From July 12 to 14, 2022, the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC) held in El Salvador, a meeting of Young Leaders of Central America and Mexico, as a closure to the virtual leadership course held in the course of 2020.
The meeting began with welcoming remarks from CLAC´s CEO, Xiomara J. Paredes, who encouraged young people to develop their leadership skills in favor of their organizations and communities. During the three days of the meeting, the young people participated in training, dynamics and discussions organized by CLAC staff in order to reinforce the concepts studied during the virtual training, facilitate the exchange of experiences on the application of that knowledge and share the challenges of its implementation within organizations.
EXCHANGE OF EXPERIENCES
During the sessions held, topics such as: inclusion of gender, youth, generational, organizational work and communication were addressed, sharing their experiences on these issues with the aim of emphasizing the strengthening of leadership and intergenerational and interregional ties in the different organizations.
“It is a tool that has been given to us so that we can develop our work in the organizations, and I think it provides us with the knowledge to be able to do our bit, and to be able to take this knowledge to small producers and have our organizations more developed” said Genier Hernandez, from Guatemala.
While Leonor Lopez, from Mexico, said that “it is a great experience to share our stories, from our organizations, where we exchange experiences, and take advantage of knowledge and wisdom from different places and regions. In addition to the stories, I take with me tools that we learned in the course to formulate projects from our organizations, attending to the needs of the partners”.
For his part, Darwin Castro, from Nicaragua, stated “we have a challenge as an organization, as producers, and we have the opportunity to run into organizations that have already come a long way, which makes the learning curve short, for those of us who are still in the initiation process, as we face these challenges”.
From theory to practice
“Thanks to this, we started a youth and women’s movement in our cooperative, we have organized ourselves a little more,”said Reinel Ábrego, from Panama.
“Thanks to CLAC, because through them we have been able to get this training, which perhaps in organizations is not always possible, you cannot always have something extra as an organization, but CLAC has helped us to get this training that has been very helpful,”said Glenda Reyes, from El Salvador.
Thanks to the knowledge acquired in the virtual leadership course, the organizations that were part of the training have launched some actions aimed at strengthening the participation of their membership and moving the concepts studied from theory to practice.
“From the course we feel practically challenged to form a youth commission and a women’s commission in our small organization, and now it is already working, so I think it is the result of this course, of this training, and we are already executing it in our cooperative”, explained Genier Hernandez
During the meeting of Young Leaders of Central America and Mexico, CLAC delivered the diplomas corresponding to the virtual leadership course, held in 2020, in recognition of the commitment and valuable contributions of the young participants.
Reinel Abrego pointed out that “being a leader is to be trained or made through the path, understanding those difficulties for some and needs also for others, and putting it more in line with what is sought or is to be achieved within an objective. A leader is the one who drives each one to be a better person and not stop trying.”
Tree Challenge campaign
“The Tree Challenge campaign that CLAC has started is very important, because we as young people have to rescue, or put a little seed, so that our Planet Earth can change and we can be able to make a difference by planting a tree,”said Josué Cruz, from Honduras.
The young people also enthusiastically joined the Tree Challenge campaign, #PlantingForTheFuture, for which they planted 27 trees in the ATASI Cooperative, an organization that is part of the membership of CLAC in El Salvador.
“The message is to plant a tree, but above all the idea of planting the responsibility of the current generation to leave a good legacy to our new generations,” stated Darwin Castro.