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Los Huertas del Cura - A Community Park Designed By and For the People

imgp2336-2El Instituto de Planeacion para el Municipio de Colima (IPCo), translated as The Planning Institute for the City of Colima, has developed and continues to implement community engagement demonstration projects in the city. These projects form an integral part of the new participatory planning methodology that is increasingly guiding the municipal planning and development process in Colima. This community-based approach emphasizes the importance of "true" participation by community members. Residents, neighbours, community leaders, local youth and children are directly involved in the process, from the outset to project implementation. It is believed that this approach facilitates the development of a sense of ownership and pride in the community, social cohesion and integration as well as highlights the importance of public participation in municipal planning and politics. The first project of this kind, a pilot project of sorts, was lead by a past SCI intern, Emma Cohlmeyer. This preliminary project involved the community-guided re-design for the revitalization of a local historic park, Las Huertas del Cura.

Enhancing Sustainable Milk Production

cuba1This was a one-year demonstration project in Havana Province, in which Canadian dairy farmers shared their experience in herd management with Cuban farmers to increase milk production from sustainable, pasture-based dairy units.

The project doubled milk production at the local cooperative farm (CPA) and, as the project's grass/legume rotational pastures become more established, further production increases are anticipated. This project improved income earned by cooperative members from milk production. Changes made in farm management practices at the co-operative have meant that fewer cows suffer from mastitis, calf pneumonia, or other herd related illnesses, meaning that farmers no longer have to invest in expensive medical care or for the purchase of new healthy dairy cows. The introduction of a women's calf brigade increased the economic value and status of women's work at the CPA. This project won the AMEC Award for Sustainable Development of Natural Resources or Environmental Protection in the 2007 Canadian Awards for International Cooperation.