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Rotarians Take an Insight Trip to Honduras
Category: Microcredit | By Steve, 9-Apr-2019 | Viewed 1299  Comments 0 | Source Jason Weiler
Jay Weiler

Local Rotarians visit Honduras

By Jason Weiler

Abstracted from Newspaper Article

John Gilvesy and Jason Weiler recently traveled to Honduras as representatives from the Rotary Club of Tillsonburg as part of an Insight Trip organized by our cooperating partner, Opportunity International Canada (OIC), to see how funding that has been provided is being used by a local organization to provide microcredit to entrepreneurs. 

This is Jason's story.

In January, John Gilvesy asked our local Rotary Club for volunteers to join him on a Microfinance Insight Trip to Honduras. 

I knew little about microfinance or Honduras, but I was interested to learn more. I came to realize it was an opportunity for a transformative experience in a country with many challenges, not the least of which is economic development. After a discussion with my wife Shelley that evening, we saw this as a great chance to support the club, district and gain better understanding of a very important international project. 

The purpose of this Insight trip was to witness firsthand how organizations receiving funding in Honduras are walking alongside Honduran families in the poorest sectors of society to help them achieve their goals. 

John, who joined Rotary in 1987, was first introduced to the program at a convention, joined a similar Insight trip in 2017 and was inspired to take an active role in the next phase. As the 2018/19 Governor for Rotary District 7080 (which includes 49 clubs and more than 1600 members throughout Southwestern Ontario), John volunteered to be the champion for the next phase (six) of the Rotary Honduras Economic and Community Development (HECD) program. 

HECD is a collection of projects with the most recent phases focusing on microfinance. To date five phases have been completed sending $2.3 M CDN to Honduras. Microfinance provides funding to individuals and businesses that would not typically receive support from Financial institutions, with the goal being to help them develop sustainable businesses and creating holistic change in their lives. The smallest loans can be for as little as $50 USD. Microfinance is facilitated with our implementing organization in Honduras called lnstituto Para EJ Desarollo Hondureno (IDH) with oversight from local Rotary clubs in Honduras. Both OIC and IDH have been our partners over the previous phases. Much more to come on IDH. 

Regrettably, something in the local cuisine caught up with me and I missed out on our third and final day of excursions. The team visited five additional clients in Puerto Cortes and Choloma. The day and trip wrapped up with a review of our activities and some discussions on the next phase of the HE CD program with a look forward to next year's trip and speculation on what further progress will be observed. For the sake of brevity, I have omitted a few organizations and many passionate individuals whose work has help build to the success we witnessed on our trip. 

Reflecting on the trip and some additional research has helped me understand the details of
the program and the impact it is having with those involved, I was able to see firsthand the compassion of the local individuals committed to make a difference and the passion of the Honduran people. It was incredibly fun, educational, and I made strong connections with so many people involved directly and indirectly. Some of those friendships will grow through the years and all of them I will reflect on fondly. 

See the entire newspaper article at:

Jay Weiler:  matchine@gmail.com
John Gilvesy :  jgilvesy@gmail.com

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