Pedro Velasco Chávez (’06, Guatemala)
Since graduating from EARTH in 2006, Pedro has sought to use his EARTH education to create more just and dignified living conditions for the people of his home district of El Quiché, Guatemala.
“EARTH gave me the inspiration to do better and seek changes that break the paradigms that maintain unacceptable living conditions for human life.”
Returning home with his EARTH degree in-hand, he coordinated several community development projects related to agriculture, food security and environmental health. Then, in 2009, he became the General Manager and Legal Representative of a savings and loan cooperative, serving nine municipalities in the Quiché region—a position he still holds today. In addition to his leadership of the cooperative, he provides consulting on strategic planning to businesses in the region, and in 2013 completed a master’s degree in financial administration.
Pedro is responsible for ensuring the profits and sustainability of the cooperative, providing easy access to credit, and ensuring good benefits and development opportunities to his 58 employees. The cooperative is particularly focused on supporting micro, small and medium sized business owners.
“We don’t give money, rather we help people become productive to generate resources for their family and community; we provide the guidance and financing that helps people achieve their dreams.”
He adds that the cooperative has helped thousands of people develop and grow agricultural and service industry businesses during his tenure. Throughout his work with entrepreneurs, Pedro asserts that the emotional intelligence he developed while at EARTH has helped him to successfully resolve the conflicts in the entrepreneurial sector that he has had to facilitate.
Unable to complete elementary school themselves, Pedro’s parents are understandably proud to see their son’s successes and contributions to the development of their community. Pedro stresses that the opportunity to study at EARTH has meant everything to him, his family, and his community. He credits his time at EARTH with giving him the values and perseverance to always seek out the common good.
“EARTH changed my life and that of my family. It changed how I see life, and now I have contributed to transforming the vision of young people, parents, community leaders, institutions and businesses.”