Foundation for Conservation & Development

Completed Projects:

Toronche Phase I: Conservation and Ecological Agriculture of the Adjacent Slope Zones of Podocarpus National Park (June 1995-April 1998) – PROTO

In this project, the Colinas Verdes Foundation was able to help 27 families from San Pedro de Vilcabamba with the implementation of tree nursery gardens. The application of both micro-pressure and drip irrigation enabled us to create a natural forest model to utilize for both training and cultivation. In our test plot we were able to replicate forest plant production including fruit trees and plants. We were also able to grow grasses used for cattle feed and trees for timber. All of this was done with the addition of a 10km pipe running water from the protected forest named "El Bosque." This project, financed by the European Community, Inter-Eclesiastic Organization for the Cooperation of Development (ICCO) and Stichting Steun Door Rabobanken (SSR), resulted in 21 hectares of agri-ecological gardens and trainings for the 27 families involved in the management of the natural resources and water source protection. Another positive outcome of this initiative was a huge decrease in the risk of forest fires for the area.

Toronche Phase II: Strengthening the Participants (March 1999-May 2000) – PROTO

The second phase of this project consisted of educating the same 27 families in topics such as organization, farm layout and planning, training and continuing evaluation. Financed by Inter-Eclesiastic Organization for the Cooperation of Development (ICCO) and Stichting Steun Door Rabobanken (SSR), the results were an organized and in-depth land and territory plan for part of the Uchima River's watershed. Also an organic agricultural group ALIAGRO was formed as well as training given to the families in organization development, shade management, crop diversification and pruning instruction.

Shuar de Tayunts Tourism Business (October 2000-September 2001)

Located in the Upper Nangaritza Basin, this project was composed of 10 indigenous communities of the Shuar people. It consisted of a number of different action items: strengthening the Shuar organization and their capacity of representation and revitalizing the Shuar identity. The concentrated planning of territorial management and improving of production for self-consumption and commercialization were also action items. The Shuar de Tayunts Tourism Business Project also included an eco-tourism feasibility study to help promote their vast index of biodiversity and endemic plants and animals. The financer of this initiative was the Podocarpus Program (Embassy of Holland), and the project resulted in increased economic activity for 150 families, organized in ten different Shuar centers. Today, the centers are better organized, have greater inter-institutional representation, and have successfully completed construction projects such as cabanas to house the incoming tourists.

Phase I: Development of Agri-Ecological Irrigation for the Farmers of Masanamaca and Vilcabamba (January 2001-December 2002) – PROMAS

This project consisted of achieving a feasibility study to implement a pressure irrigation system and an organizational development plan. Co-financing came from the National University of Loja, Provincial Counsel of Loja and the Podocarpus Program. The results were an elaborate investigation into the feasibility and the study of the environmental impact a pressure irrigation system would have on the farms. The study included soil studies, letters, and plans for organization, management, and territorial structures. Situated in the Vilcabamba area, this project benefited 130 families located in the "buffer" zone of the Podocarpus National Park. This project was designed, found to be quite feasible, and is currently seeking funding for building the irrigation system and completing the remainder of the initiative.

Permaculture: Permanent Agriculture (January 1998-July 2001)

The Permaculture project was basically the implementation of a pilot farm where different experiments in areas such as soil types and conservation practices, vegetation differences (including organic vegetables, and small animal raising. This pilot farm was set up as a demonstration center for the local population to come and view different types of agri-ecological sustainable systems, permaculture techniques and as a place for individuals to exchange their knowledge of other practices already successfully implemented. The project was made possible by private donations.

Specialty Coffee of Vilcabamba (2004-2005)

In this project, Colinas Verdes assisted the local coffee growers of the San Pedro de Vilcabamba area with refining their coffee into order to prepare it for insertion into German markets. The experts of Colinas Verdes achieved this by teaching the local farmers about new preparation methods in "washing" the coffee, by trainings in new practices of the cultivation and maintenance of the coffee plants, and by organizing for commercialization. We counted on the financial help of The Regional Federation of Small, Ecological Coffee Growers of Southern Ecuador (FAPECAFES), Provincial Counsel of Loja, Corporation of Ecuadorian Coffee Growers(CORECAF) and the Germany Cooperation (GTZ). The following results were obtained: strengthening of the community organizations, improving the quality of their coffee and better earnings with these new exportation channels. Fortunately, this project benefited 45 coffee growing families in our area.

Unified Production of Marmalades and Yogurt in Yangana (2005-2006)

The endowment of equipment to automate the process of manufacturing marmalades and yogurt was essential to the success of this project. The Colinas Verdes foundation was also able to provide the people of Yangana the critical training they needed to become familiar with how to utilize this equipment in order to achieve maximum results. This initiative was financed by the German Embassy, Provincial Counsel of Loja and Colinas Verdes. The financial support resulted in the acquiring and installing of the equipment, the strengthening of the enterprise, and the improving of the economic situation of young mothers with families and students of the pre-association Manuel Benjamin Carrion de Yangana. With the addition of this small undertaking, a direct impact was made on the lives of 36 families.

Production, Transformation, and Commercialization of the Achira Starch (Canna edulis) (2006-2008)

Twenty-three families from the town of Palmira, Quinara parish, were helped by this project. Palmira is a zone characterized by a high percentage of immigration of young people and by a large variety of eco-type achira. The zone also has a tradition of artesenia products, and the achira crop has the very high potential to diversify the income of those involved. This project recuperated four varieties of the achira crop and allowed for the endowment of materials, equipment, and an infrastructure. In addition, the project created a small business that is dedicated to the industrial automation of the achira and further commercialization. Training has also been made available to the families. The W. Peter Scmitz Stiftung Organization of Germany was responsible for the financing of the project which has improved the family economies, commercialized the starch, re-energized the pioneers of this product, and strengthened the local organization.

Organic Coffee Production and Commercialization Improvement Initiative, First year (2007-2008)

In order to achieve the goal of reaching 400 families with this project, an in-depth plan that took approximately four years to achieve was implemented. The first year of the project consisted of strengthening the coffee growers' technical capacity and their organization through the coordination of the promoters, the field training, and the formation of a regional organization that combined all the coffee producers of five rural communities of Loja County. Improvements to the coffee processing were made through the implementing of certain equipment (de-pulpers, washing tanks, fermenting tanks, and de-pulping stands) and the building of drying sheds to dry the coffee. Through a number of different field trainings, the experts of Colinas Verdes were able to train the farmers in new techniques such as diversification of the gardens, production of plants of different species, and the rehabilitation and renovation of coffee plants. This venture was financed by Manos Unidas and Colinas Verdes and resulted in the formation of a regional organization named La Asociación Agroartesenal de Productores Ecológicos de Café Especial del Cantón Loja (APECAEL). Individual community groups of coffee growers were strengthened as a result of this project, and the coffee farmers began to diversify their land with other plants. As a result of this endeavor a relationship was formed between the local coffee growers and La Federación Regional de Asociaciones de Pequeños Productores Cafetaleros Ecológicos del Sur del Ecuador (FAPECAFÉS) which ultimately resulted in an increase of 50% in coffee sales that following season.

Projects in Progress:

Organic Horticulture Gardens for 5 schools (2008-2009)

The idea of this project is to donate vegetable seeds, materials and micro-pressure irrigation accessories to five schools in the San Pedro de Vilcabamba area. Students, teachers, and mothers are being trained in nutrition, in preparing recipes from the products grown, and in the process of organic fertilization from the usually discarded organic material from homes and gardens. The five gardens created in this project were seen to have a direct impact on the 300 children and families. Economic help for this project came from the German Embassy with coordination from the San Pedro de Vilcabamba local government. If you would like to offer support or volunteer in this project please email the Colinas Verdes Foundation from our Contact Us page.

Improvement and Diversification of Agri-forestal Systems (2008-2010)

This project is designed to help with the recoupment, propagation and planting of many different types of agri-forestal species. The idea is to enrich the farms of over 80 families by diversifying their crops, and then to train these families on environmental conservation, and the implementation of community nurseries. The project will also help to train these families on the rewards of the creation of additional infrastructure that will benefit the local coffee growers, and the construction of large open sheds to house birds and guinea pigs. The economic support of this project was generously donated through small endowments from the World Environment Fund. If you would like to offer support or volunteer in this project please email the Colinas Verdes Foundation from our Contact Us page.

Community Center for the Production of Plants in San Pedro de Vilcabamba (August 2008-October 2009)

With the help of the US based service organization, The Peace Corps, the goal is to have a small area for raising many different plant species and to conduct trainings on organic techniques and environmental conservation. It is the plan of both The Colinas Verdes Foundation and the Peace Corps to continue with the efforts of the previous coffee projects and to raise seedlings to replace the older, less productive coffee plants in the area. There will also be a greenhouse to raise other economically beneficial species to help the community diversify their crops and their offerings in local markets. Also, with this project other plant species will be raised that are essential to the local environment but are becoming less and less common as the area develops. This community center will be a result from the partnership between the Colinas Verdes Foundation and the United States Peace Corps. If you would like to offer support or volunteer in this project please email the Colinas Verdes Foundation from our Contact Us page.

Future Projects:

Through the completion of these projects and in the continual pursuit of our institutional objectives, we at the Colinas Verdes Foundation are looking forward to maintaining our efforts towards environmental conservation and the communal development of Southern Ecuador. Our areas of expertise and interest are in strengthening organizations, encouraging reforestation projects, educating community members about non-forest related products such as artesenias and honey, and in supporting agro-industries that will result in the production of achira, fruits, yucca, and sugar cane. Our goal as an organization is to improve the local well-being of our community and to elevate the standard of living of people living in extreme conditions of vulnerability and exclusivity.

Saturday, 19th September
Official Registration No.422-18-April 1994
Ministerial Agreement No.141-MAG
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