen overnight. Until now, CEN has primarily focused on creating the tools for building strong foundation for development by strengthening basic skills and habits of a small group of participants in three communities in the Brazilian Amazon. We are addressing one of the root causes of poverty and not just the symptoms.

One of the most significant accomplishments of our work to-date is the development of our comprehensive approach to building self reliance in communities, as well as our unique learning approach called PRATICAR, which sets CEN apart from the work done by many other development organizations.

Over a year after the completion of our pilot of the cCLEAR Program, participants continue to apply the critical-thinking skills, problem-solving habits and other basic and entrepreneurial skills they strengthened during their participation towards building their micro-enterprise projects. They use the income they earn through their new ventures to provide for their family, save a little for emergencies and pay for materials needed to keep operating their micro-enterprise. Our work has also provided many benefits to their communities, such as increasing the number and viability of local micro-enterprises, and building and strengthening local education and infrastructure. As CEN expands into additional communities, establish partnerships with local organizations, and expand the scope of our work, we expect our impact on individual participants and their communities to grow substantially. Learn more>>

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Thank You for a Successful Fall Pledge Drive and Raffle

by Ben Bernstein and Bob Bortner

raffle drawingThank you to everyone who supported our successful raffle, including the Rusty Barn Promotion Group, Inc. for their donated space, Calico Country, and Wendy Wagner, for crafting the quilt. We made nearly $1500 dollars through the raffle and pledge drive. View photos from the drawing.

The fundraiser was a success, but we still need to raise a total of $7500 to reach our goal for the Women's Group Project. In the next couple of weeks we'll be touching bases again for year-end giving opportunities in order both to meet our goal and give our sponsors the maximum opportunity for year end tax deductions. Our tireless volunteers make CEN happen, but without the essential donations from our supporters, our work becomes logistically impossible. We thank you for your continued support! Donate now.

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Upcoming Events ...


Art Display & Benefit Sale - Going on Now!

December 4, 2010 - January  2, 2011
Casa Que Pasa Restaurant
1415 Railroad Av
Bellingham, WA 98225

Come by Casa Que Pasa Restaurant in Bellingham to view a variety of original and print art by Northwest and other artists. Proceeds from any sales will benefit CEN. More Info

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How You Can Help


Looking for Alternative Gifts the Holiday?

Simplify the holidays, and support CEN at the same time.
Visit the CENshop

As you shop for holiday gifts this year, please be sure to visit our cEnSHOP for a variety of alternative gifts that are sure to satisfy anyone. In addition to purses and backpacks from Couro Ecológico, the CEN Shop also offers a variety of items that have been donated to us, as well as our popular Online Savings cards for discounts at hundreds of web merchants.

If you’re looking for a special, meaningful gift experience, consider honoring your loved ones and make a difference in the lives of people around the world at the same time. CEN Honor Gifts don't get returned because the recipient already has one. They're perfect for the person who has "everything" and are sure to bring smiles to the gift recipient and to the faces of those CEN serves. Visit the cEnShop now>>

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CEN is Looking to Expand it's Board


board of Directors

As we grow to service more communities, we're looking to deepen our leadership by expanding the size and depth of our Board of Directors. Service on our Board offers a tremendous opportunity to help mold our programs and strategies, the impact of which will be felt for many years. We are looking for candidates who share a passion and commitment to empowering communities in developing countries so they can develop themselves. Candidates should also have ten or more years of experience with international community development, skills development/education, tourism, product development and/or marketing, fundraising, marketing, organizational development and leadership. Board members are also expected to contribute annually directly or indirectly to the organization, according to their financial ability, 

Please note that we have an urgent need for someone with accounting and finance experience, since our current Treasurer, Lisa Hall, is planning to step down from the board soon.

Board members are expected to contribute a minimum of eight hours monthly and to actively participate in board meetings. If you, or someone you know would like to learn more, please visit the Join our Board Page on our website or contact Bob Bortner for more information.

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Acknowledgments

Editor

Bob Bortner

Contributing Writers

Ben Bernstein
Bob Bortner
Ian Coleman
Frances Walker

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