managed by Carolina P. (Communication)
“Vivamos el Bosque” started as a dream, became an idea and it is now a plan that is coming along little by little. It is a youth initiative and the name of our Roots & Shoots group. For those who doesn’t know, Roots & Shoots is a youth global movement inspired by Jane Goodall. It is active in 120 different countries around the world and it is all about making positive change happen—for our people, for animals and for the environment. Roots & Shoots aim to foster respect and compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs and to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place.Our group, “Vivamos el Bosque” is now part of this global network and we made our pledge to take action.
We believe that by joining hands, we can contribute to the protection of the Otonga Cloud Forest in Ecuador.
The Otonga reserve is located in the Ecuadorian northwest Andean region between 600 and 2300 meters above sea level. It covers an area of 1000ha from which 80% is primary forest, 18% is second-growth forest, and only 2% represents altered forest.
The western slopes of the Andes Cordillera, where the reserve is located, is considered one the most important hotspots of biodiversity in the world characterized by its high endemism. The Otonga cloud forest serves as important water reservoir for the lower areas of the region.
The Otonga foundation has done an intense work to preserve this endagered ecosystem with the active participation of local communities by improving the access to education of children by providing them with scholarship and support to reduce the low levels of schooling, high rates of failures and desertions, as well as to improve deficiencies in the infrastructures and poor quality of educational material. The scholarships program aims to support children and youth’s education has reached children from primary school to university and by now, it has reached near 1000 students in 14 years. In addition the foundation has provided support to improve the agricultural practices of the communities, by organizing workshops and training around beekeeping, livestock and tagua production.
As part of the Otonga’s program of research, education and biodiversity management, the foundation built a Center for Environmental Research and Education, Otongachi, in 2004. The main goal of the Center is to host schools of every level, especially the ones from the local communities, and community members to spread and reinforce the awareness and action toward the protection of the biological and genetic patrimony of the Andean tropical forest, as well as to build local capacities for alternative livelihood practices.
Currently the Center lacks an educational program and a business plan to sustain the program and the Center in the long run.
Under this context, “Vivamos el Bosque” is working to develop a pilot educational program for children and youth, in addition to a business plan that the Foundation could use to sustain the program proposed. We need at least 10 000 USD to start running the program properly, and currently we are working on our fundraising activity to make this dream a beautiful reality!