November is election time in Honduras too—not only for political office, but for the Board of Directors of Manos Amigas as well. Roberto Hernandez, the incumbent mayor and local businessman, is running for re-election in La Entrada. Prior to holding elective office, Roberto was the president of the Board of Directors for Manos Amigas.
Seldom does a mayor get re-elected for a second term. But word in the community is that he has been highly effective and he is deserving of a second term. Bob Sumner, Mike Tysowsky, and clinic staff were recently invited to tour the newly constructed municipal building which, in addition to housing the mayor’s office, is also the location for the various local governmental offices, municipal departments, and civil advisory boards in the community. This is the first time that all of the respective offices are located in a single building.
The new building is a magnificent, modern glass structure that was erected on an expanded parcel of property adjacent to the previous municipal building location. There are ample rest rooms, a luxury, modern board room and expansive terrace with views of the town, all appropriately equipped to host large gatherings and civic meetings. The mayor even has a private lavatory and executive washroom in his office. On the main floor, in the central corridor of the building, is a specially lit alcove that features a Mayan stone carving from the ruins at Copan, that serves as a cultural reminder to the populace of their heritage and the early rulers of this geographical region.
Our partner, Manos Amigas, prompted by new national regulations issued by the current presidential administration in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, was required to re-register as a Honduran Non-governmental Organization (NGO), if it wanted to retain its foundation status. With the end of 2012 quickly approaching, this was a good time for their Board to re-examine it goals for the next 12-18 months and to re-energize its Directors. It is also the first time that the national government asked for a review of the financial records of all foundations as some of the previous NGO’s were operating beyond the limits of the law. There are more than 10,000 NGOs in the country and this new administration is intent on culling the bogus organizations through on-site visits, inspections, examination of records and meeting of principal officers.
Manos Amigas has a new Board of Directors led by Marcos Cartagena Ortiz (Back row left), who is serving his second term as president with support from eight additional members who form his executive team.
The Board meets at the clinic to address the issues confronting the foundation, clinic staff and the new requirements of NGO re-registration. Manos Amigas is in the final stages of re-registration, having completed all of the required submissions, passed its inspections and on-site governmental visits and now must submit its financial records within the next six months in order to gain final certification of NGO compliance.