US & Latin America, Caribbean Remit Program Launched
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WASHINGTON, DC - In what could be a significant boost for California's Mexican immigrant community, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) have jointly launched an initiative to link US-based Latin American and Caribbean immigrant communities with economic development projects in their native countries.
"The pilot initiative will work with one partner group each from Mexico, El Salvador, and Haiti to develop and implement productive activities in their home countries that generate income and create jobs," said a spokesman for USAID in Washington.
"Based on the $32 billion a year that Latin American and Caribbean immigrants send home, USAID recognizes the unique role that U.S.-based immigrants play in the economic stability and growth of their home countries," said Karen Harbert, USAID's deputy assistant administrator
for Latin America and the Caribbean.
According to John Sanbrailo, executive director of PADF, the USAID-PADF initiative "will help local immigrant groups become stronger participants in the region's economic development."
The workshops, he said, " will help local immigrant groups become stronger participants in the region's economic development. Throughout the course of the next year, we will be working with representatives from Salvadoran, Haitian and Mexican groups present to help design, implement and manage productive economic development projects in their countries of origin. We will also build on their experiences in organizing communities in the United States to raise funds and channel them to projects back home."
After the pilot project is established, "training materials and web-based information will be disseminated to the several hundred immigrant organizations in the United States representing communities from all over Latin America and the Caribbean."
Initially, the California-based Organization of Migrants for Ayoquezco (OMA) will work with their hometown to cultivate, process, and market nopal, a cactus commonly used for a variety of foodstuffs in Mexico, while the DC-based National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH) will work with local farmers to develop fruit-tree grafting and seedling projects. In addition, the Virginia-based United Salvadoran Civic Committee (USACC) will work with local agricultural cooperatives in El Salvador to produce and process organic fruits and vegetables for local and international sale.
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