Campo Amigo 2009
Ecuador Volunteer Program
The primary goal of the project, led by AYUDA and the Fundación de Diabetes Juvenil del Ecuador (FDJE), was to empower and educate youth with diabetes to take a more active role in managing their condition while serving as peer mentors to other children and youth with diabetes. Through increasing the participation and commitment of youth leaders in the Foundation and greater diabetes community, the youth can help improve and facilitate access to diabetes education for the local community and serve as key contacts in the local diabetes support network. As children and youth gain leadership skills, become more educated and motivated to support others, their own overall health sees critical improvement.
AYUDA staff and volunteers travelled to Quito, Ecuador on July 17, 2009 to unite with the Ecuadorian team from the Foundation, where they engaged in a program comprising intensive orientation and training, grassroots provincial outreach missions, and Campo Amigo as the keystone program element. In orientation and training, the volunteer team prepared for medical protocol, honed their leadership skills and developed their youth empowerment strategies. On the outreach missions, their objectives were to offer educational and motivational support to children with diabetes and their families, deepen those families’ connections to the Foundation, and find new children for the camp program. Finally, children with diabetes and the AYUDA and Foundation teams came together at Campo Amigo, which was pleased to welcome 76 children with diabetes and a staff of over 50.
Successes & Achievements
Though Ecuador is AYUDA’s longest continually running program, novelty dominated the experience and there remains ample opportunity for impact. The Foundation has grown to expand its ranks of newly engaged youth leaders, and its staff expanded three-fold this year to a “technical team” of six people working year round to expand the reach and effectiveness of the Foundation. This new investment of its team provided new energy, creative ideas, and deeper community connections. Additionally, Campo Amigo welcomed about 40% new campers, largely as a result of the team’s increased efforts in province missions. Most excitingly, three small teams travelled to Ecuador’s poorest province of Manabi and to Guayaquil, a province typically minimally touched by the Foundation. It was from these two provinces where most campers from Campo Amigo harkened and will remain a target for future missions. At Campo Amigo itself the team proudly expanded its educational programme to divide campers into basic and advanced levels in order to more effectively educate and challenge children from all experiences and backgrounds.
Campers have fun as they learn