EcoLogic Development Fund

EcoLogic empowers rural and indigenous peoples to restore and protect tropical ecosystems in Central America and Mexico.
Nov 13, 2013

Ten Seeds

Ten seed technique
Ten seed technique

In the past couple of months, EcoLogic worked with the peoples of La Guaira Cocoli and Nuevo Nacimiento Caliz, Guatemala to identify and prioritize present environmental needs within their communities.  EcoLogic staff members used the Ten Seed Technique; a participatory activity that was created to enable illiterate community members to participate in a community-wide discussions. In turn, this activity helps EcoLogic understand and learn about the community from the perspective of its members and allows everyone (men and women) an equal opportunity to share their vision.  Following the discussion, each person was given ten seeds, which they then used to vote privately on the priority level of the identified need categories. Using this strategy, community members of La Guaira Cocoli and Nuevo Nacimiento Caliz voted to prioritize conservation planning of two microwatersheds in their district.

Following the community vote, EcoLogic staff in collaboration with local partners, delimited and georeferenced the two chosen microwatersheds. Staff members worked with community elders to gather information about traditional water flow patterns as well as to identify major changes and trends associated with the two watersheds.

EcoLogic staff is currently coordinating the construction of 3D models of the two watershed areas so that community members may have a visual representation of what their watersheds look like. These  models will aid community members in identifying priority areas for conservation and restoration within the watersheds and will allow for the implementation of a strategic plan to protect vital drinking water supplies. 

Community members discuss their conservation needs
Community members discuss their conservation needs
Oct 31, 2013

People for a Healthy Gulf

Gulf of San Miguel
Gulf of San Miguel

The Gulf of San Miguel contains 17 percent of all the mangroves found in Panama and thus is an important nursery habitat and home to marine and fish life critical to the ocean ecosystem and to the artisan fisheries of the area. Poor sewage and solid waste management, unsustainable fishing practices, deforestation, and poaching are some of the problems adversely affecting the gulf. EcoLogic partners with five local communities to strengthen local fishing organizations, provide low impact fishing gear, improve alternative livelihood opportunities, and advocate for the establishment of a federally protected zone within the gulf.

In the past few months, EcoLogic has realized several activities in support of our goals towards a "Healthy Gulf". We have hired a local technician to gather and analyze information on a monthly basis about fish catch by local fisherfolk. In additon, we provided training on how to maintain a record of the type and quantity of fish and marine products – noting species and poundage – fishermen are harvesting from the gulf. This will help us form a baseline in combating the problem of mismanagemnt of the fisheries. We have also provided trainings to three fisherfolk associations in fisheries law and sustainable fishing practices. 

We  continue to carry-out waste managment plans in partnership with the comunities and are working with the local people to reforest degraded areas as well as implement agroforestry as a overall holistic approach to our conservation efforts. The construction of a tree nursery is nearly completed and will hold 10,000 trees for reforestation and agroforestry. Finally, with help from our generous supporters, we have been able to purchase a vehicle so that these communities can properly dispose of waste instead of dumping it into the water or on the beaches.

Thank you for your help. However, there is so much more to do, I hope you will continue to support these efforts in the months to come. 

 

Local fisherman prepares for the day
Local fisherman prepares for the day's catch
Oct 17, 2013

EcoLogic Pilots the ONIL Stove

Constructing an ONIL stove
Constructing an ONIL stove

Fuel-efficient stoves are an important part of EcoLogic’s broader menu of community based approaches to conservation and sustainable development. EcoLogic originally introduced the stoves to reduce pressure on forested areas and to also help educate and inspire local people to adopt approaches that can have a significant impact on the ecosystems. Over the past few years, we have endeavored to expand and improve our stove program.

This past July, EcoLogic’s Regional Program Director, Gabriela Gonzalez and Guatemalan Technical Promoters Yovany Díaz, Jose Domingo Caal, and Fernando Recancoj attended the Clean Cookstove Alliance’s Guatemala stakeholder consultation and market assessment in Antigua, Guatemala. Based on information presented, discussions at the workshop, and research conducted by several interns we have decided to pilot a different stove, called the ONIL stove in Guatemala which has proven to have a higher fuel-efficiency rating than our current stove. This stove was also selected based on criteria such as the stoves’ durability, likelihood of cultural acceptance for food preparation and household norms, fuel efficiency and indoor air pollution ratings, safety, appropriateness for local fuel wood types, ease of sourcing materials for construction and repair, cost (initial cash outlay and estimated lifetime cost), and our connections to and ability to develop relationships with other organizations and agencies implementing similar stoves at a broader scale.

In August, we installed 25 test stoves with our partner the 48 Cantones of Totonicapán as well as provided training and guidance on their use and maintenance.  We are currently developing tools to evaluate the ONIL model to determine if it is the best fit for the cultural and environmental needs of the communities we serve during the next phase of our project. We look forward to keeping you posted on how the stoves are doing!
 

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