Ecoventura: Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund

Ecoventura: Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund

Ecoventural Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund

Galapagos Biodiversity Challenge

"Galápagos is going through rapid population growth and economic development, yet its educational system is not developing at the same pace...[contributing] to a continuous dependence on professionals from mainland Ecuador and, consequently, an increase in migration to the islands. Building local capacity by training the next generation of conservation leaders is important... because we are building a cadre of local people who are committed to the unique Galápagos environment and can fill technical jobs, thereby reducing the number of people who enter the islands on temporary work permits." - María Elena Guerra, MBA, F&A Manager, WWF-Galápagos Program (WWF Galápagos Newsletter, December 2008)

 

In 2006, Ecoventura, together with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), established the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund (GMBF) with the objective of strengthening the local communities’ ability to manage natural resources through environmental education and marine conservation. Since the fund was created, it has raised $171,000, nearly $170,000 of which has directly benefited various projects.

Scholarships for Local Students

With the vision of helping future community conservation leaders, the fund has provided 23 scholarships to local students to attend a two year technical career program at the Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts & Sciences (GAIAS) on the Island of San Cristobal. These students pursue careers in environmental management, tourism administration and business administration, and, equipped with environmental knowledge and business skills, are prepared to tackle illegal fishing and other threats to the Islands' ecosystem. For many of the students, it has been a rigorous journey to adapt to a new system and live away from their families. In spite of the obstacles, the students have maintained an average GPA of 3.44 and continue to be motivated to learn from their professors.

Micro-Enterprise Development for Local Families

Funds from GMBF have also been allocated to benefit families of local fishermen by development of micro-enterprises for the wives of the fishermen, providing an alternate means of income, as well as helping create other tourism related businesses and reduce local dependency on the fishing business. In order for the new enterprises to thrive, the women are trained to manage and market their business, and given technical assistance to improve the quality of their artisan products.

 

>> See Ecoventura's member profile

 

 

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