We are now safely home after a successful trip. The second week of our May 2012 team’s time with APOT was a challenge for sure, but we all pushed forward together. Over the weekend of May 12-13, the General Assembly met to discuss some serious issues about administration, debt, and possible restructuring under a partner coop. Our Purdue team was not involved in this discussion, though it did impact the way we approached our work. During our two weeks there, uncertainty was very high among all APOT members. We wanted to be sensitive to their stress levels, yet encourage the committees to focus their efforts and continue to move forward.  The stakes are high for many families who rely on APOT for certification and processing. Beyond that, it is also like a family for many.

We had a very positive outreach day with the Grano de Oro indigenous region members, who are forming their own committee within APOT. Also had great sessions with each of the organizational committees.

We truly believe that all of the organizational capacity-building skills we worked on together will be helpful no matter what direction APOT takes from here. Already their communication is improving. All are committed to making APOT more transparent, democratic, and participatory–it just takes a lot of practice and some growing pains to figure out how to make that a reality.

At this point, all of the organizational committees are formed and have action steps. The product committees have each met several times, and are beginning to communicate with the board. The Board members are working on bylaws. For the first time, it seems like more members of the Board and committees are realizing that they need to know more about the finances of APOT and take responsibility for them. This is the elephant in the room…