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IPA-Copan is a partnership between the Rotary Club of Copán Ruinas, Honduras and the International Project Alliance (IPA).


The IPA is a group of six Rotary clubs in the Skagit Valley region of Washington State. We are an informal organization, essentially a multi-club project committee. The IPA was formed in April 2014 by these member clubs:

Fidalgo Island
La Conner
Burlington sunrise
Stanwood/Camano Island
Mount Vernon noon

In August 2015 we were joined by Sedro-Woolley, San Juan Island, Burlington mid-day, and Mount Vernon Skagit.

Our mission is to pool financial and professional resources and apply them to humanitarian and development projects in one small town in Latin America. By focusing on a single location over many years, we aspire to having a significant and visible impact on the lives of its people.

The IPA developed screening criteria for the town, then conducted an extensive search of Mexico, Central America and Columbia. They eventually selected Copán Ruinas, Honduras, a town of 6,000 people in the country’s western highlands, near the Guatemalan border. They partnered with the town’s small but experienced Rotary club, and this joint venture is known as IPA-Copan. The Copán club is responsible for project implementation and in-country financial controls.


IPA-Copan has partnered with NGOs in Copán; with three local municipalities (all of which are managed by very helpful mayors); and with a regional agency responsible for health care, education, water and sanitation.

Honduras is the poorest country in mainland Central America, and most of the indigenous Mayan people living in the mountain villages around Copán survive on $1 or $2 per day. Because the need for aid is virtually limitless, we have focused our efforts by developing screening criteria for the communities to support and the types of project to fund. We plan to have long-term partnerships with about a dozen communities. To better understand their needs and dreams, we recently conducted an in-depth survey of villages and their schools.


IPA-Copan has several funding sources:

• Annual pledges made by member clubs
• Donations for specific projects from member clubs and individuals
• The group’s Adopt-a-School program, where clubs, individuals and others can fund school supplies, backpacks and uniforms for every student in a village school
• District and Global Grants from The Rotary Foundation.


Our projects for the 2014-15 fiscal year are in various stages of development, from planning to completed. They include:

• Constructing latrines and showers for the 20 poorest families in the village of Hacienda Grande
• Designing classrooms and providing furniture for 100 students in El Zapote’s school
• Providing research computers for the library in Copán’s secondary school, serving 550 students
• Rebuilding and extending the water system in Mirasol La Esperanza, serving 540 inhabitants
• Delivering school supplies and uniforms to almost 400 students in 8 villages
• Providing furniture and appliances for three new homes for the orphans of Copán
• Building new roofs on the trade school in Santa Rita and the village kindergarten in San Francisco
• Experimental program to grow cacao in the villages
• Providing efficient “clean” cook stoves to 450 homes in the Las Virginias region

• Building a major new water system.

The total value of these projects is $110,000. The first three received District Grants from The Rotary Foundation, and the last two are the subject of Global Grant applications.


By including several small projects in each year’s plan, a greater variety of service opportunities and schedules can be offered to the members of IPA clubs. We favor projects that provide opportunities for physical service work, but often the most valuable service we can contribute is “consulting” during project planning. For example: evaluating proposals; collecting and analyzing data; technical research and design; budgeting and grant applications; and evaluating partners and vendors. The IPA also provides each active project with a “Champion” and Lead Club to manage it.

To monitor projects and continue building relationships, IPA representatives visit Copán four times per year. Group trips for about 10 Rotarians are organized twice per year, with early morning Spanish lessons for participants.


For Rotary Clubs, IPA membership offers many benefits:

• Easy access to international projects with proven in-country partners
• Active participation in 12 or more international projects per year
• Experience managing international projects and TRF grants
• A wide variety of service opportunities for club members
• A long and deep relationship with a small town in Latin America
• The multiplier effect of funds from other clubs
• The ability to participate in a Global Grant without putting up $10,000
• An opportunity to work closely with other clubs in the area.

IPA-Copan's first year has been a very positive experience for everyone involved, and its many supporters in the U.S. and Honduras have much to be proud of.

Students at the primary school in the Mayan village of Mirasol La Esperanza (Cabañas).

Young girls at the Casita Copán orphanage in Copán Ruinas.

Students at the primary school in the village of Carrisalito 1.