Leadership Development



Linda meeting with the Health and Development CommitteeVolunteer Committees in El Rosario

ACTS continues to focus on the development and maintenance of local leadership and empowerment, without which the achievements in El Rosario and the larger region of Locomapa would not be possible. In El Rosario, several volunteer committees are at work. The overall Health and Development Committee sets the key priorities for the village. The Clinic Committee oversees the operations and finances of the Clinic. The Education Committee governs the Education Center, including the Doctor Dean Biblioteca, and the scholarship program. ACTS has over the years helped to nurture and support these committees. Each keeps track of its own finances and has responsibilities for its area of interest.

Brad and the Micro-bank CommitteeMicro-bank Initiative

New initiatives often spring from these local groups, the micro bank being a notable recent example. The Micro-bank committee was initiated by local leaders, and has been formalized and approved by the government as a local credit union. ACTS contributed seed funds to take on new members and to support a revolving low-interest loan program.

Committees and Communities United

The Health and Development Committee in El Rosario is now mentoring community leaders in small outlying villages. In 2013, a Committees and Communities United Group was established by women from five villages who wanted to share experiences and improve the health in their communities. Initially focusing on eradicating intestinal parasites and diarrhea with hand washing and family latrines, the group moved on to focus on oral hygiene in the schools, and safe handling of agricultural chemicals.

Meeting with area teachers in El Rosario

Teacher training

Mindful of the importance of local empowerment, ACTS has programs that specifically focus on nourishing community leadership. Every year, teachers from New England travel to Honduras to work with and train teachers who come to El Rosario for training.

La Fuerza para el Futuro

Starting in 2009, students and alumni from Dartmouth College have joined with ACTS volunteers to implement a leadership camp for Honduran teens. The camp is known as “La Fuerza para el Futuro” (meaning the “Force for the Future”) or “La Fuerza” for short. The program is a popular annual event that attracts students from regional villages. Many students have attended every year since the program began, and many new students join each spring.

Some students in La Fuerza para el FuturoLa Fuerza teaches important leadership skills such as letter writing, interviewing and public speaking, and stimulates a spirit of social awareness and volunteerism. To that end, every year, members of the camp choose a construction project in a village, such as renovations of a schoolhouse. The students collaborate with each other as they paint walls, replant gardens, and clean litter from the streets. They have also collaborated with other priority programs of the village, such as cancer awareness and oral hygiene. In 2013, Dartmouth alumnae Christine Averill and Juliana Ortego founded partner organization Dartmouth Alumni and Students for Honduras (DASH) to continue operating La Fuerza camps. Over the years it has been a joy to see shy students develop confidence as they channel their creativity in jobs that they enjoy, and to see all students grow in caring about how they can positively impact their communities.