The measure of success in any social enterprise or NGO is the level in which it can sustain the change it set out to solve.
Unfortunately the problems at Ecuador Eco Volunteer in 2012 had put this project on an unsustainable course in which too much tourism was beginning to cause more harm than good in the communities and fragile ecosystems we had set out to help.
I have seen first hand the negative impacts of tourism around South America from Favela Tourism in Rio de Janeiro to the obscenely overcrowded tours that pollute the rivers of the Cuyabeno National Park in the Amazon.
Sustainable Ecotourism should strive to maintain that delicate balance between leveraging the intrinsic economic incentives that benefit local communities while leaving the smallest environmental footprint possible. This however is much easier said than done.
It is very easy, irrespective of the most idealistic of intentions that people who work in “ecotourism” hold, to lose sight of that balance and focus on the bottom line.
The warning signs that Ecuadorecovolunteer.org was slowly becoming like so many other volunteer work organizations that had lost their way were clear. An immediate change of course was necessary.
Welcome Our New Volunteer Programs
Now that I live in Medellin de Colombia and am working on a new project the amount of time I am able to invest in this site has dropped dramatically. My goal however to make Ecuador Eco Volunteer sustainable without my constant maintenance is well on its way and with that in mind i’d like to welcome some beautiful new volunteer programs to this site.
These programs are run by inspiring change-makers that are making waves in the environmental conservation and development communities in Ecuador. They are also programs that are run strict fiscal responsibility and whose major aim is to improve the social or environmental problems they set out to solve.
If you are interested in conservation work in one of the most biodiverse yet threatened ecosystems on the planet – the coastal forests of Ecuador – then this volunteer program is for you.
Conservation work with the Pachamama Army is the perfect way to get back in touch with nature and protect whats left of this incredibly fragile and stunningly beautiful ecosystem.
This one month intensive organic farming course on Hacienda Rivadeneira is based in the stunning Andean foothills below Sangay National Park. The course is one of the best of its kind i’ve come across and is designed to give you the skills and confidence in organic farming to secure your food supply in an uncertain future.
Mascarilla is a heartwarming Afro-Ecuadorian community in the northern Ecuadorian Andes that will surprise you, as it did me, with its incredible hospitality and with the friendlies in which it embraces foreigners.
The inspiring women that run this community revival program use ceramic art as a way to inspire the children of the community to take pride in their African roots and learn about the dark history of the horrible slave trade in Ecuador.
Here is video on the local Ecuadorian news that shows some of their amazing artwork that you as a volunteer can help make:
The ASONIC Foundation is a fantastic program that supports the parents of children who have cancer. The families of these children come from the countryside to the city of Quito where their children can undergo chemotherapy. Without the support of ASONIC and their admirable volunteers many of these family’s would not be able to afford the trip that may save their children’s lives.
The Omaere Ethnobotanical Park on the periphery of the Amazonian city of Puyo is a fantastic place where children, adults, foreigners and Ecuadorians alike can learn about the importance of environmental conservation.
The park is run by Chris Canaday who is a world renowned leader in conservation methods that use sanitation systems to stop the spread of water borne diseases and purify the polluted rivers of Ecuadors Amazon Basin.
How to Volunteer
The way Ecuadorecovolunteer.org is now setup means that volunteers can contact the administrators of these volunteer programs directly. All you have to do is message the administrator of the program by using the contact form at the bottom of the respective volunteer page and organize the details.
Best of luck!