Expanding Our Capacities

FWOP promotes a concept of community development and renewal via Four E's: Education, Empowerment, Enterprise, and the Environment. Each article seeks to show how we bring them together. In the USA, ...

Affiliates on the Move for 2017: First Quarter Update!

Get ready for another opportunity to attend FWOP's meeting of the minds at our summit in  Costa Rica at CATIE October 4th - 6th If you'd like to present what your organization is ...

Emerging Initiatives and Success Stories

Southwest Airlines and FWOP Cooperate : Recycling to expand human development Thanks to Southwest Airlines, our first effort is focused on recycling the old leather seats of airplanes. Some dozen sites in ...

Because everybody deserves a future without poverty. FWOP is a 501 (c) 3 non- profit tax exempt organization.

Posted by Miguel Juanez On May - 26 - 2017 0 Comment

2017 FWOP World Summit International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

Welcome! We are ready to begin registration. Please do so by clicking the REGISTER button on the sidebar.

October 4 – 6, 2017 CATIE Campus, Turrialba, CR

Pre-Conference Agenda

Sunday, October 1  – Tuesday, October 3, 2017

All day October 1 – 3, 2017 Experience a guided tour and eco-tourism opportunities with A-Wow project in Curridabat, San José

To learn more visit:  http://www.awownow.org/


Conference Agenda

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

7:00 am to 9:00 am Registration and Reception
9:00 am to 9:30 am Opening Ceremonies

Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim, General Director CATIE

Sylvester Flores, Founder and President of Future Without Poverty (FWOP)

Dr. Eliécer Vargas, MIST Co-Director

9:30 am to 10:00 am Keynote Addresses:

Dr Todd Spinks,  Advisor, Sustainability & Citizenship, Southwest Airlines

10:00 am to 10:30 am Break
10:30 am to 12:30 am Session 1: Enterprise Development, Poverty and Empowerment

Eduardo Villafranca,  President of Reinventing Business for All (RBA)

Case: Hotel Punta Islita

Our Actions Matters  (7-10 minutes per partner)

Sylvester Flores, FWOP President. Business Development via the Ripley Gourmet Tortilla Factory, Ripley Ohio

Dr.Kendall Brune,  Executive Board FWOP /Development Director – Business and NGO partnerships

Carolyn  Wright , CEO – AWOW  and Rotary President- 2016-17, Lewisville Texas

ACTUAR Representative

Deguesew Derese,  International LLC , Dallas- Focus Africa

Dr. Syeda Jesmin, UNTDallas, Micro Loan Programs- Bangladesh Discussion

12:30 pm to 2:00 pm Lunch
2:00 pm to 3:40 pm Session 2: Environmental Promotion, Poverty and Empowerment

MSc Ana Baez, CCT President

Case: Biological Corridors in Costa Rica

Session Chair

2:20 pm to 3:40 pm Our  Actions Matters (7-10 minutes per partner)

Daniel Villafranca, Caminos de Osa

Dr. Maria Suarez Toro, PH.D Centro Comunitario de Buceo Embajadores del Mar, Caribe Sur Costa Rica/MsSc Marianita Harvey Project Beneficios del Mar, Costa Rica

Marianella Franklin, Sustainability Officier, UT Rio Grande Valley
Dr Arthur Lee, Community Health Advocate, Chair , ELAM Advisor Board, Nashville, Tenn.

Whitney Carr, UNT (University of North Texas) Future Without Poverty student chapter, “Denton to Nigeria: Clean Water”


3:40 pm to 4:00 pm Break
4:00 pm to 6:00 pm Session 3: Education for Sustainability, Poverty and Empowerment

Dr. Mario Piedra, Dean Graduate School at CATIE

Case: Graduate programs at CATIE and the UNSDG

Session Chair

Our Actions Matters   (7-10 minutes per partner)

Ishmaels Kabann, Uganda FWOP Kampala

Fernanda Ornelas , SUBIRE – K- 12 schools,  Guadalajara , Mexico –International Coordination, UNT graduate – Business

Dr.K. C. Birenda,  Master of Science in International Sustainable Tourism UNT/CATIE

Dr. Isabel Gutierrez, Prácticas del Desarrollo, CATIE

Brandon Morton, Sustainability Officer, North Lake College, Irving, Texas and Sierra Club Regional Director

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm CATIE´s International Club

Thursday, October 05, 2017

7:30 am to 8:00 am Continental Breakfast
8:00 am. to 5:00 pm Session: Implementation challenges – as real as can be.

Poverty reduction and implementation challenges: keep sharing knowledge but this time about implementation

Experiential CASE:  Rural Tourism in Mollejones of Turrialba. Here, we aims to attract people interested in sharing know-how at the community level. Mollejones is a remote agricultural community lacking traditional tourism opportunities but have found in community-based rural tourism a way to attract a select market. Come to see how the elderly and the young are been support by this initiative.

Experiential CASE: Santa Cruz, the Cradle of the Turrialba Cheese. Here we aims to attract people interested in small scale agriculture and livestock production. We will learn about challenges with appropriate technology, support systems, and community empowerment strategies.

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Parallel events

FWOP Board of Director Meeting

10 year of collaboration – UNT/CATIE

Network of Women for Sustainable Tourism


Friday, October 06, 2017

7:00 am to 8:30 am International Breakfast – prepare for all participants.

CATIE Botanical Garden and Sustainability Educational House

8:30 am to 9:30 am Session: Making FWOP work as a network of knowledge and support

Dr. Eliécer Vargas and Dr. Stan Ingman, Sustainability Educational House and Poverty Reduction

9:30 am to 10:00 am Break
10:00 am to 12:00 pm Our Action Matters – (2 hours for work in groups)- Some initial facilitators  listed below

Group Opportunity for Sustainability Educational House- Schools,  Colleges and Universities –  Dr. E. Vargas, CATIE

Group Opportunity for Costa Rica Network, Southwest Airlines, AWOW, FWOP , CATIE – Christine, Ortega , International Senior Advisor-Community Affairs/Grassroots/SW, Carolyn Wright, CEO-AWOW, Dr.Stan Ingman-FWOP

Group Opportunity for Sustainable Agriculture Cooperation

Group Opportunity for Academic Cooperation- Journals, You Tube Channel-FWOP,  Dr.Iftekhar Amin UNT Dallas, and Arthur Porter, Dallas Designing Dreams ,

Group Opportunity for Community Empowerment- FWOP Advisor Board-Ana Fores and  Andres Pacheco

Group Opportunity for Sustainable Appropriate Technologies Cooperation – Dr.Kuruvilla Johns, Chair, Mechanical and Energy Engineering, UNT. Kevin Peach, Solar Systems, and Tom Benjamin, Executive Board, FWOP,  Greg Ousley, Global Director of Development-FWOP and  Churchill Technology and Sustainable Development Center  – Fulton, Missouri

12:00 am to 2:00 pm Lunch at the Botanical Garden
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm Our Common Future as a Network – Planning our next meetings
4:00 pm to 4:30 pm Break
4:30 pm to 5:00 pm Impact of our conference on poverty reduction
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Closing Ceremonies – Guess speaker (TBA)


After conference opportunities

Saturday, October 07, 2017

All day After conference trips – to be coordinated by Network of Women for Sustainable Tourism

Contact María Suarez Toro, Fundación ACCION YA


Posted by Miguel Juanez On June - 19 - 2017 0 Comment

Ten years ago, Hans Rosling gave this very interesting TED Talk on poverty statistics.  It focuses on fertility changes, family size, economic changes, longevity, rich/poor gap, and poverty reduction across our planet. Topics all of us here at FWOP are passionate about solving.

The Hans Rosling presentation showed decline in extreme world poverty 10 years ago as did recent piece in the Economist on April 1st, 2017. As an appeal to our fascination with youtube, we recommend you check it out as it does a good job of showing the gap between rich and poor in various countries. By exploring various forms of capitalist and socialist economic systems, some with varying levels of democratic political controls,  can all claim some credit for the progress.

The Economist article reflects the notion that it is “possible to imagine a future in which the global poverty rate continues to drop even as poverty becomes more entrenched in a few unlucky counties”.

One of our coalition of affiliates, Dallas Designing Dreams, is contributing to the notion by staying focused on micro strategies to reduce poverty. Take a look.

Dallas Designing Dreams              https://www.custommade.com/by/wwwdallasdesigningdreamsorg/  is a new affiliate in Dallas that provides FWOP with new capacity to assist.


Dallas Designing Dreams provide a model for all our affiliates to expand the number of entrepreneurs, artists and craft persons in this world. Some will develop micro businesses, others may develop large businesses, BUT the goal is the same.


Posted by Miguel Juanez On April - 9 - 2017 0 Comment

FWOP promotes a concept of community development and renewal via Four E’s: Education, Empowerment, Enterprise, and the Environment. Each article seeks to show how we bring them together.

In the USA, a new book attempts to diagnosis the socio-economic challenges men and also women face. The problem areas the book describes mirror places where FWOP is actively working to have a positive impact. Take for example Denton, Texas with its large homeless population of adults and young students, St. Louis with efforts to serve homeless and low income veterans, and in Ripley, Ohio with high number of suicides, overdoses linked to heroin addiction, and lack for employment. FWOP projects make an effort to improve life at the margins.

The book in question, “In Men Without Work” (Templeton Press, Sep 19, 2016), Nicholas Eberstadt, a political economist who holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute, contends that

“There is a huge population of men—one-sixth of all prime-aged men in America—that is not only without jobs, but has stopped looking for jobs altogether. All of this amounts to a hidden time bomb with far-reaching economic, social, and political consequences.

The stock market continues to set new records. Unemployment continues to go down. The United States is now at or considered to be at or near “full employment”, at least according to received wisdom. But, a closer look at economic data by Nicholas Eberstadt reveals something else entirely. While “unemployment” has gone down, the work participation rate—and especially the male work rate—has been relentlessly declining for most of the post-war era and is now reaching a crisis with depression-era levels.”

Therefore, it was no surprise to those who have seen this data that the lack of jobs, soaring income inequality and underemployment faced by the working class were decisive issues. To that effect, we have updates that reflect our understanding of these matters and how we are making a difference.

Nashville, Tennessee

FWOP in partnership with Anthem USA  has recently asked to bring back an assisted living facility that was once in trouble. In two months, wall repairs, painting, fire alarm system updates, kitchen equipment updates, roof repairs and HVAC updates have moved forward in the new facility, renamed as Knowles Home Assisted Living.  This has been accomplished with the help of the City of Nashville, Metro Drug Court System and Tennessee State University. The land has been tilled for a large garden, chairs and tables worth $25,000 have been donated by the Tennessee Titans, men from a drug rehab correctional facility arrived to prepare the garden and clean up the grounds. The City of Nashville opened up its warehouse of slightly used equipment, donating them to Knowles Home.

Nacogdoches, Texas

Marie Coulibay, President of the Ivory Coast FWOP , visited Stephen F. Austin State University and met with Dr. Ann Wilder, Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and her Macro Community Development Class. Marie was able to share her work and explain her plan for the Ivory Coast. This presentation inspired these graduate Social Work students to step up and create an FWOP affiliate student chapter in Nacogdoches. Students involved are planning to work together to determine the goal and direction for the new student group. Initial ideas include supporting Marie’s work in the Ivory Coast, starting an affiliate group in Haiti and creating links to areas of Western Louisiana that have been devastated by flood. Pictured here from left to right are: Raina Caldwell, Farrah Alvarez, Maria Caulibilly, D’nez Bob, Holly North, Kaylee McVee, Patricia Moore, Ryan Hernandez, Angela Davis, Trinity George, Berengere Ross, Lori Murphee, Deeanna Chance and Kristina Irwin.

Since this meeting, the students have decided to create a FWOP student chapter at Stephen F. Austin.  Dr. Stan Ingman from FWOP Board did one orientation session on skype.  Some students plan to attend the Summit in Costa Rica in October .

UNT FWOP Student Chapter in Denton, Texas

Our chapter at UNT has three major goals this spring:

  1. Fund rise for water project in Nigeria in partnership with a local affiliate, Exquisite Water http://www.exquisitewater.org/ this Spring
  2. Sponsor and screen the showing of  Poverty Inc on March 22nd on campus.
  3. Sponsored a seminar on climate change and poverty March 29th in partnership with Climate Change Coalition and UNT Rotaract.

    Officers and members with their advisor and FWOP board member, Dr. Stan Ingman (left).

Stay tuned for updates and be sure to follow UNT FWOP’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/untfwop/



Chapala, Mexico

Corazon de Tierra, UNT FWOP and FWOP, Inc. teamed up to put in clean stoves in a local barrio.

The big news on this project is potential for sustainability. Creation of a local business may help replace old polluting systems of cooking slowly with new modern stoves  in the barrio of Tepehua.

Recently, the process of  installing stoves have allowed a local man to create a small business that replaces stoves at a lower cost. Thus, improving the health of children and adultsas well as improving local economic status of person in the communityhave come together!

FWOP Board Members were recently contacted by a medical group in Texas who knew about the great health care clinics at the Tepehua Centro, and offered us some free medical supplies and equipment. Once again showing how individuals in Texas look out for global health. Donations are planned to be sent south to Mexico in an expedited manner.


Posted by Miguel Juanez On March - 17 - 2017 0 Comment

Have you ever wondered what initiatives have set Denton apart and on a path towards sustainable living?

In the 1990’s the University of North Texas’s Center for Public Service formed partnerships with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Housing and the Department of Urban Development (HUD) to organized a series of conferences. One in particular was called,  “An Aging Planet, An Aging Population, and A Sustainable Future” and was held at UNT and even in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In the early 2000’s, a committee on green building issues was created by three faculty members. The committee invited Dan Fette, a green builder, and Jane Provo, CEO of Denton Affordable Housing to join the committee. As a result of their teamwork, Dan and Jane designed the award-winning Nevada Court “green” housing community in Denton.

Eight homes were built. The monthly energy bill of each house was guaranteed not to exceed $60. Water bills were reduced thanks to water harvesting for all outdoor watering. This showed how lowering energy and water costs were practical ways to reduce poverty among low income families.

Fast forward ten years later, some faculty pushed UNT administration to go green and secure LEED certification on all new construction. Click here to watch a watch a summary of this history.  Unfortunately, UNT has a long way to go to become a national or an international leader in sustainability education and research.

However, the City of Denton is moving toward a more sustainable future. By 2020, the City of Denton will move to have 70% of its electricity derived from renewable sources.

Zero Energy Housing

Dan Fette, a green builder in Denton Texas (https://www.facebook.com/danfettebuildersinc/), has teamed up with the Siti & Jido Park Foundation to create a home for five disabled individuals and one caregiver near the University of North Texas. Each person has their own bedroom with a shared bathroom. They intend to have the home certified under the US Department of Energy’s “Zero Energy Ready Home Program”.


What is the process to become designated as Zero Energy? First, use every practical means to reduce the energy demand for the house, then meet that reduced demand through renewable sources—in this case, it is using sunshine making electricity by means of photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof.

How have they accomplished the goal?

  • Air-tight construction
  • Extra insulation in walls and ceilings
  • A/C ducting running inside air conditioned space
  • high performance windows shaded with deep roof overhangs
  • radiant barrier roof decking,
  • Energy Star rated appliances
  • LED lighting

In addition, a two-duct heat pump water heaters will draw heat from the air, and augment the air conditioning system in summer months. Because of the various energy efficiency strategies, the 3200 square foot house will readily suffice with a 3 ton heat pump.

An 8 kilowatt array of solar panels will produce most of the electricity needed for the reduced load. The facility will remain grid-tied for the rest.  The city of Denton offers an incentive for installing solar panels—Denton Municipal Electric (DME) helps you pay for them. The foundation is in line to receive a rebate of 75 cents / watt to defray the cost of the solar panels.

Denton Businesses Going Green

The Retina Institute of Texas in Denton installed a 10.14 KW solar system on their roof. The DME Green Sense Solar Rebate program make the pay back much faster than in many other cities in Texas. As one physician at the Retina Institute said, “Denton is more supportive of such efforts than Arlington and Dallas”. Some 75% of the Institute’s electricity needs are covered by the solar panels.  In two years over $13,000 has been saved. SWG Energy Inc. installed the system. Driving around Denton you can see numerous businesses with solar panels.  Over time each system will reduce Denton’s reliance on non-renewable sources of energy.

It would be good for our universities and major corporations in Denton to join the drive toward a 100% renewable energy city. Two reasons why some businesses move to Denton is the low cost of electricity and the high proportional of renewable energy according to officials at DME.

We hope this trend continues.

Posted by Miguel Juanez On February - 28 - 2017 0 Comment

Get ready for another opportunity to attend FWOP’s meeting of the minds at our summit in  Costa Rica at CATIE October 4th – 6th

If you’d like to present what your organization is doing to fight poverty, please email Dr. Stan Ingman here with details about your presentation. Drop us a note of your ideas. More detail coming soon on our FWOP Facebook

Arbor Health, St Louis

Arbor Health had a visit from the Priory of St. Louis Veterans Group, who prepared a holiday meal for the residents of Arbor Health. The Arbor Health Foundation, a non-profit, has moved its assets to new organization, entitled Arise Veteran Foundation, so that their work can expand to encompass the broader community of veterans

Recently, FWOP started working with Southwest Airlines to recycle leather seats.  This partnership has helped to create new employment options and craft projects for the residents of Arbor Health. Always Green Recycling based in St. Louis has stepped up to join FWOP to employ residents of Arbor Health (http://www.recyclingcenterstlouis.com/). Three veterans are being trained to be locksmiths (http://www.locksmithofstlouis.com/) and one resident now has a new position as a locksmith.

Zach (MA -Chicago Art Institute) is assisting veterans at Arbor Health to do art work and Yameng (UNT-MS in Applied Gerontology) is expanding menu options and assisting with management. Zach is helping veterans create various products from the used Southwest Airline leather.

In the picture to the right, Zach and his veteran clients at Arbor Health Fund held their first art exhibit.  The leaded and beveled windows that were donated (recycled glass) to the facility and turned into painted stain glass creations.


AWOWNOW has a school for girls in northeast Ghana. The girls are producing many items such as shoes, bags, dresses, etc. to be sold sustainably in markets. To learn more about this initiative, visit www.awownow.org

Posted by Miguel Juanez On February - 10 - 2017 0 Comment

In the Fall of 2016, the UNT student chapter of FWOP (untfwop.org) — under the leadership of Heliana Onomo — raised funds on campus for the Orphanage in Yaounde. They had four main objectives that reflect FWOP’s 4 Es: Enterprise, Environment, Education, and Empowerment. These provide a framework for establishing projects and partnership around the world.

The FACT Foundation was established in the orphanage in 1987 under the leadership of Mrs. Ngo Mawege Celine Marthe. The UNTFWOP student team, with a focus on education, promoted three basic strategies: first, lessons on empowering teachers and students with worksheets on “All About Me” and “Super Girl” coloring pages, which they designed. Second, lessons on business practices (enterprise) and actual students created items for sale, e.g., bracelets, wood tables. Third, they developed environment-oriented lessons, which have major targets — the individual and the community. They focused lessons on hygiene, disease prevention, and physical exercise as well as recycling and trash reduction.

The non-profit organization — Comeover 2 — implemented the program at the orphanage.

Posted by Miguel Juanez On October - 27 - 2016 0 Comment

Southwest Airlines and FWOP Cooperate : Recycling to expand human development

Thanks to Southwest Airlines, our first effort is focused on recycling the old leather seats of airplanes. Some dozen sites in Texas, Missouri and Virginia are exploring how the discarded leather can be used  and “upcycled”, that is, create new uses for the leather.

A middle school in Dallas, the Advanced Technical Center in Denton, the UNT Fiber Collective, an arts program in Dallas, a private women’s bag company in Dallas, a 4 H Center in Virginia, and finally, Arbor Health rehabilitation with many veterans in St. Louis have so far agreed to cooperate.

Arbor Health with its strong art therapy focus and the garden program in partnership with Home Depot and Monsanto has been working with glass, murals, leather and metal to create products designed  by veterans and others. Printing 4 Vets is  a small business created to provide some jobs for residents at Arbor Health.  Recently the residents  started  to create wallets out of leather. As you can imagine, they were very excited to receive used leather from Southwest Airlines.

A retired Marine has joined Arbor Health team to expand the initial initiative. He is the founder of Always Green Recycling whose goal is to hire residents, help them gain independence, and hold down a job.  He has agreed to store the leather seats and recycle the foam and other bi-products from the seats — approximately 26 pallets of leather– once they are shipped to St. Louis later this month (October).

Always Green

Their plan is to break the seats down into workable pieces, then distribute them to other FWOP affiliates,  keeping  some for their artwork,  and using some for re-purposed leather goods that can be sold.

Posted by Miguel Juanez On September - 29 - 2016 0 Comment

Frisco, Texas —   FWOP Associate and RecruiterGreat job, Mr. Marsh! , John Marsh works at McDonald’s recruits FWOP affiliates and members in Texas and in our region. He recently received an Award for his outstanding work at McDonald’s in Frisco. Mr. Marsh is considered a role model for his focus on quality, service and cleanliness, the company noted in a news release. “John works the drive-thru and has a smile and a kind word for everyone.”

Great job! John, thank you for doing such an excellent service in representing FWOP and McDonald’s well. Keep it up!

Uganda FWOP

Some four years ago four solar lamps were overview-of-fwop-network-1distributed to four single mothers or grandmothers with children to open the door to Uganda. In 2014, Ishmaels Kabann Kahanaukye, founder of Uganda FWOP Chapter,  distributed 40 solar lamps in western Uganda  to senior citizens. Recently 400 solar lamps were distributed by FWOP Uganda. Picture below shows how difficult it was to visit the remote villages in western Uganda near the Rwanda and Tanzania border.

Here is the Presidentoverview-of-fwop-network-3 of Uganda FWOP (Ishmaels Kabann Kabanaukye) wearing a blue jacket. He was providing an explanation of how the lamps operate, how students can save money, energy, how they be able to do their homework, and how they do less harm to the planet by avoiding kerosene, a bio-carbon source of energy.

Jakarta , Indonesia

In Jakarta, XSProject, with support from the UNT FWOP affiliateoverview-of-fwop-network-4distributed  21 portable solar lamps to the middle and high school students living at the Cirendeu trash picker community. XSProject is  currently raising funds for a second order of 55 more solar lamps to distribute to the elementary school students. The students not only use their lamps for studying, but also for safety when they are walking home in the dark.  If you would like to donate to this project you can do so by clicking here

Posted by Miguel Juanez On August - 19 - 2016 0 Comment

Global warming has raised global sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges. A Climate Central analysis finds the odds of “100-year” or worse floods occurring by 2030 are on track to double or more, over widespread areas of the U.S.

Across the country, nearly 5 million people live in 2.6 million homes at less than 4 feet above high tide — a level lower than the century flood line for most locations analyzed. And compounding this risk, scientists expect roughly 2 to 7 more feet of sea level rise this century — a lot depending upon how much more heat-trapping pollution humanity puts into the sky.

Miami and St. Petersburg, Florida, New York City, various Islands across the worlds oceans, Holland, Bangladesh and many other places are seriously considering what should be their strategies to adjust to rising seas. All the while, debates between scientists and climate deniers continues in the background [source].

On a personal note, in 1963, I was a volunteer (one month training in engineering with degrees in botany and rural sociology) with the International Voluntary Service. I entered in a partnership with USAID, Social Conservation Service and the Algerian Forestry Service.

The newly formed government challenged my team and I to stop the Sahara Desert from moving farther north, that is, stop the desertification of northern Algeria. As a 26 year old at the time, an optimist, I thought about the request and wondered what steps could be initiated to stop the desertification process from the base in Tlemcen, Algeria. We planted some 30 thousand trees with 3000 Algerian refugees from the civil war per year. Unfortunately, because of the military takeover of the government, the project lasted only 3 years.

Slowing down climate change by moving to a non-carbon economy would appear to be necessary. It does seem adjusting to forced relocation of coastal populations around the world will need to be addressed, regardless. Recently the Financial Times reported that in the last five years, renewable energy use has jumped 70%, a good shift away from fossil fuels. (August 14, 2016). Some good news, but fossil fuels still dominate the energy sector.

Let us focus on Louisiana and the struggles of the Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw band.

Plenty International is working with Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw band. As the Gulf of Mexico is rising, the water is slowly eroding the coastal land. See snapshot from Rebecca Ferris’s documentary “Can’t Stop the Water” below.

Sea Level Rising

They have also been involved in the BP oil disaster which happened in the waters where the Choctaw live and fish. They were also exposed to millions of gallons of high levels of toxic dispersants that were sprayed to sink the oil.

Plenty International has been working with this tribe since Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Rebecca Ferris’s documentary “Can’t Stop the Water”, a 30-minute film, does an excellent job telling the story of the Island Tribe and all that they are up against with the rising waters and exposure to hurricanes. The film can be purchased for $4.99 as a one-time rental or for $10.99 to buy as a download for continuous watching. Click here to visit the website for more information.

climatechange-post-3 climatechange-post-2 climatechange-post-4

Isle de Jean Charles is one Island that is sinking quickly and the people  on the island have been granted federal funding to move inland to higher ground.

Pointe-Aux-Chenes is on a peninsula experiencing flooding also and is stable at the moment but eventually will have to confront similar issues as the water continues to rise.

Two other locations to review the impact of climate change are the Chesapeake Bay, where islands have vanished due to rising sea levels and where other are being reduced in size. [Source]

The other location is the coast of Florida, where anti-climate change ideology is dominating the legislature in Florida. As a result, many Mayors of Florida’s coastal cities do not find much support for discussions on how the state can assist them. However, the shift from anti-climate change to climate change positions undertaken by costal Mayors indicates the seriousness of the matter.

All of this goes back to the title of the post. Are we experiencing an ecocide?

Jared Diamond (2005) in his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail and Succeed, points to many reasons why societies decline and die historically, not all by “ecocide”. He writes about five major factors:

  1. climate change
  2. hostile neighbors
  3. collapse of friendly trade partners
  4. environmental damage
  5. society’s response to its environmental problems.

Climate change may or may not be slowed down.

Are the US and the world going to respond with wise choices and action? Or not?

Perhaps in some small way, the FWOP network can support Plenty International as it assists the Biloxi Chitimacha Choctaw band on the Southern Louisiana Coast adjust to relocation and climate change. The time is now.


Stan Ingman, PhD. University of North Texas 


Posted by Miguel Juanez On June - 19 - 2016 0 Comment

Updates from India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Uganda and Nicaragua

Our new affiliates and new FWOP Chapters are moving forward toward sustainability in many different ways.  ‘Creative interdependency’ may be a good moto for the link between FWOP and our network. Empowerment local initiative, Enterprise development, Education for youth, and Environmental clean-up and preservation  need to converge to promote sustainability  for children, widows, young women, trash pickers, elders, and the poorest among us.

Nasik, State of Maharashtra, India

A-WOW (www.awownow.org) is focused on girl and women empowerment in nine countries. Recently, the Founder and CEO  of AWOW, Carolyn Wright,  was in India opening up a store in Nasik to market quilts and other products produced by widows in rural areas of the State of Maharashtra.


AWOW also  conducts a Global Young Women Leader -Summit  for women 18 to 24 years old in Dallas on July  24th to August 4th.  One or more young women managing the store will attend.  Planning is moving forward to establish an on-line store to market the quilts as well as items from Mexico, Indonesia  and other locations.







Indonesia – Trash Pickers Create New Business Options and Schools for Their Children

XSProject.org ( http://xsproject-usa.org/  )  based in Denton and in Jakarta.   There are some 450,000 trash pickers living in communities in a city of 13 million.  In addition to creating schools, they are working on clean water projects to improve their family health.  Solar Lamps from FWOP solar initiative will arrive in Jakarta in May to see how they may assist children to study in the evening. 

Below is a statement of XSProject ‘s Mission, and a photo of the school they have established for the children .











June 19 post4








Above is photo of the water project XSProject has created by selling items created from trash.

Ivory Coast FWOP New Chapter on the Move!

Ms. Marie Coulibaly, President Ivory Coast FWOP, will soon travel home from Denton.  Her team received twenty solar lamps some months ago to establish a pilot project in the Capital of Ivory Coast , Abidjan and in a village in the western mountains of Ivory Coast .  Recently, they distributed four lamps in Abidjan to experiment and see how best to establish solar lamps enterprises.   Some NGOs have exploited people and trust in Abidjan is weak.  Marie’s team has a group of young women ready to move forward. The solar charger for cell phones may suit urban Abidjan better.   The four families who received lamps are becoming FWOP-solar lamp sales persons and promoters!






Photo of Family in Abidjan receiving a solar lamp from Ivory Coast FWOP team

Uganda FWOP

Some six months ago, the President of Uganda FWOP, Kabann Ishmaels distributed 40  lamps in western Uganda.  An affiliate of Uganda FWOP and FWOP, “ RUDEP” , in the Ntungamo District in western Uganda  supplied funds for  400 solar chargers to power up cell phones.  In April, these lamps will be handed out.

In 2012,  UNTFWOP students distributed solar lamps to four single mothers with children.

Single Mother in Uganda with five children  receiving a solar lamp in 2012


Nicaragua – Educational Center Goes Solar!   

Harvest Initiative  is a faith-based affiliate in Nicaragua focusing on education and community development.  Field personnel from HI provided design and installation services for Opportunity International’s upscale Pacaya Lodge and Spa.  The 20 kilowatt grid tied systems will provide energy for the 26 room eco lodge where students enrolled in sustainable tourism curriculum at the nearby Entrepreneurial High School will get hands-on experience in a working five star hotel.  Harvest Initiative is pleased to have been involved with this major effort in asset based community development. Long term, 10% of the profit from the lodge will be directed to sustain that Entrepreneurial School.

Recently their partner built an upscale Eco-Resort, 20 minutes from The Colonial Town of Granada .  Some 10% of the profits will benefit local projects that the Harvest Initiative support in education and in community development.



Education: The need for education in Nicaragua is overwhelming. 35% of all school age children are not in school. There are many reasons for this staggering reality.  To meet that need  Harvest  is dedicating a large amount of time and resources toward primary and secondary education.  The Christian schools founded and operated by their mission have grown from one school in 1999 with 15 children to three schools with a combined registration of 780 students.

Because the schools are located in very poor neighborhoods they are also centers of safety from violence and thus, the school is a place for the children to learn. Often the children come from very poor and even violent home situations.

At the San Benito school alone this year, two families with five of their students have had parents murdered,  leaving the children in the care of neighbors and grandparents.  In these critical situations the concerns of the staff at the school goes beyond education, and thus, the school attempts to provide food and medical assistance.

Community Development: Unemployment in Nicaragua is around 35%. This country abounds in resources but ignorance, greed, political division and lack of vision condemn a vast majority of Nicaraguan to subsistence living. In the cities this results in all the problems that drugs and gangs engender.

In the rural areas land disputes, alcoholism, and family strife bring misery to many. To address these realities,  Harvest undertakes community development projects to help communities organize to remove obstacles to the use of their own resources.  A community must become good stewards of what they have before they can wisely use help from outside.

One of the largest ongoing projects currently is the distribution of food under a program – Kids Against Hunger. Their team deliver 48,000 meals each month to 25 different ministries.  Local churches, schools, and feeding centers with Nicaraguan volunteers prepare and serve the food to an estimated 3200 of the neediest children and elderly.

Over the years they have completed 12 water projects benefiting over 3000 people in 10 communities.  Small business seed money is another development activity. This can be a loan of seeds and fertilizer to farmers or Valeria Lopez’s work in Managua with a ten member sewing cooperative. The cooperative pays decent wages to women, many of whom can no longer sew fast enough to meet the quotas demanded in the sweatshop factories that ring the capital.

Drawing on the strengths of their team, over the years they have worked also in bio-gas and wind energy, boat building, machinery importation.

Harvest is also working on the Atlantic Coast tribal area that covers to 19 communities along the Prinzapolka River Basin in Eastern Nicaragua . The area’s 22,000 inhabitants and  comprise Nicaragua’s poorest district.  The majority of the tribes-people live barely above a subsistence level.

Two special initiatives in the region need to be mentioned:  Cleft palate surgeries improving childrens lives! And Teaching computer skills for a better a life!