EcoLogic lives its mission by providing and facilitating knowledge, networks, incentives, and tools that promote the responsible use of the natural resources that surround communities in order to alleviate the major challenges they face. Through our work, we aim to nurture community awareness, expand local assets, and strengthen individual capabilities so that communities can manage their ecosystem by themselves to create a more sustainable landscape now and into the future.
Field technicians Jose Domingo Caal and Samuel Coc Yat with the whole group present at the WWF training. (Photo: Samuel Coc Yat)
An example of this ethos in action is found in the story of José Domingo and Samuel’s recent journey to Panama to attend a training hosted by the World Wildlife Fund’s Russel E. Train Education for Nature Program (EFN). The WWF-EFN’s mission is to “provide financial support to proven and potential conservation leaders in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to gain the skills and knowledge they need to address the conservation challenges in their home countries. EFN supports conservationists to pursue graduate studies, attend short-term training courses, and train local communities in WWF priority places.”
Also at EcoLogic, we are dedicated to amplifying the voices of communities and those involved in the daily process of making change happen. These doers and adopters are the catalysts that make EcoLogic’s projects people-powered endeavors. So, in this article, we will connect you to two leaders at EcoLogic, José Domingo Caal and Samuel Coc, Field Technicians for our work around the Amatique Bay in eastern Guatemala, so that they can tell and show you all about their training in Panama, what they learned, and how they will integrate their new knowledge into their daily work at EcoLogic.
Read more about the WWF training and hear Jose Domingo talk about his experience >>
EcoLogic is very proud of the success and innovation that has taken place over the years in western highland departments of Huehuetenango and Quiche, Guatemala.
Field technician Elmer Urizar at a meeting with staff from strategic partner Semilla Nueva.
Through EcoLogic’s Indigenous Peoples for Thriving Ecosystems in Northern Guatemala project, community-adoption of agroforestry has been particularly successful. Agroforestry—specifically alley-cropping or planting of food crops with trees, is a farming approach that intends to address the challenges of deforestation, but also the lack of food security in the area.
In this region, around 2013, communities in Ixcán, Guatemala began to take particular strides to measure the results of established agroforestry parcels through data collection, which was done jointly by EcoLogic field staff and the farmers themselves. This data has shown that EcoLogic’s alley-cropping systems—which typically integrate the tree species, Inga edulis, with corn—result in improved soils, sustainable sources of firewood, and enhanced food security for communities involved. As a result, a wave of interest and demand for agroforestry continues to grow in the area.
Read more about new agroforestry pilot projects in Ixcán >>
Mario Ardany de Leon is a straightforward, no-nonsense kind of man—a particularly good quality for EcoLogic’s Guatemala Program Officer to have, as every day he is overseeing projects that aim to solve some of the region’s most pressing issues. Unsurprisingly, he is a great source of information for project updates, stories, and explanations about what EcoLogic does and why.
Lety, a woman from Totonicapán pictured here with her two kids, likely learned about EcoLogic’s fuel-efficient stoves from seeing them in the community where she lives.
As Mario leaned forward with his head bowed toward his computer in order to hear our voices more clearly through the often-wavering Skype connection, which serves as the easiest method of communication between the field and EcoLogic’s Cambridge office, we took advantage of the clear line and cut to the chase. We asked if Mario had any significant stories from the field related to the recent visit of our friends from Global Giving in Totonicapán—the site of the EcoLogic Forest of the Water Spirit project. Global Giving is an online giving platform that has promoted EcoLogic’s work for years, so it was an excellent opportunity for them to see the impacts that they’ve helped EcoLogic attain on the ground!
Learn more about the impact of EcoLogic’s work in Totonicapán >>