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CEN eNewsletter - March 2012                                                                                   Contact Us

In this issue...

Letter from the Director
From the EmpowerBlog: Create Local incentives to Reduce Illegal Logging
Disempowerment is at the Core of Poverty
Update from our Suruacá Entrepreneur Project
Participant Profile: Salu Assunção da Silva Farias - Basic Skills Come Before Both the Chicken and the Egg
Volunteer Spotlight: Angela Christofferson Helps Revamp CEN’s Website
Upcoming Events: Revenge of the Bellinghamster Trivia Night
How You Can Help
Donate to CEN Follow CEN on facebookFoward this NL to a friend

Letter from the Director

BobIt’s been quite a few months since I’ve had a chance to update everyone on everything that’s going on with CEN. Since our last issue of the newsletter, we’ve been making progress on several projects. Progress with the Suruacá entrepreneurs is picking up. Suruacá resident Djalma Lima, a former participant in our work, has been leading a community initiative to support the efforts of local entrepreneurs to build sustainable livelihoods by encouraging them to share knowledge and resources with each other. For example, just last week Regina Souza began coaching Marilia Santos, a new entrepreneur in the community, on improving her basket weaving techniques. Read more>>

Our partners Eunice Sena and Paulo Campos de Melo have already accomplished many primary goals of the first phase of the Juá Community-based Tourism Project well ahead of schedule. The communities involved in the project have completed a regional development plan, and they have successfully organized a formal association to coordinate regional development efforts. Each of this association’s 10 operational commissions are in the process of establishing priorities for the plan’s many activities. These are huge accomplishments necessary for the successful mobilization of the communities in the region. We are currently in discussion with several potential funders for the next phase of the project, which will focus on the execution of the community development plan that we hope to begin in November. Until then, your support is urgently needed to allow us to take advantage of the project’s excellent momentum. Read more>>

Please don’t miss an essay by our new volunteer Newsletter editor Kelly MacAvaney and myself about the role empowerment plays in overcoming poverty. We believe that poverty is not just a lack of material resources. Poverty is also a sense of political, social, and psychological disempowerment. Therefore, our goals are developed under the notion that empowerment is necessary to overcome poverty. Read more>>  
In this issue we are also pleased to share with you a volunteer spotlight on our website editor, Angela Christofferson, who’s been doing a fantastic job overseeing some great improvements to the site. CEN is entirely staffed by volunteers in the US, and their efforts make our work in Brazil possible. Read more>>  

I would like to thank everyone for your continued efforts in support of CEN and our goal to empower communities around the world. I am looking forward to many more accomplishments this year.

Bob Bortner

CEN Founder and Director

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RSS feedFrom the EmpowerBlog: Create Local Incentives to Reduce Illegal Logging

by Robert Bortner

Care enough to actIn most editions of the newsletter we highlight one posting to CEN’s blog. Please subscribe to receive notification of new postings

Despite reductions in the rate of deforestation in the last 10 years, the Amazon rain forest will still diminish another 40 percent by 2030 if the current rate is maintained. According to World Wildlife Federation Brazil, deforestation and forest fires are responsible for 75 percent of Brazilian greenhouse gas emissions. One enormous obstacle to conservation is that politicians in many parts of the Amazon are extremely beholden to timber and cattle farming interests. Several other forest-rich countries around the world bypass this problem by creating incentives that benefit local officials.  By learning from these policies, Brazil can help get local officials and politicians to support, rather than thwart, conservation efforts. Read More>>

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Disempowerment is at the Core of Poverty

by Kelly MacAvaney and Robert Bortner

Disempowerment is at the core of povertySustainable economic development and social change are difficult because the causes of poverty are complex. Communities and their residents must overcome the disempowerment they face if change is to become sustainable.  By addressing the economic, social, and psychological aspects of poverty, CEN helps empower individuals and the communities in which they live.  Learn more>>

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Update from our Suruacá Entrepreneur Project

by CEN Staff

Suruaca entrepreneur groupThe Suruacá Entrepreneur Project helps participants from our cCLEAR Pilot Project build upon their success in the pilot project. Over the past few months, participants are increasingly sharing advice with each other, which has provided them with needed moral support and greater motivation. As result, the participants are seeing their microenterprise ventures grow. Learn More>>

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Participant Profile: Salu Assunção da Silva Farias - Basic Skills Come Before Both the Chicken and the Egg

by Shelley Loeng

Salu and poultry raising

Salu Assunção da Silva Farias is ambitious, patient and full of self-initiative.  His dedicated perseverance, along with the skills that CEN helped him develop, is helping him past difficulties he encountered in pursuing his dream of raising and selling chickens. Learn More>>

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Volunteer SpotlightVolunteer Spotlight: Angela Christofferson helps Revamp CEN’s Website

by Shelley Loeng

Angela ChristoffersonWith a Masters in Library and Information Science and a background in library technology, Angela Christofferson has been applying her professional skills to CEN’s website as website editor/coordinator since November 2011.  

As an intranet/web developer at The Seattle Public Library, Angela manages the Library’s intranet and plans projects for the Library’s information technology department.  While looking for volunteer opportunities in her off-time, she discovered CEN and was interested in being a part of a non-profit that focuses on “helping people help themselves.”  

As the website editor, Angela coordinates content published on the website and is in regular contact with volunteer writers.  Her biggest accomplishment yet has been updating the What We Do section of the website by changing the navigation, content, and graphics to make the information more accessible and easier to use for first-time users.  In addition, she has found herself learning more about the ideas of empowerment and self-reliance.  Angela’s next goal is to re-design the CEN home page with director, Bob Bortner.

In her own time, as one would expect, Angela lists reading as one of her hobbies.  Another passion is traveling.  Some of the places she has traveled to include Costa Rica, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Greece.  She loves traveling because she has a great interest in learning about different cultures and people.  

Angela’s skills and interests have made her a great asset to the CEN team, so thank you Angela for all of your hard work!

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Upcoming Events ...

The Revenge of the Bellinghamster Trivia Night (Bellingham, WA)

Thursday, April 26th

CEN's Revenge of the Bellinghamster Trivia NightCome join us on Thursday April 26th from 6-8 p.m. at the Bellingham Bar & Grill (aka Downtown Johnny's) for the The Revenge of the Bellinghamster Trivia Night.

Form or join a team (of up to four people) and show off your knowledge about Bellingham trivia.

$9 at the door ALL AGES, drinks will be available for +21 crowd.

Proceeds from the event will go to CEN.

Great prizes for the winners – not to mention bragging rights! Come by for a really fun night.

(For those of you not from Bellingham, WA, a "Bellinghamster" is the name given to Bellingham residents)

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How You Can Help

Help the Amazon Communities Take Control of their Development!

Djalma Lima's Family

Our Community-based tourism program will build the Juá Communities’ ability to guide their own development, rather than simply become bystanders. The project has already made great progress - the communities in the region have successfully organized a formal association and created a regional development plan, and we are currently in contact with several potential funders for the next phase of the project.

But we need your help to keep making progress while CEN works to secure long-term funding for the full project through foundation grants by the end of the year.  The Juá Community-Based Tourism Project - as well as the successful Suruacá Entrepreneur project and Couro Ecológico - have great momentum but need support to keep growing!

CEN relies entirely on supporters like you to help those in poor, under-served communities become self-reliant and rise out of poverty. We ask that you PLEASE DONATE today.

Donate through Paypal

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Are you a Runner (or do you know one)?

Join our Team in the Rock Roll Marathon

Join our team at the Seattle Rock 'n Roll Marathon and Half marathon Saturday, June 23, 2012 

This will be CENs fourth year hosting a team at the Seattle Rock & Roll Marathon. It’s an incredible experience and by joining CEN's team of runners, you will help raise awareness and funds for ending poverty, have access to FREE group training and individual training tips, as well as a cool CEN team t-shirt! If you’re interested in possibly joining our team and want to know more, please e-mail Bob.

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Sign Up for CEN’s Capital One® Visa Card

Your Money Works for You and Helps Us!

Save on foreign transaction fees for international travel

CEN Affinity Credit Card

CEN's Capitol One Credit Card CEN has teamed up with Capital One® Card Lab Connect to bring you specially designed CEN credit cards.  With every purchase, you can help build and expand our programs in the rural communities!

It’s a great credit card too, with low fees and no foreign transaction fees. Learn more>>

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Kelly MacAvaney

Contributing Writers

Andrew Austin
Ben Bernstein
Bob Bortner
Angela Christofferson
Shelley Loeng
Kelly MacAvaney

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