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CEN eNewsletter - October 2010                                                               Contact Us

In this issue...

Pledge DriveBack from the Amazon, Bob Bortner previews exciting times for CEN
New project brings capital to rural communities
From the EmpowerBlog: Why basic skills are critical for self reliance
Participant Profile - Nilce Corrêa da Silva explores new markets
Volunteer Profile: Sana Alam
EmpowerBlog - trends and trailblazers in community development
Help CEN help communities - time to support our Annual Pledge Drive!

Letter from the Director

BobOn my visit to Brazil earlier this year, it was great to see firsthand the successes of our cCLEAR pilot project. In the two years since we launched it, cCLEAR has helped locals build their business acumen and develop sustainable sources of income.

There are now a number of quality organizations in the area that have expressed an interest in working with CEN to expand the project, which is great news. Continuing that theme of collaboration, CEN has been asked to contribute our expertise to one of the only microcredit projects in the region. You will find out more about this project here in our newsletter.

This project is an incredible opportunity, and has the potential to be a powerful model for helping residents in the region access the critical funds they need to build their micro-enterprises.

Before we can undertake this important work, we need to raise a modest amount of funds. We are asking CEN supporters and friends, like you, to help us continue to build upon the gains we have made toward reducing rural poverty in the Amazon.

How can you help? Read on, to find out about our exciting Quilt raffle, and how you can be a part of our Annual Pledge Drive Campaign.

CEN is also looking forward to putting into action our plans for establishing an Environmental Coordinator, and a Community Library, in some of the Amazon's most under-served communities.

Then there is the Entrepreneurs Group, where graduates of CEN business development programs are already working with their neighbors to build commercial opportunities and share knowledge and resources. This kind of second generation support is a great example of CEN's goal to promote sustainable, self sufficient and independent communities.

There are exciting times ahead. I hope you continue to stay close to CEN and support our vital work in rural communities.

Bob Bortner
CEN Founder and Director

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CEN joins groundbreaking effort to bring capital to communities

by Bob Bortner

Improving access to financial services is one component of CEN's overall approach to building self-reliance in communities

The inability to access financial services greatly constrains entrepreneurs in the rural Amazon to sustain their microenterprises - they are starved of the resources they need to buy equipment and raw materials. Imagine trying to start a small business in America without banks, lenders or financial investment of any kind - that is the challenge of sustainable development in the Amazon.

Improving access to financial services is one component of CEN's overall approach to building self-reliance in communities.

And so CEN are about to begin working with Brazilian banks and credit agencies in a revolutionary approach to bringing the business benefits of credit into remote communities. Read more.

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cCLEAR Participant Profile: Nilce Corrêa da Silva - encouraging creativity, exploring new markets

by Jake Lynch

Nilce with her husband and their two young children

Nilce is a example of the great successes of the Community Empowerment Network (CEN) cCLEAR program, as well as what else can be done to ensure these gains are long lasting and sustainable.

After a slow start, Nilce soon began understanding the importance of being attentive the market's demands. Within six months she had sold quite a few items, had orders pending, and had organized her supply of materials.

However some of Nilce’s gains have been lost since the end of the pilot a year ago.

As a result, CEN field workers have been inspired to develop support networks beyond the direct engagement - an Entrepreneurs Group, supported by more experienced local entrepreneurs. Read more.

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From the EmpowerBlog: Why basic are so important for sustainable development

by Kelcie Prazan

Instilling core skills and business mindsets empowers participants

When Dona Luciene, a resident of Suruacá, set out to open her own clothing business, she knew there would be countless obstacles standing in her way, such as a limited market and the lack of funds to buy equipment and materials.

But she was able to overcome them thanks to the strong basic skills and mindsets she learned through our cCLEAR Project - a critical foundation for building self-reliance.

While cursory training and resources might give community members some additional confidence, they'll most likely quit when they hit an obstacle for which they don't feel equipped for.

Find out what CEN is doing to create a more resilient entrepreneurial spirit in rural communities at the CEN EmpowerBlog.

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RSS feedSo, what is the CEN EmpowerBlog, exactly?

Why some rural areas continue to suffer the effects of poverty, and what to do about it, is a discussion that rages far and wide, and connects with a disparate range of broader societal issues.

From sociology to economics, ecology to ideology, in the field of community development important studies are being done and stories are emerging from across the globe on what groups like CEN are doing to alleviate poverty in under-served communities.

And you can read about them all in one spot - the EmpowerBlog. Written by experienced CEN staff and contributors, the EmpowerBlog is our contribution to the global discussion of a global problem. Check it out here at www.endruralpoverty.org/empowerblog. Please be sure to leave your comments!

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Volunteer SpotlightVolunteer Spotlight: Sana Alam

Inspired to break the cycle of poverty

by Matthew Freed

CEN volunteer Sana AlamHaving grown up in India, Sana Alam had been exposed to poverty close up, and understood how difficult life could be when the basics were missing.

She sees poverty as a cycle, which continues on throughout the generations, and finds that supporting CEN in its efforts to give knowledge and skill sets to rural communities is a great way to help combat poverty at its roots.

Sana, who works as CEN's Volunteer Coordinator, plays a critical role for CEN by tapping into the vast resource of volunteer energy and finding just the right people to work toward the goal that continues to inspire Sana - alleviating rural poverty.

To read more about Sana, and some other CEN volunteer stars, visit www.endruralpoverty.org.

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How You Can Help

Empowerment works! Help support the next step;

Current prograss

One of the most exciting CEN projects at the moment is a partnership with a dynamic women’s association which serves hundreds of women in several communities. The association operates the only known rotating savings fund in the region, which provides badly needed capitol for members’ projects.

But in order to play our part to help with this critical new project, CEN needs to raise $7,500.

Remember that CEN relies entirely on our supporters to help those in poor, under-served communities become self-reliant and rise out of poverty.

Our Annual Empowerment Pledge Drive - our one big fundraiser for 2010 - runs through November 21. We ask that you PLEASE DONATE today.

As a thank you for your support, we have a range of fun and valuable thank you gifts. To learn more and to donate, go to our pledge page at www.endruralpoverty.org/support.

We thank you for your continued support!

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Win this fantastic Amazonian-Themed Quilt

Win this quilt in our fundraising raffle

Just in time for Christmas, CEN is excited to offer this unique Amazonian-Themed Handcrafted Textile Art/Quilt in our fundraising raffle.

Tickets are just $1 each, with discounts for 5 or more, and proceeds will go directly to evaluating the Rotating Savings Group and Women’s Group projects, and helping local entrepreneurs in the Amazon. For more information or buy tickets click here.

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Jake Lynch

Contributing Writers

Bob Bortner
Matthew Freed
Sherri Burrill
Kelcie Prazan
Audrey Schomer
Frances Walker

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