For far too long, global development has been dictated by those who believe that economically deprived communities are simply incapable. We argue the contrary. The Las Mercedes Project is an international nonprofit organization that collaborates with communities in Latin America to assist them in developing “from within.” Our mission is to collaborate with marginalized communities, such as the community of Las Mercedes in Ecuador, to help them implement their vision of development and progress. In other words, we don’t work “in” the community but “with” the community as a fellow collaborator to facilitate sustainable community development.
In Las Mercedes, the people are economically poor but they possess incredible intelligence, an unparalleled work ethic, and most important, hope for the future. We believe that residents can direct community resources better than any outside organization or governmental agency. Therefore, our role as a nonprofit is to build opportunities for residents to unleash their collective capabilities by providing training, resources, and skills to help community members implement their solutions to community problems in a manner that reflects their culture, values, and diverse perspectives.
In 2013, we will inaugurate a community health center in Las Mercedes and to continue moving toward our goal of eliminating infectious diseases, we are now embarking on a collaborative project with community members, the local government, and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) to build a drainage system in Las Mercedes. The drainage system will eliminate standing water during rainy season reducing the threat of the spread of malaria and dengue fever, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. To complete the drainage project, 151,000 bricks are necessary for the canals. We have committed to purchasing 100,000 of these bricks as our contribution and we hope that you can help us reach our goal by making a donation today. Our organization is entirely volunteer-based and every single dollar that you donate will be used to purchase the bricks not for overhead or administrative costs. Thank you for your interest and support!