EcoLogic Development Fund

EcoLogic empowers rural and indigenous peoples to restore and protect tropical ecosystems in Central America and Mexico.
Sep 5, 2012

Ask Yaira!

Yaira working to build a tree nursery.
Yaira working to build a tree nursery.

Yaira Allois Pino, our Program Officer for Panama, is from Santiago de Veraguas, Panama. She has experience coordinating watershed management programs in Panama and has also worked as a facilitator of Rural Participatory Diagnoses used for Municipal Development Plans. She has studied industrial engineering and is working on her thesis for a Master’s in environmental management. We asked Yaira some questions about her work and she was eager to share!

EcoLogic: When you visit our projects, what emotions do you experience?

Yaira: I really like to visit the communities and the people are very happy when we come which makes me feel good. I do feel sad at times when I hear stories of hardship from community members. For example, in Punta Alegre, they told me they went a month without electricity because the plant damaged a piece of equipment that cost a lot to repair. But, I feel pride when things go well and when people are excited to discuss with me ways in which I can help.

E: During the last year, what project or success has made you the most proud?

Y: I loved the construction of latrines because it has a big impact and gives EcoLogic credibility in the communities.

E: Who is one person in the community that inspires you and why?

Y: Ovina Hurtado, from Punta Alegre, inspires me. She’s a fighter, a retired teacher, over 60, and a leader in Punta Alegre. Although she sometimes gets discouraged with the problems in the community, she never stops trying to make a difference. She always keeps on going!

E: Why do you work for EcoLogic?

Y: It’s been a few years since I started working in the environmental field and with EcoLogic. It is very important to me because with EcoLogic, I have the opportunity to work with the communities and help teach them to protect their resources. I feel like I can make a difference in their lives and that’s why I’m committed to my work.

E: What is a recent highlight from our work?

Y: We are working on a lot of things but something I am personally excited about is working towards declaring the Gulf a protected area by the Panamanian government. I am also excited about the capacity building workshops for fisherfolk.

If you have any questions you would like to ask Yaira, please respond to this email and we will get them answered!

Links:

Jul 23, 2012

Community member recalls time helping build stoves

A banner of thanks presented to EcoLogic staff
A banner of thanks presented to EcoLogic staff

In rural Guatemala, EcoLogic works with communities to develop and implement practical plans to promote forest reforestation and conservation.  Using a holistic approach that goes beyond chimneys and stovetops, we are taking into account the role of the ecosystem and the community to implement sustainable changes.

EcoLogic recently spoke with teacher and Totonicapán community member Juana Maria Garcia about her time volunteering with EcoLogic and building fuel-efficient stoves in Cuchanet, Guatemala.

You have also helped to build fuel-efficient stoves, right?

JMG: Yes, this last winter I worked with EcoLogic to help build stoves for 75 families. The beneficiaries were in five communities and I primarily worked in Cuchanet. I collaborated with the group—mostly women of the households—to build the stoves. A mason supervised us, but we did everything as a team. We mixed the cement, lay the adobe and the bricks, and built the inner chamber. The chamber is built in a special way which helps the air move and reduces the amount of wood needed to keep it hot. Finally, we put on the chimney, and gave the stove a special coating of sand and cement, and then the owner had to wait 30 days for it to dry and "settle" before she could use it.

The owners are taught how to maintain the stoves, including what can be burned and what can't be. For example, most people don't know that burning plastic is dangerous for your health and for the environment. Fernando, the EcoLogic technician, also teaches how to keep the stoves clean, and why flies are bad for the food, as many people don't understand this. So there is a lot of health and hygiene information that is talked about, too.

Links:

Jul 23, 2012

Growing the roots of agroforestry

A local farmer shows her agroforestry plot.
A local farmer shows her agroforestry plot.

In Guatemala, EcoLogic has recently established four plots of land that will be used to grow and cultivate Inga edulis seeds, and increase farmers’ access to the plant, which is used in agroforestry. Agroforestry is a method of agriculture that integrates trees and shrubs with crops like corn, beans, and coffee. By taking advantage of the natural benefits of trees, small-scale farmers can use agroforestry to produce more using less land, easing their burden while improving their lands.

Though tropical forests are often destroyed for agriculture, EcoLogic is helping small farmers to reap the rewards forests offer by reintroducing trees onto their lands. By integrating Inga trees into agriculture, farmers can reduce erosion, provide a source of organic fertilizer, maintain a healthy climate for crops, and increase yield thus reducing the need to clear more forests for agricultural lands.

Local farmers’ use of Inga for agroforestry is one way in which EcoLogic is working with communities to promote alternatives to the ecological destruction of slash and burn cultivation, while also increasing crop yields.

We believe that in order to save forests and water sources, we must work with communities to provide the tools and training they need to sustainably manage their natural resources. Inga is one of the tools we use and an integral part of that solution.

Links:

 
   

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