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From Socioeconomic Studies to Educational Talks: A USAC intern’s Experience in Totonicapán

At EcoLogic, we love to brag about our amazing interns. With bright minds and unbridled enthusiasm, they bring a wealth of much welcomed, fresh energy to our work. However, we don’t often highlight the brilliant interns that offer the same great ideas and helping hands to our regional staff and our partners in the field.

In Totonicapán, Guatemala, there’s an intern who brings exactly all the qualities and benefits we’ve just described, and has worked with EcoLogic and our local partner, The Natural Resource Council of The Mayors of the 48 Cantones, since early 2016. Her name is Rosario Concepción Morales Tzic.

Rosario was originally linked with 48 Cantones through her program at the University Center of Totonicapán, part of the University of San Carlos in Guatemala. Rosario’s original project was to undertake a socioeconomic baseline study of a community in the area with the help and guidance of 48 Cantones. As Rosario mentions in the video, her involvement and role expanded once she connected with EcoLogic Field Technician Fernando Recancoj and became aware of our work. Shortly after, EcoLogic staff and USAC students began to explore their mutual interests and eventually formalized a partnership with the university, so that students in the area could learn about and participate in projects related to community-based conservation.

Below is a short video of Rosario explaining a bit about her work and why she has enjoyed partnering with EcoLogic. It is in Spanish, but no worries if you don’t speak it—we’ve subtitled it for you. We hope that you enjoy a bit of insight into her fieldwork and maybe get a chance to practice your Spanish listening skills, too!

For a further look into the learning exchanges and workshops that Rosario mentions as part of her work, this past April, Rosario and another EcoLogic intern (now full-time staff member), Amanda Foster, had a chance to collaborate and incorporate participatory methodologies into Rosario’s study. Below are some photos taken by Amanda Foster that show Rosario coordinating an interactive workshop in the community of Chiyax.

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Rosario explaining a participatory methodology

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The community getting engaged in participatory mapping

Establishing relationships with students in universities in Guatemala and the other countries where we work is integral to EcoLogic’s work, and is  one of the core elements of what we do—network. Networking significantly enhances EcoLogic’s ability to connect partners and allies, and puts community-built solutions on regional, national, and global platforms. These landscape-level alliances among diverse groups of actors—community leaders, students, scientists, institutions, policymakers, governments, and other important groups that are invested in making important environmental change—are how EcoLogic builds dialogue to align our strategies with others and span across landscapes.

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