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EcoLogic Expands Its Efforts in Honduras

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A father and daughter participate in a community consultation in northern Guatemala. Consultations are the first step in all EcoLogic projects.

Community consultations are set to begin in November near Mt. Celaque in western Honduras, the site of EcoLogic’s newest project in Honduras. EcoLogic is partnering with The Municipalities of the National Park of Mt. Celaque (MAPANCE), an organization established in 2009 to co-manage the park with the national government. EcoLogic and MAPANCE signed an agreement to preserve the forest and water sources in and around Mt. Celaque and to identify sustainable livelihood alternatives for the communities in the area. As a diagnostic tool, community consultations are a key component of EcoLogic’s methodology. Undertaken at the outset of each new project, they allow us to tailor our work to best address the needs of the community. There are typically multiple sessions over the course of a few weeks. We use proven facilitation techniques that actively encourage participation by all community members, including women and children, so that we collectively identify and prioritize the issues of greatest concern. Once the consultations have been completed EcoLogic and MAPANCE will establish project goals based on the priorities identified. Depending on the results of the consultations and analysis of technical information, project activities may include the installation of fuel-efficient stoves, the establishment of tree nurseries, or the identification of payment for environmental services mechanisms to protect water sources and biodiversity. Categorized as cloud forest, the park experiences prolonged periods of low lying cloud cover and heavy rainfall for much of the year. It also contains the country’s highest peak, Mt. Celaque, which means “box of water” in the indigenous Lenca language. The area is home to approximately 100 communities with a population of approximately 30,000 of Lenca descent. Communities have high rates of adult illiteracy and respiratory ailments due to the prevalent use of open-pit fires for cooking in the home. The project area is one of the poorest in the country. The people currently rely heavily on subsistence farming and day work on coffee plantations as their primary means of livelihood. “For the people who live around Mt. Celaque this project is very important because they know it will help improve their lives. A community leader told me that, for them, Celaque means life. The community is very involved and committed to protecting and taking care of their land,” said Regional Director of Programs for EcoLogic, Gabriela González García.