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33 Participants from Local Communities in Totonicapán

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Country: Guatemala

Project Region: Totonicapán

Project Page: Forest of the Water Spirit

This past March in Totonicapán, the site of Guatemala’s best conserved highland oak-pine forest, EcoLogic provided the financial support for an assembly between the Natural Resources Council of the 48 Cantons and community leaders from the local area. This provided space for elected community delegates to speak on behalf of their particular community’s needs, share knowledge on the conservation efforts they’ve undertaken, and revisit previous project activities to ensure continued progress with EcoLogic and 48 Cantons leadership, who serve as community conservation allies. This assembly had 33 participants from local communities in total, 33 men and 3 women.

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How does this exemplify our core principle? 

In Totonicapán, one of EcoLogic’s primary roles is to support our local partner, the Natural Resources Council of the 48 Cantons to ensure their continued indigenous leadership in conservation. We provide them critical financial resources and technical expertise to ensure that the 48 Cantons have the ability to reach local communities and ensure sustainable, continued programs over the years- and to act independently of government influence. Another aspect of EcoLogic’s role is to help facilitate smooth leadership transitions for the 48 Cantons. The 48 Cantons elects new leaders each December, they take office in January, and we help maintain community relationships and transfer knowledge about the last year’s projects and initiatives.

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Since conservation takes time and patience, this kind of consistency and continuity is critical to maintain momentum. Assemblies such as the one pictured above provide opportunities for community members to voice their needs. EcoLogic and the 48 Cantons then work with community leaders to support projects that are truly owned by the community – by them and for them.

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