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CEN eNewsletter - May 2010                                                                  Contact Us

In this issue...

Letter from the Director
From the Empowerblog: What is Empowerment?
cClear Participant Profile
Why Self-Reliance is So Important?
Volunteer Spotlight: Kelli Paull
How You Can Help

Letter from the Director

BobIt’s been a busy several months since our last CEN eNewsletter! At the end of 2009, we finished the pilot phase of our cCLEAR program, in which we successfully created and tested a novel and effective methodology for helping individuals in traditional communities build and strengthen the skills and mindsets that will serve as a strong foundation for successfully leading community initiatives, including the building of sustainable livelihoods.  

The development of the methodology, which we are calling PRATICAR, is a tremendous accomplishment because it’s a powerful tool for tackling one of the most pervasive and enduring obstacles to sustainable community development by building self-reliant communities.  

The development and testing of the PRATICAR is only the beginning of our work. In order to achieve our vision of empowering communities around the world to break the cycle of poverty, we must reach many more communities. We will also build upon the critical foundation the basic skills and mindsets provided by PRATICAR through collaboration with communities, government agencies, NGOs and businesses to strengthen the access to markets, capital, and a wide range of services and resources that are also needed to allow those living in the communities to build sustainable livelihoods for themselves. We are now finishing the documentation on the pilot and aggressively pursuing grants and other funding opportunities in order to reach more communities. 

In this edition of the newsletter, please be sure to read a posting from our blog, the Empowerblog, about what we mean by the term “empowerment” and why self-reliance is so central to our approach to development. At CEN, we believe that giving charity is just another way of saying; I don’t believe you can do it. We are motivated by a vision of a world where individuals everywhere are empowered to achieve their own goals. 

Thank you all for your continued support. Your support makes our progress possible! 

Bob Bortner
Founder and Director

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From the Empowerblog

What is Empowerment? 

by Woody Ciskowski
Rosivania Costa - cCLEAR Participant

I used to roll my eyes at the word “empowerment”. I’ve seen “empowerment” used so many times in different contexts, that it seemed like a meaningless buzzword. Most people have a vague idea of what empowerment means; but specific questions— like how empowerment differs from self-reliance, or if empowerment is a process or a goal— are tough. So, what does the Community Empowerment Network actually mean by “empowerment”? How does that definition influence our actions? Read More

Subscribe to CEN's Blog Subscribe to CEN's Empowerblog

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cClear Participant Profile Rosivania Costa dos Santos - Clothing

by Alicia Craven
Rosivania Costa - cCLEAR Participant

Location: Suruacá 
Challenges: Discipline, Persistence, Awareness to see beyond what she was lacking Accomplishments through cCLEAR Pilot: 
·  Increased her network of places to sell 
·  Significantly improved her management of inventory and raw materials 
·  Earned nearly R$200 (US$108) just from existing materials 
·  Learned to incorporate additional family members to produce products. 
·  Was able to demand a 50% deposit for commission of new pieces, which improved working capitol 
Project Goals: To develop a family business to market goods within the community, to other communities and in the city Santarem.  

Like many women, Rosivania Costa dos Santos, one of the participants in CEN’s cCLEAR Pilot Project, struggled to balance the demands of family and work. As a mother, full time teacher at the local school in her rural Brazilian community of Suruacá, and caretaker to her parents and three brothers, Rosivania was already juggling a dizzying number of titles when she decided to add one more to the list: small business owner. 

As a participant in CEN's Pilot project, Rosivania launched her own sewing and clothing project, marketed her wears to surrounding communities, and expanded her self-started business model. Read more about Rosivania's successes....

Read More cCLEAR Participant Profiles

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Why Self-Reliance is Important for Sustainable Community Development

by Kelcie Prazan

pursePerhaps CEN’s most central guiding principle is the idea of self-reliance. But what is “Self Reliance” and why is it so important when crafting long-term sustainable development strategies? Self-reliance is defined by independence. It is the ability to think and act without the help or influence of others, the ability to decide what you should be and do. The Community Empowerment Network (CEN) believes self-reliance is vital for residents in developing countries to successfully govern their own lives and economies. 

When people rely too heavily on outside influences—even supposedly benevolent players, such as government agencies and non-governmental organizations—they relinquish control of their resources and more importantly, their future. CEN is working to break this dependency cycle by empowering individuals in Suruacá to become self-reliant, pursue their own agendas and run their own independent, sustainable economy.  Read More

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Volunteer SpotlightVolunteer Spotlight: Kelli Paull: 

The Face Behind CEN’s Facebook Page 

by Matthew Freed
Kelli Paull - CEN volunteer

Kelli was born and raised in Montana, where she was instilled with a strong work ethic and sense of social responsibility. She has been active as a volunteer for years, first in soup kitchens and assisted living homes during high school, and then as a mentor while studying at Montana State University. She has also been involved in a variety of fundraising activities, such as Race for the Cure.

While in college, Kelli participated in a Social Psychology research lab and saw how stereotypes and discrimination can impact an individual’s potential for success. So when she moved to Seattle last year, the more she learned about CEN’s mission of empowering individuals to become self-reliant, the more CEN’s work genuinely resonated with her.

As CEN’s Social Networking Lead, Kelli is responsible for forming the organization’s social networking strategy. This has her building a team of volunteers, increasing our Facebook presence to over 350 fans, as well as expanding CEN’s Blog, the EmpowerBlog. Her team is also working on creating a presence on LinkedIn, in order to increase awareness of CEN. Her management of the social networking team has made the organization more effective, allowing us to accomplish much more. She is doing an amazing job, and was recently nominated for the United Way MVP Award.

We look forward to the good things Kelli is doing to help empower rural communities to reach their goals. Thank you, Kelli!

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How You Can Help

Support our Team in the Rock & Roll Marathon 

Join Team CENA team of CEN volunteers is running in the Rock & Roll Marathon Seattle on Saturday, June 26th. Many on the team will be setting personal best goals, but everyone on the team shares the goal to raise $5,000 to support CEN. We need your help to meet this goal and hope that you can join us in taking steps to end poverty!. Will you join our efforts to end poverty?  For more details and to pledge online click here.

Handcrafted Art-piece table are Looking for a Home

Handcrafted TableWe have an exquisite tables available which was handcrafted and donated by a CEN supporter.

It is a gorgeous wood table crafted entirely from recycled wood by Juggernaut Woodworking on Camano Island, WA. The piece is entitled "Laughing While on Fire" and measures 25 1/2" x 25 1/2" and is 17 1/2" tall. The artist displays most of his work at Area 51 in Seattle and typically run $400 - $800 . We are asking $300.

If you’re located in Western WA or BC, we can arrange to have it delivered. We can also ship worldwide. Please let me know if you have any questions, or would like to come by to see either piece.. More photos

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Bob Bortner
Christina Bell

Contributing Writers

Alicia Craven
Kelcie Prazan
Matthew Freed
Woody Ciskowski

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