Henna from Monkey Business with a teamentrepreneur from Takomo (?) Valtteri Melkko are right now working in Equador in the Village of Salinas. Here are the first greetings from them from the May 14th:
Ecuadorians are entrepreneurial by nature, and in Salinas they have done nationally appreciated great work in forming co-operatives to help local farmers to export their goods to the local and international markets. Salinas is a very beautiful, mountainish (altitude 3500 meters) village of just 1200 people, but around it there are 10 000 people living in the area. Those who don´t live in the village are extremely poor, just survive but need support to live fine.
Organizations that we work with in Salinas are taking this situation into account by trying to offer education, access to the knowledge and microloans for the local families to grow out of the poverty.
This is why Salinas School of Entrepreneurship was formed here in June 2008 with the help of Finnish coaches and Finnish Ministry of Foreign affairs. In Salinas people have skills as people in Finland do. We can only offer encouragement and knowledge about how to transform skills and will into action and results. This is what we are doing here now with Valtteri from Team Academy and Timo from Finland and from the founding team of Salinas School of Entrepreneurship.
Our goal here is to try to create a sustainable basis for the project since it is so new. In order to do this, we will establish a facilitator team to work on the project and coach this team. This team will then hopefully be able to secure the diverse content of the project as well as the continuity here.
A lot of work is to be done in here still, and the main improvement to do would be improving the education. For example people in normal school in Salinas have studied English for 3-4 years, and when you ask them ”How are you?”, they can answer just ”¿Que?”, ”What?”. Education styles are like they were in Finland 50 years or more ago, based on learning by heart and listening to the teacher giving the knowledge. Team work, interactive learning and own responsibility for learning are very new things in here. What a great field to work – we´re ignited!
After travelling for about 84 hours from Finland through London, New York, Miami and Panama city, sleeping a bit here and there, also spending an evening in New York, we finally arrived to Salinas on Wednesday evening.
Our first impression about Salinas School of entrepreneurship was: what a marvellous work they have done already! On the first night we were welcomed by the whole team of 30 learners and 4 coaches and organizators. They had prepared a program for the night for us to get to know what is going on with the school. I (Henna) also had to speak Spanish for the whole group right away, and it was okay despite the mistakes make all the time. Valtteri and Timo are fluent in Spanish already, and as a team we can manage.