PMI Ecuador Chapter Partnered with Local NGOs to Help Rebuild Esmeraldas

A Call to Action

“There comes a moment when life calls you to volunteer. This is my time,” said Santiago Cartagena of the PMI Ecuador Chapter. For Santiago, the moment came after a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador in 2016 killing at least 676 and injuring more than 16,000 people. 700,000 people needed immediate assistance with 90 percent of infrastructure destroyed in many areas. Affecting some of the poorest regions of the country, the earthquake left thousands of people displaced, including some of its most vulnerable. This was the worst natural disaster in the country’s history since 1949. Santiago and the PMI Ecuador Chapter knew they needed to do something to help.

A Feeling of Solidarity Following the Ecuador Earthquake

“There comes a moment when life calls you to volunteer. This is my time,” said Santiago Cartagena of the PMI Ecuador Chapter. 

United Nations 17 Goals to Transform Our World

These are goals that the United Nations has established as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it is vitally important that society achieves each Goal by 2030.


A Valuable Partnership

The chapter felt the best way to help those in need was to partner with local NGOs that already had outreach networks in place in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, one of the worst affected provinces. OVCI is an NGO whose mission is to implement rehab projects to better ensure the equitable treatment of women suffering economic challenges and physical disabilities. Santiago and the chapter teamed up with OVCI to provide project management training and support—both to the organization and directly to the women of the region.

UN Sustainable Development Goal #5: 

Goal 5 Gender Equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

Santiago Cartagena

We all have a responsibility to give back to life what we’ve been given.

PMI Ecuador Chapter

Mariana Guerrero

We’ve had difficult moments. But I didn’t give up.

Program Beneficiary

How A Little Project Management Can Go A Long Way

OVCI and the PMI Ecuador Chapter are teaching women project management with an emphasis on concepts like project scope, developing a schedule, and adhering to a budget. The training materials they use are adapted to accommodate deaf or blind participants like Mariana Guerrero, a store owner whose story is inspiring to us all. Mariana is blind and lost her home in the earthquake. Her husband also got sick and died two days after the earthquake occurred, making Mariana the sole provider for her family. But she didn’t let these setbacks stop her. She continues to run her store from the government housing she lives in now. "As a volunteer, first you focus a lot on the project management tools. Then you realize that project management is beyond just tools…it’s the support, the backing, being with the people,” Santiago observes. “Mariana teaches us with her example. You create this giving and receiving, giving and receiving.”

PMI Ecuador Chapter Logo

PMI Ecuador is an active community of people interested in project management. Share experiences, expand your network and create professional relationships inside and outside Ecuador. 

Explore Chapter Website


Mariana runs her store through this window in her home selling breads, candies and household essentials.

Santiago and Mariana

Santiago and Mariana have a connection in which both have learned from each other.

PMI 50 Ecuador Miriana

Mariana enjoys staying connected to her neighbors and sharing with the community.