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MEMORADUM OF UNDERSTANDING

Placement of Graduate Students and Faculty from


the Monterey Institute of International Studies
into Programmatic Elements of
La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa – Asociación Mangle

BACKGROUND

The Monterey Institute of International Studies strives to prepare professionals capable of


addressing global challenges through the cultivation of concrete professional skills, the broadening
of language proficiency and development of cultural competency. La Coordinadora del Bajo
Lempa advances processes of sustainable development by consolidating the organization and
capacities of rural communities in the Bajo Lempa and Bay of Jiquilisco regions of El Salvador.
Since January 2007, students and faculty from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and
personnel of La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa have been working together to advance sustainable
development goals in these rural communities. Originating from a student-led initiative facilitated
by the Foundation for Self-Sufficiency in Central America, this ongoing cross-cultural exchange
has been aimed at improving and diversifying program delivery within both institutions, in order to
more effectively fulfill the growing needs of their respective constituents and communities. The
following Memorandum of Understanding outlined and subscribed to by both entities provides the
framework to advance the professional exchange, based on principles of open dialogue, cultural
understanding, collaborative endeavors, and self-sufficiency.

The following has been mutually agreed upon by the signatories, to be administered and assessed
on a periodic basis by La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa and the Monterey Institute of International
Studies, and implemented by Asociación Mangle and the Graduate School of International Policy
Studies. La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa, a participatory decision-making body currently
representing ninety two rural communities and their families, develops a strategic plan on an on-
going basis and coordinates the technical expertise of Asociación Mangle. A non-profit
organization, Asociación Mangle executes the shared vision of these communities embodied in the
strategic plan primarly through the prevention and mitigation of disasters in the Bajo Lempa and
Bay of Jiquilisco.

1. BASIC AGREEMENT

Pursuant to the shared principles, and recognizing:

that all individuals and their communities have the inherent right to decide upon and participate in
processes to improve their social and productive well-being;

that natural and socioeconomic vulnerability can be reduced through the strengthening of both
individual and institutional capacity;

that ongoing communication across spheres of culture and governance is necessary in achieving a
shared vision for sustainable development;

that Asociación Mangle, the legal organization representing the communities and local groups
comprising La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa, has entered into an institutional agreement with
Asociación Para el Desarrollo Empresarial y Ambiental de Puerto Parada, effective on the eleventh
of April two thousand and eight, to perform necessary actions to guarantee the sustainable use of the
Bay of Jiquilisco, a Biosphere Reserve, an agreement recognized by the National Ministry of
Environment and Natural Resources under Article 24 of the Natural Protected Areas Law;
that the Madrid Action Plan, agreed upon at the 3rd World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in February
2008, outlines its strategic goal for 2008-2013 to “enable the active use of places included in the
WNBR (World Network of Biosphere Reserves) as learning sites for sustainable development, i.e.
demonstrating approaches to enhance co-operation amongst epistemic (academic), political,
practitioner and stakeholder communities to address and solve context-specific problems to improve
environmental, economic and social conditions for human and ecosystem well-being;”

that the challenges of globalization have provided to students trained at the Monterey Institute of
International Studies the opportunity and imperative to adopt the Monterey Way: versatility in the
application of knowledge and skills to a broad range of context-specific problems;

La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa and the Monterey Institute of International Studies agree to the
following Goals and Projected Outcomes:

Goals

• Collaborate toward the improvement of program delivery as defined by the community-


constituents of La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa through its strategic plan;
• Increase the productive capacity of communities in the Bajo Lempa through sustainable
resource use, in order to improve and diversify livelihoods and opportunities for income
generation;
• Advance measures to ensure the continued viability of the ecosystem services provided by the
Bay of Jiquilisco, a site recognized as a Wetland of International Importance under the
Ramsar Convention, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and Natural Protected Area, through
conservation actions that promote local stewardship and wise use of its natural resource base.
• Offer a sustained collaborative context in which burgeoning international studies professionals
of the Monterey Institute can enhance their practical experience through the application of
skills and competence in furtherance of shared institutional objectives.

Projected Outcomes

• A minimum of eight (8) Monterey Institute students per year shall complete field work
aligned with the completion of four (4) academic credits in their individual degree or
specialization, and/or in Spanish language competence;
• Formal report(s) shall be drafted in English and Spanish, detailing field work and
recommendations toward the improvement of programmatic areas prioritized by La
Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa;
• Staff of both parties to this agreement shall participate in strategic communication to foresee
priorities for future field work and evaluate past results to enhance ongoing collaboration.

Both institutions hereby agree to make available appropriate volunteer placements for aspiring
development professionals, with an emphasis on direct interaction between students of the Monterey
Institute of International Studies and the staff and communities of La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa.
Placements shall include, but are not limited to, project and business planning, management, and
evaluation, and shall aim to strengthen La Coordinadora’s ability to disseminate information
regarding its activities in order to diversify financial resources. These placements will likewise
provide the students a substantial professional experience that enhances aspects of both their academic
pursuits and career aspirations.

2. PLACEMENT DEFINED

In order to ensure that work conducted by students fulfills the vision and needs of the communities of
the Bajo Lempa and Bay of Jiquilisco, La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa will define the volunteer
placement in reference to its medium- and long-term goals as an organization. Descriptions of each
placement will outline the following aspects in regards to on-the-ground activities:
• Identified need for volunteer placement, including brief programmatic details and role
which the student is sought to fill;
• Objective(s) of placement, including nature of placement and responsibilities of student
• Contact person/pertinent program coordinator from La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa,
who is able to facilitate on-the-ground activities when necessary; and
• Desired results, including deliverables to be received by the organization upon completion of
the placement.

3. FACILITATION OF PLACEMENTS

The Monterey Institute of International Studies will facilitate the placement of students as solicited by
La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa through the following means:
• Communication of the nature of placement and logistics of project work to interested
development professionals with language and cultural competence;
• Selection of students who exhibit the qualities and the skills required to fulfill the objectives;
• Preparation of selected students to effectively engage in project work under the unique
cultural and natural conditions characteristic of rural El Salvador;
• Promotion of La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa and its programs, emphasizing the
integration of graduate international studies professionals within the realities of the Bajo
Lempa and Bay of Jiquilisco;
• Academic advising and instruction of students during their placement, both on-the-ground
and through faculty mentoring; and
• Collaboration with corresponding program or project coordinators of La Coordinadora del
Bajo Lempa on aspects of placement formulation, implementation and evaluation of results.

In order to effectively facilitate the placement of volunteer professionals, both the Monterey Institute
of International Studies and La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa will devote sufficient resources, in the
form of staff time or otherwise, according to their respective organizational capacities.

4. SCOPE OF INTERACTION

Given the identified needs and goals of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, La
Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa, and their respective constituents, on-the-ground interaction will be
structured by both organizations within one of more of the following parameters:
• 3-4 week January placement of students comprising Team Monterey who conduct evaluations
of programmatic elements to monitor effectiveness in service delivery, within the community-
constituents of La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa;
• 2-4 month placement of individual students between June and August to strengthen existing
project areas; and
• 5-7 month individual International Professional Service Semester (IPSS) placement in the
spring semester (January-August), to include a supervised internship position and research
project as defined by the student.

Results and deliverables shall be accessible to both organizations within the scope of their respective
work, and shall not be used for purposes of profit.

5. CONTEXT OF PLACEMENT

Both La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa-Asociación Mangle and the Monterey Institute of International
Studies will shape their placements according to these parameters, understanding both the
opportunities and constraints inherent in each with regards to student placement in rural El Salvador.
To fulfill its vision, La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa implements programs in production,
commercialization, infrastructure, environmental management and organizational strengthening. It is
within these areas and their support systems that placements will originate, and the Monterey Institute
of International Studies will target appropriate students who exhibit both expertise and desire to
support these areas, as well as the background necessary to successfully complete objectives through
on-the-ground immersion in rural El Salvador.

6. ACADEMIC SUPPORT

Although La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa will ultimately define the scope and nature of the
volunteer placement, the Monterey Institute of International Studies faculty and staff shall ensure that
students receive adequate academic support throughout the placement, including clearly defined
criteria for obtaining academic credit based on deliverables as set forth within the Projected Outcomes
of this agreement.

7. STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION

Both organizations shall cultivate on-going institutional avenues of communication to facilitate the
proper placement of students within programmatic areas of La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa. The
dialogue initiated during the August 2007 site visit to El Salvador between program coordinators,
regarding the outlooks, needs and goals of both entities, will serve as the basis upon which to share
experiences and objectives as distinct organizations. It is understood that advancing the mutual
knowledge between these evolving institutions shall inevitably shape the nature and effectiveness of
professional interaction in El Salvador.

8. FOUNDATION FOR SELF-SUFFICIENCY IN CENTRAL AMERICA (FSSCA)

Both organizations shall continue to communicate with the Foundation for Self-Sufficiency in Central
America (FSSCA), for the purpose of further defining volunteer placements and sharing progress
toward reaching objectives as outlined by La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa. The FSSCA’s
experience in supporting the vision, initiatives and organization born from within the community-
constituents of the Bajo Lempa provides valuable facilitation, and offers opportunities toward a
financially sustainable alliance.

9. PROMOTION

Both La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa-Asociación Mangle and the Monterey Institute of International
Studies, as well as the FSSCA, may promote this agreement as part of their organizational activities
and advancements.

10. TERMS OF AGREEMENT

The signatories shall review this Memorandum of Understanding every three years, for the purpose of
mutually assessing and renewing the agreement as a mechanism to achieve the aforementioned
outcomes and goals espoused and agreed upon by each entity.
.

Luis Angel Hernández Ramos Ramón Arístides Valencia Arana


President, Legal Representative Executive Director
La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa – Asociación Mangle
Asociación Mangle

Date:_______________________ Date:______________________
Amy Sands Edward J. Laurance
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dean
Monterey Institute of International Studies Graduate School of International Studies,
Monterey Institute

Date:_______________________ Date:______________________