Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund

by Corcovado Foundation
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Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Osa Community COVID 19 Response Fund
Afternoon extra curricular activities
Afternoon extra curricular activities

We are almost through 2019, a full of plans, challenges and achievements. The end of the year always means a closing cycle and a rebirth of projects and dreams. Personally, this has been a year full of ups and downs as every other year, but it is a year that I am grateful for.

I feel very grateful for the trust of those who support us: our donors and volunteers, our board of advisors, our consultants and our board of directors. Particularly, I feel grateful for the wonderful team of our foundation that, despite all the difficulties, challenges and problems have been invincible. Their passion for the projects they lead has made them indomitable before the obstacles! Their love to the children, to the communities, to the ecosystems or to the national parks, or their commitment to excellence, I don't know ... I just know that my team members inspire me every day with their effort, their dedication and their creativity. Despite my 19 years working in the foundation, they make working in our organization always a new and exciting experience. Thanks to them our foundation is renewed every day!

I heard that: “A true act of goodwill always sparks another.” Here it is what we have achieved in 2019 thanks to your goodwill:

  • In the environmental education program, a contest was held in 7 schools, through which more than 1500 kg of recycling were collected. The schools were visited 42 times between March and October, to weigh the recycling materials. In addition, 22 companies in Drake Bay are committed to eliminating the consumption of single use plastic and almost 60 people have been trained on recycling. These companies have been able to collect 2398.63 kilos of recycled materials. In total, between companies and schools, almost 4000 kilos (8,800 pounds) of recycling have been collected during this year.
  • We have coordinated as part of the “Osa Libre de Plasticos” campaign with the Corcovado National Park and CATUOSA the cleaning of the beaches of the Corcovado National Park managing to collect, with the help of more than 100 volunteers, almost 2 tons (4,000 pounds) of solid waste in a single day.
  • 6 social education workshops have been held at Drake High School, working on the topics of sexual education and commercial sexual exploitation with the National Children's Board (PANI).
  • Together with the local association of Drake Bay, we formed a group of community leaders to bring travelling university programs and sports activities to the community. In addition, this group has focused on solving the lack of infrastructure for the Drake Bay high school.
  • An organic garden was built in the community of Banegas with 12 students from the school and several parents, which has had a great impact, since it promotes the culture of planting what we consume and allows children to eat organic products planted with their own hands.
  • More than 60 international volunteers have actively collaborated in the sea turtle program, in the construction of the nursery, patrols, censuses, beach cleaning, environmental education and nursery care.
  • We managed $256,000 USD (150 million colones) in infrastructure improvements in Protected Wild Areas. The funding was donated by Costa Rica Por Siempre and we lead the construction and remodeling projects in Rincon de la Vieja, Lomas Barbudal, Manzanillo, Alberto Manuel Brenes and Quetzales.
  • At the sea turtle project in Rincon de San Josecito, 118 nest nests have been protected, making this season the highest in the history of Rincon. We have also released 4,528 turtles, and we still have lots of eggs to hatch. We have managed to create a very good relationship with the Rincon community thanks to environmental education and a system of local guides that take tourists to see the turtles while they nest or when hatching.
  • In addition, 39 educational sessions in schools and colleges and 57 educational sessions with environmental groups have been held from February to November, for a total of 96 educational activities during the school year.
  • We had our first Jungle Party! Which was a great success! Everybody had a great time, and we also raised $ 12,000 USD that will go directly to educational and recreational activities for children of the Osa communities.
  • In addition, we finished the General Management Plan for the International Park of La Amistad, which implied a great coordination between the Pacific and the Caribbean sector, together with indigenous communities.
  • 110 people from 54 communities, in the buffer zone of 4 protected wild areas of Osa are being skilled as community park rangers. They will become the park ranger backup team for the conservation area. It is a unique model in the country, a study case that can be replicated in the other protected areas.
  • This year we managed to materialize through audiovisual production, two stories that were worth capturing on video. The first related to the testimonies of students graduated from the Environmental Education program, who told us how the program impacted their lives for good https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6ZbEsujKhY&t=58s and the other of the heroic work of the park rangers in Corcovado National Park https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03lr99b3WqE.

 

As we always say, our donors, volunteers and members are the driving force behind our environmental efforts. Thank you for trusting us, thank you for supporting us in one way or another. None of this would have been achieved without you. Please consider continuing to help us in 2020. You can make a tax-deductible donation, both in cash and in kind. Ask us how.

On behalf of all of us who from the Corcovado Foundation family, I extend my best wishes to you for a Christmas and holidays full of harmony and love with your loved ones and a new year full of prosperity, health and peace with our families, communities and the environment.

Wishing you the best,

 

Alejandra Monge

Corcovado Foundation

`          

Picking up trash
Picking up trash
heading to an compost training
heading to an compost training
heading to learn about compost
heading to learn about compost
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Since 2016, the Corcovado Foundation embarked on a huge challenge, building a suspension bridge for pedestrians, and perhaps motorcycles between the community of Progreso and the community of Agujitas. The project was a huge challenge. We made a great fundraising effort, we got around 5 million colones for materials from the Inter-American Foundation, $20,000 from a Canadian philanthropist and member of our organization, and about $2000 from GlobalGiving. We also raised 213 bags of cement donated by community members, companies and friends of the foundation.

 

In March 2017, we presented the project to the community, during which the participants committed themselves to support the workforce to build the bridge. Following this meeting with the community, a pro bridge committee is created, with the participation of several members of the community, mainly from Progreso. This group of people were the ones that validated all decisions that were taken regarding the bridge.

 

Subsequently, the Association of Integral Development (ADI) receives a donation of a 2006 Honda Odyssee vehicle with the purpose of being repaired and sold, so that its revenues could be used for the bridge. Even so, we did not have all the funds we required to build the bridge. Which forced us to seek engineering services as a donation. Unfortunately, the engineering services we received were poor and took a long time to arrive.

 

So with what we had, we started, but after the rains of October 2017, it was obvious that we needed to put gabions on the bridge. We were again waiting from the unpaid engineers for an appropriate design, when during one of those huge monsoon rains one of the bases of the bridge collapsed. Luckily, we had not used the bulk of the funds and most of the materials we had. We lost all the cement.

 

It is worth clarifying that when this base was located the first time, we placed it where the people who have lived in the town for many years, suggested. It was located as far away from the river as possible, without invading private property. No decision of the bridge was made without consultation to the community. It was in one of these meetings that it was decided to conduct topographic and hydrological studies to try again to build the bridge.

 

The fall of the bases forced us to seek new advice from engineers. We looked for a consulting firm who also donated their services to us, but this time their commitment to the project was tangible. They asked us to do topographic and water studies to know the composition of the land and the best location of the bridge. The foundation managed to get the topographic studies donated, however, the hydrologic studies had to be paid to the company IIG Consultores, which had a cost of $2,648.

 

After these studies, the engineers agreed that the only way to build a bridge and provide enough security, and withstand the onslaught of the river, its changes, and the effects of climate change, it was by building a structure of 122 meters (366 feet) long. The approximate cost of this was around 64 million colones (about $116,363.64).

 

In addition, studies showed that in order to build it, we were going to need to enter private property and for that we would need a donation of the property or to buy it. Given this perspective, there was nothing to do, we had to give up. The foundation does not have the resources to deal with a project of such magnitude.

 

The ADI staff members tell us that the funds, the remaining materials and the Odysee could be used by the organization to be allocated to community projects, specifically improvements for the high school, which is in huge disrepair. So, in July 2019, the remaining funds of the project were donated to the ADI, for them to invest in rebuilding the high school. We are really sorry that we were not able to pull this project off. We did we did what we could, with the resources we had. We will keep you posted of the progress of the high school. If you would like to donate for the highschool project, you can go to GlobalGiving  https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/osa-community-support-fund/

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A big shout out to you!! You have trusted us, and your trust and support has made an impact!

As I mentioned in a previous report, last year I was happy to run into some of our old “jaguars” (this is how we call the kids that participate or have participated in our Jaguars Youth Group in Agujitas). I had not met these guys for a while, apparently, they were busy becoming wonderful human beings.

I first run into one of them who mentioned how beneficial our environmental education program was for him. How it had served him to open his mind and dream of a better life, for him and his community. He mentioned how after we had taken them to places they never imagined to see in the country, after we had talked to them about how they had the world to explore and conquered, and about how they needed to protect their environment and their community, a spark had lit and they wanted more for themselves and their communities. They wanted to protect their environment, their home and be leaders in their communities.

I was curious, so I reached out to other kids, now adults, that had participated in our program in the past, the result was outstanding. It was wonderful to see the impact of the work of 16 years of dedicated environmental educators, that have guided these young minds into the world of conservation, but also of self-respect, leadership, teamwork and to respect and appreciate others. We then decided to make a video to collect some of the testimonies of these kids.

We have only been able to maintain this program for 16 years thanks to you and people like you, who believed in our efforts.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6ZbEsujKhY&feature=youtu.be

Please, take a minute and look at our video, and feel free to share it with your friends and brag to them how your support has actually changed the lives of many kids for the better. 

Thank you again for your trust!

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One of the girls that participates weekly
One of the girls that participates weekly

 

As I had mentioned in a previous report, in the beginning of the year we had heard the testimonies of young adults, that 16 years ago, participated with the Corcovado Foundations youth groups, and that today had become local leaders in their community, with a larger vision and much more ambition of what their lives and the lives of their children could turn up to be.  

On April, we embarked on a quest to collect these testimonies, thru a video, with some of the past and present beneficiaries of our environmental education and sustainable development program. The input we received was amazing. Again, it was great the hear about young men and women talking about how their experience with the Corcovado Foundation had changed their lives dramatically for better and for good. Opening their eyes about their wonderful heritage and surroundings, but also about the magnificent potential their lives had, to aspire for more and to become more, to become the stewards of this wonderful area.

One of the most amazing testimonies we collected this April, came from the High School Teacher. Children from all the local schools in the six communities in which we work, end up going to high school at the same place. The high school is located in this poorly ventilated building, initially built as a community center, which definitely does not provide the conditions for 120 students to learn. But these teachers try. And in this precarious setup, they explained to us the difference it makes for them, the work that the foundation does with boys and girls from all these communities. According to this teacher, you can tell when a kid was a part of the Corcovado Foundation’s youth group or not. Those that had previously participated in our group were more respectful with their environment, their peers and themselves and more interested in learning. Also, more concern about recycling, protecting wildlife or refusing to use of single-use plastic and other harmful materials.

In order to maintain our efforts with these kids, the foundation is starting two new efforts, we are trying to collect funding to help the local parent-teachers association build a new high school. If you are interested to help with that you can visit our Corcovado Foundation Osa Community Fund page in GlobalGiving, we need to raise $30,000 USD and we are also setting up 6 workshops -for 5 schools and the high schools- in order to promote sexual education and gender equality.  We need to empower boys and girls to take care of their bodies and prevent teen pregnancies, especially in these rural communities.

I believe that there is no sustainable development without social development. We cannot talk about environmental protection if families are suffering economically and we cannot talk about socioeconomic development without the participation of women. There is a direct correlation between women education and improvement in the families health,  education and economy.  We need empowered women, who want a better world for their children and their communities, women who vocalized their expectations and dreams. It is proven that the income that reaches women, is 90% destined to their family and it is used immediately in urgent needs, such as buying shoes for a little one in the house or buying the biology book that was needed.

Gender equality is considered one of the most important issues we have to address to reduce climate change. The development of women promotes the reduction of the population explosion, makes better use of productive capital and promotes the reduction of poverty. All these important issues to reduce carbon emissions and create a more just world.

Therefore, I think it is fundamental to invest better education for all, but especially for women. At the Corcovado Foundation, we will continue promoting education at schools, with after schools’ activities, and our extracurricular youth groups, and we will continue fighting for a better life for our communities.   Thank you for supporting our efforts throughout all these years.

Kids learning and having fun
Kids learning and having fun
Environmental education in schools
Environmental education in schools
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I am really really happy with my life” she said... and that was music to my ears.

A few weeks ago, we had a gathering with our “Jaguars” alumni.  The Jaguar Youth group was our first environmental youth group, which we put together with the support of the AVINA Foundation in 2003.  The program was funded to create environmental leaders and we used the money to do just that.  Although we couldn’t predict how much impact this was going to have, our recent meeting 15 years later showed us just how much it worked.

In 2003, Drake Bay was a very remote town that was not easy to get to.  It took 6 hours by car and an extra hour by boat to get there from San Jose. There were a few ecotourism businesses that were mostly in the hands of foreigners.  Locals would work at these businesses or would cut trees or hunt to make ends meet.   Women traditionally stayed at home and girls often would drop out of school early because they had unintended pregnancies or because they had to help take care of their siblings.

Drake Bays first experience with environmental education came this year.  Every Friday, I would drive my old Suzuki Sidekick from San Jose to Sierpe and then take the boat to Drake Bay in order to meet the kids the next day.  Participants between 9 and 15 years old would meet with me at an abandoned table on the beach, where we would talk about the environment, do beach cleanups and play.    Oh, how I loved seeing those happy faces! 

With the help of AVINA funding, we managed to put together a multi-day field trip that included visiting projects in coastal areas that were promoting sea turtle conservation, responsible waste management, and wildlife rescue. We took almost 20 Jaguar youth on what was for many their first time traveling outside of Drake Bay.  They stayed in hotels and donated housing along the way.  Because so few of them had ever eaten at a restaurant before, I had one of my friends host them in his restaurant and serve them as full paying customers.  They were able to experience customer service and see how a restaurant operated.  We wanted to show them more! In another town, we met with the leader of a group of women who had overcome big challenges and started a recycling program.  Later, we stayed in a big house with a pool that a good friend of mine had lent to us.  Many of these kids had never seen a pool.  They had a lot of fun!  Along the way, we talked about Costa Rica, about our conservation efforts, about values, about respecting nature and ourselves.   We also talked about reproductive responsibility and rights as girls in Osa have a high percentage of teen pregnancies.    That trip was a blast, but I also think they learned a lot.  They learned that there was a big world to explore outside of their town and they learned how valuable it was to keep it healthy!

With the support of friends and family we organized many more activities.  My husband and our friend Paul donated a scuba diving class, we figured maybe one day they could become dive professionals.   Our friend Sabina took the kids to Chirripó National Park which is the highest peak in the country.  And our friend Gustavo would take them exploring in Corcovado National Park.  These were just a few of the activities we organized.  

15 years later, we had a reunion and I could not be happier with what I saw.  The giggly little girls we taught were now confident women. They thanked me and the foundation because they believe that their experience with us not only helped them care about the environment but also expand their horizons.  They said that when they were done with the Jaguars Youth Group, they were ready to learn more, to study, to experience, to travel and to take care of themselves.  Two young women Miriam and Raquel (25 and 29 years old), are now a social worker and a successful entrepreneur respectively.  Raquel was telling me how much she liked her life, how happy she is… “really really happy”, she said.  She truly appreciates the learning experience and now wants to do the same for other girls.  She wants to teach others how to take care of themselves and avoid early pregnancies so they can continue their studies and be anything they want in life.  Now, they are promoting conservation from their own workplaces and are ready to give back!!  These are the new leaders that AVINA was hoping for.  

Sadly, after 2005, my job became more of an administrative job.  But we have had several amazing environmental educators after that.  Environmental educators that were also role models and counselors to hundreds of children!   Federico, Daniela, Alvaro, Mayra and currently Helena have been working with hundreds of kids in the Osa Peninsula.  I can’t wait to see what the youngsters from the next generation will become!  If they follow the footsteps of Miriam and Raquel they should be just fine!

This project has survived for 15 years because of your support and the support of people like you!  Thank you for these awesome 15 years.

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Corcovado Foundation

Location: Moravia,, San Jose - Costa Rica
Website:
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Project Leader:
Alejandra Foundation
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
$48,905 raised of $75,000 goal
 
284 donations
$26,095 to go
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