So far 2013 has been a very important year for CUDA. It has been year of ups and downs, a year of consolidation, adjustment, innovation and vision-casting. The year has also had its fair share of uncertainty, scrambling for solution, going-back-to-the-drawing-board, and prayerful seeking for guidance. I guess, when I put it that way, it’s been like most years in our NGO’s short history. However this year has seen some very special things happen. Things whose ramifications will be felt (and appreciated) for years to come.
First, we’ve reached a milestone in our bid for validation from the Peruvian government. We have received authorization from Peru to operate as an NGO offering technical expertise in development programs. CUDA now has its own business ID number, can officially formalize contracts and other documents with government and business entities, and can obtain visas for volunteers and workers, among other things. This was one of our primary goals for the year and it feels good to have all of this finally taken care of, though it in no way means we are done dealing with the government.
Then, once the government officially recognized us as a foreign NGO operating in Peru we had to begin the process of having our projects officially approved. To do this required a partnership with a local organization, government or otherwise, to execute the program. You may have seen the update on our Facebook page but a few months ago we signed an agreement with the regional Ministry of Education validating the Living Library program, giving us official government backing and support. Having this project approved means we can also begin to request visas for our volunteers and project collaborators instead of having to use other organizations to acquire our visas.
In regard to the vision of the organization, the potential for growth in the library program has spurred us into finalizing our NGO’s 5-year plan both for itself as an organization and for each project specifically. Forming these plans is beneficial not just from a strategy standpoint but from a fundraising standpoint also. For example, once planning/dreaming began for the library it soon became evident that the program had vast potential for growth and a need for formal funding. To that end we have begun to send letters to grant-makers detailing the program and its needs. Be in prayer for this process as we would like to push for significant growth in the program in 2014 but need the funding to come through to make it happen.
One last new development to share with you this month is that plans are in motion now to begin sending CUDA Coffee to the US in larger quantities with the goal of establishing consistent, substantial monthly sales. We know that many of you have purchased a bag or two when we’ve managed to bring it back with us and appreciate your collaboration. With greater availability we think many of you, and others, will decide to make CUDA Coffee your regular in-house coffee. As always all profits go to the NGO and its work in Arequipa. We hope to be selling coffee full-time by December.
We are continually grateful for you, our stateside supporters. We depend on your FB Likes, your Twitter retweets, supportive comments while on furlough, micro-loans made, books donated, monthly and random donations, and prayer. Put plainly we wouldn’t be here now with you. Thanks for being there for us now and for making us confident of our ability to continue our work into the future.
Library Event with Ministry of Education [Facebook gallery]