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International Aid Projects

During the 1990s, many international aid projects began working with Honduran

Social Forestry System groups. The experiences of the study cooperatives show some of

the advantages and disadvantages of project assistance for cooperatives.

Cooperativa Guadalupe operated without external interference or assistance until

1995 when a German-funded development project called AFOCO (Supporting

Community Forestry) arrived to work in the area near Yuscarán. AFOCO worked with

the cooperative as well as other groups within the communities on project areas such as

forestry, agriculture, infrastructure, and organization. The project negotiated a usufruct

contract with AFE/COHDEFOR for the cooperative forest and developed a management

plan which included logging, resin tapping, reforestation, and fire protection. The plan

was first implemented in 1998. Beginning in 1999, AFOCO financed the construction of

a sawmill so that the cooperative could add value to the logs and generate more jobs in

the community. The cooperative now owns a truck, which they use in the logging

operation. The project ended in 2002 and the cooperative has been experiencing

difficulty obtaining permission to harvest from AFE/COHDEFOR. The sawmill and

logging operations are inactive, and the cooperative may have to sell a property it owns in

Yuscarán in order to pay the debt incurred through construction of the sawmill.

The overall capacity of the cooperative and its leadership has grown with the help

of AFOCO. Many members have received training in basic management and accounting.

The cooperative has expanded into logging and sawmill lumber production in the years

since the management plan has been in effect. When the cooperative first began to work

with the management plan, project personnel handled most of the administration and

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