EcoLogic facilitates participatory processes to strengthen the capacity of local communities and our local partners to design and apply practical, locally-contextualized strategies, monitor project impact, advocate for their priorities, and raise and manage funds independently. This commitment to meaningful participation cultivates local ownership of initiatives and increases the likelihood that project activities are sustained over the long-term.
We believe that when people understand that their lives are dependent upon the health of their natural environment, and when they have the means to identify and create ways to protect and sustainably use their natural resources, they will do so and ecosystems and people will thrive.
So how do we collaborate with local people to support them to be active environmental stewards of their ecosystems?
First, we evaluate a proposed new project site using a variety of criteria:
By assessing the natural environment and ecosystems, we determine if the proposed project site is adequate in size, has sufficient habitat diversity and biodiversity, and is a relatively high priority for conservation in the region.
We identify a local partner for the proposed project or, if none exists, determine if there is sufficient desire and potential for the creation of a local partner organization.
We confirm that the local population has significant interest and commitment to engage in the proposed project.
The application of participatory tools and methods provides EcoLogic and the community itself with a detailed sense of the scope of concerns and the possible ways to address them. Throughout the process, there is much discussion and exchange of ideas, with the disagreements and uncertainties as important as the details agreed upon.
Presuming everyone is in agreement that EcoLogic can help with the problems at hand, the first consultation informs a series of collaborative decisions that provide the blueprint for our work with the local partner and the community. If no local partner exists, then we usually provide technical assistance and support to help develop local capacity, know-how, and institutional resources to create one. This can take time, so in the meantime we will usually start other activities to address the problems at hand.
EcoLogic undertakes community consultations at various stages in the process of a project. We continue to gather together at town meetings, and EcoLogic staff, local partner representatives, community members, and/or outside experts will present information on different aspects of the project, its challenges, successes, and next steps.
We know that communication is key to successful collaboration, and we take the time to do it right. It is an ongoing process that is integral to achieving success in empowering rural people to restore and protect tropical ecosystems and become leaders in environmental conservation and successful natural resource stewardship.