Digital Markets to community ecotouristic micro enterprizes in National Parks in Colombia

Digital Markets to community ecotouristic micro enterprizes in National Parks in Colombia

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The project will provide tools, information and technologies to six micro firms of farming communities and minority ethnic groups, which are in charge of offering eco-touristic services in the regional and global markets. The innovation is based in the identification of natural and cultural assets in each territory, the strengthening of the capacities of the individuals and the firms, the planning and the participatory management of the six sustainable destinations and the use of digital technologies for communication and the optimization of the access to the markets.
During its creation in 2000, the Fondo Acción has channeled its donations to 546 environmental projects and 112 child and youth projects, executed by a similar number of nongovernmental organizations and base communities in all the national territory.
Aggregated Investment: These donations add to more than $100.000 million Pesos (US $50 millions).
Sustainability: The Fondo Acción has invested part of its assets in international finance markets. These have been regulated by a conservatory policy of investment and have consolidated into a total of US $39 millions.
The main indicators for 2009 show:
• Creation of 39 new private protected areas, with a total of 12.300 hectares;
• Reduction of carbon dioxide by the industry and transport by a total of: 23,000 tons CO2e/year;
• Protection of 266 sources of water;
• Ecological restorations of 314 hectares with native species;
• Subscription of 345 conservation agreements and production with rural producers;
• 2497 rural certified farms with environmental stamps (Rainforest Alliance);
• Financing of the management of the protected area of Marina Santuario de Fauna y Flora de Malpelo (US $223,000)

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The problema is the distance that exists between the intention in the public policies to promote the offer of sustainable services in eco tourism from the community firms in protected areas of the country and the capacity and knowledge of these firms. The potential, in terms of public policy of this initiative, together with the richness of the territory, can be frustrated if the firms do not have the minimum resources: technology and the management tools to lead the firm in a profitable and high qualitative manner. At the same time local groups do not have the capacity to overcome the technological and managerial barriers.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

• It is a private investment associated with markets, new technologies, framed in a innovative public policy, equitative and inclusive. • It is executed by means of a partnership between the Fondo para la Acción Ambiental y la Niñez, an environmental private fund and CIACOL, a comercial fund that promotes touristic services. • The six community micro firms that will be strengthened offer an environmental sustainable service in areas of great eco-systemical value and heritage, under a stable contract with the Unidad Administrativa Especial del Sistema de Parques Nacionales Naturales - UAESPNN. • The project will position destinations and sustainable touristic offerts using digital technologies and participatory methodologies. • The eco touristic businesses will be promoted in specific niches by means of international platforms of commerce to assure autonomy and sustainable finance. • It is a new economic, sustainable investment because the final result is a commercial relationship between the community eco-touristic firms and the primate tourism trader.
About You
Fondo para la Acción Ambiental y la Niñez (Fondo Acción)
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name

Jose Luis

Last Name



Fondo para la Acción Ambiental y la Niñez (Fondo Acción)

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Fondo para la Acción Ambiental y la Niñez (Fondo Acción)

Organization Phone


Organization Address

Carrera 7º No 32-33, Piso 27, Bogotá, Colombia

Organization Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on
Would you like to participate in the MIF Opportunity 2010?


Do you have a patent for this idea?

What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?

El Fondo Acción has two investments in community eco tourism: (1) Programa “Aceleradora de Bionegocios Comunitarios”; y (2) Programa “Desarrollo de Capacidades en Ecoturismo Comunitario con perspectiva de territorio”, in partnership with Corporación PROCASUR ( In the first, it is possible to identify the impacts. The second, is still being executed. In the “Aceleradora”, the Fund invested $600.000 USD in 23 community microfirms offering green products and services. The impacts generated by the Fund are:
• The selection (in 2008) of Mano Cambiada by a part of Unidad de Parques to manahe the eco tourism services of the Parque Natural Utría.
• The significative and sustainble growth of the cashflow of service sales, by the four community firms. In 3 years, it increased from USD500 to USD45.000 annually.
• The sistematization of the best practices of the community firms. This product was used at the “Ruta de Aprendizaje en Mercados Verdes”, event developed in may 2009 in partnership Corporación PROCASUR.
CIACOL, partner of Fondo Acción in the present proposal for FOMIN, has developed a comercial platform used by more than 16.000 travel agendts in Spain and nearly 2.500.000 users in the tourism market. usuarios de turismo en el mundo.


The sequence could be the following:
• Presentation of Innovation Proposal to the different Stakeholders: Ministerio de Ambiente, Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial, UAESPNN, Ministerio de Comercio.
• Development of a adjusted timeline with the six involved firms.
• Identification of the involved territorioes and the conditions that each destination should have in order to offer a certain service. This would be identified as the base line.
• Joint definition of the strengthening program to be developed from a “club de producto” perspective: development of capabilities.
• Definition of the digital platform and development of the sale of eco tourism services.
• Investment in capacity building, formation of “club de producto” and improvement of locations to improve the service being offered.
• Audio visual and production material used for communication and marketing: photos, videos and texts.
• Delivery of digital platform-
•Delivery of final reports and closing of project.


• Formation of a “club de producto” in each of the six destinations: integral eco touristic offer –high quality, use of sustainable resources, high on income, and priorizing the wellbeing of the local communities that are involved in the delivery of the services and other communities of the region.
• Six eco tourism community firms with high quality offer and a scheme of management that allows them to be subscribed to UAESPNN.
• A digital platform that reaches the six communities and allows them to sell their services in the national and global markets.
• Sistematization of the innovation in order for it to be replicated by UAESPNN in at least three protected areas, or more, or other community sustainable tourism initiatives.
• Relevant increment in the income of sales of eco tourism services in the six areas.
• Report on goals, based on enviromental, social and economical indicators.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

The project would be developed in 16 months.
Year 1:
• Effective communication with the community firms, in order for the field work to be complete.
• Effective communication with UAESPNN, Ministerio de Ambiente, Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial y Ministerio de Comercio for them to be updated with the development of the innovation and hence be able to contribute.
• Flow of financial resources.
• Definition of the “club de producto” in each destination.
• Improvement of the locations and capacity building in the six microfirms.
•Systematic monitoring of the partners: Fondo Acción y CIACOL-
Year 2:
• Accompanying Scheme based on a procedure by Fondo Acción, certified by the Norma ISO 9001-2008.
• Reporting which offers information relevant to all stakeholders.
• Management plan to reach replication in other areas.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

• Failures in communication.
• Delays of resources from the different participants in the development of the innovation.
How many people does your initiative benefit annualy?

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$50 - 100

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy or introduce models and tools that benefit the tourism sector in general?


What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

In what country?
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Fondo para la Acción Ambiental y la Niñez (Fondo Acción)

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

The Fund has a partnership with the Ministerio de Ambiente, la Unidad Adm. de Parques Nacionales Naturales, la Agencia para Acción Social y Cooperación Internacional y 5 ONGs. The objective is to design a communication campaign to manage the financial resources and implement a fund sistem to assure sustainable financing and efficient management of the Sist. Nacional de Áreas Protegidas del país.
It also has partnerships with three firms that manage resources destines to strategic enviromental investments: Grupo Empresa de Energía de Bogotá, Uff Móvil y Anglo Gold Ashanti Colombia.
The key alliances are:
• Corp. PROCASUR: aporta metodologías para capacitación de organizaciones rurales de base (Ruta de Aprendizaje) y para la valorización de activos patrimoniales.
• UAESPNN: Sector público a cargo del manejo y administración de Parques Nacionales Naturales y Áreas Protegidas, aporta el marco de política pública.
• Six community firms, which offer sustainable eco-tourism services;
• CIACOL: firm which produces and commercializes tourism services and provides the digital platform.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

First year:
• Effective communication with the six community enterprises based on principles of trust and commitment, so that the field is appropriate and complete.
• Effective communication with the UAESPNN, Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development and Ministry of Commerce to be aware of the development of innovation and contribute to it.
• Flow of financial resources.
• Definition of "club"product at each destination.
• Improved location and capacity building in the six micro-enterprises.
• Systematic monitoring by the Allies and CIACOL Action Fund, to ensure balanced progress of the project: budget execution, performance and time goals.

Second year:
• An effective support scheme is based on the procedure as it has Action Fund, which is certified under the ISO 9001-2008 Standard.
• A scheme offering timely reporting of relevant information to various stakeholders and build synergy around innovation.
• A specific management plan to ensure that innovation is good for the UAESPNN replicated in other protected areas, or by investors in other parts of the country.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Between 2006 and 2007, the Fund made the call Action "Sustainable Bio-business" aimed at small business-friendly community environment. The Fund selected 23 micro-enterprises in rural communities and ethnic and gave them non-repayable grants of up to $ 25 billion dollars to finance the purchase and renovation of equipment and access to technical support services on the market, such as organic certification and fair trade, development and adjustment of business plans, advice on systems of quality control and brand health records, advice to develop new products and services, and design.

In this group there were four organizations offering community-based tourism services in the municipality of Nuquí, Chocó Department: Hand Changed, Eco Guides Coqui Joví Community Council and Community Corporation Los springs. The effect of grants given was important not only for the transformation of business but by the consolidation of an alliance aimed at offering a "Nuquí Pacific" as an alternative tourist destination based on local natural and cultural heritage.

In 2008, Mano Changed was selected by the National Parks Unit of the Ministry of Environment to manage ecotourism infrastructure Utría National Park. This decision was part of a set of policy measures (National Policy for Development of Ecotourism Guidelines for service concessions ecotourism Ecotourism Guidelines for Community) aimed at "strengthening ecotourism in the context of sustainable development to protect natural and cultural resources, improve the quality of life of the population and the competitiveness of the sector. "

Changed Hand selection was key to that in May 2009 decided to initiate Action Fund Capacity Building Program that will benefit other hand Changed 5 micro and community enterprises selected to serve community-based ecotourism in 6 National Parks of singular value ecosystem and cultural.

The Action Fund appreciates this public policy that recognizes and appreciates the natural and cultural heritage of the area and encourages the equitable sharing of benefits among communities. Our commitment to these ventures and the consolidation of these ecotourism destinations is total. We know that the challenge involves not only associated with the public sector but private, to give it a character of market and financial sustainability of these initiatives.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

II was born in Bogotá, Colombia. In 1985 I graduated from the Economics Department at Los Andes University, in Bogotá. As an undergraduate I was hired as research assistant by the University’s Center for Studies in Economic Development and worked in several research projects. After graduation I worked for the National Institute for Natural Resources and the Environment.
In 1987 I received a Fulbright Foundation scholarship and enrolled in the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York. In 1990 I obtained an MA in Political Economy, with emphasis in Race, Class and Gender. After graduation I worked at the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center at Hunter College.
Most of my professional life has been dedicated to the public sector. Between 1991 and 1995 I worked at the Colombian National Planning Ministry, where I led the executive unit in charge of implementing the country’s Tropical Forestry Action Plan. One of the main results of the Colombian TFAP was the creation of the Ministry of the Environment with financial support form the World Bank, the Inter American Development Bank and development aid.
In 1995 I was appointed Director of the National Program for Technological Development in Agriculture, implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture with funding from the World Bank. The Program and its competitive grants fund were showcased by the Bank as a best practice for the development, adaptation and transfer of sustainable and adequate technologies for small rural agricultural producers.
In 1998 I received a scholarship from the Chinese government and enrolled in Nanjing University where I studied Mandarin and Chinese culture. Two years later I was designated First Secretary in charge of Economic Affairs and International Cooperation at the Colombian Embassy in Belgium and the European Union. I lived in Brussels for two years and returned to head the Rural Sustainable Development Unit at the Colombian National Planning Ministry.
In mid-2004 I was chosen by Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm to be the Executive Director of the Fund for Environment and Childhood (Fondo para la Acción Ambiental y la Niñez).
I am President-elect of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds – REDLAC, an association of over 20 private and public members.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Web Search (e.g., Google or Yahoo)

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

No más de 50 palabras

MIF Opportunity 2010
Has your organization been legally constituted or registered in your country or one of your target countries for at least three years?


Does the applicant organization have sufficient financial resources to guarantee the co-financing required by MIF during the execution period of the project? (This amounts to at least 50% of the project’s total budget with 25% in cash and 25% in-kind.)


Does the applicant organization have experience managing projects co-financed by international organizations? Please describe below

The Fondo Acción has experiencia in managing projects en la gestión de proyectos cofinanciados co-financed with international organisms. Please see below the projects that Fondo Acción has co finances with international organisms.
• Iniciativa para las Américas: Agencia de Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional- USAID
Amounts: US $50 millones invested, US $32 millones in the patrimony, US $9,8 to be invested.
• Cuenta Acuerdo para la Conservación de Bosques Tropicales (The Forest Conservation Agreement-TFCA): USAID, World Wildlife Fund-WWF, The Nature Conservancy-TNC, Conservation International-CI
Anount: $US 11.7 millones

• Fortalecimiento de capacidades del equipo del Fondo Acción para la gestión de recursos con el sector privado: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Amount: $70.000

• Fortalecimiento de capacidades del equipo del Fondo Acción para diseñar estrategias de adaptación al cambio climático ligadas al agua: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Amount: US $180.000

Please classify the applicant organization according to the options below


What problem-area does your project address?

Access to markets.

How will your project address this problem?

Making viable the intention of promotiong the offer of eco tourism services as a public policy. The potential that this measure has as a public policy to assure the responsible use of the natural heritage, by the local communities. This would mean that the firms would have the necesary means, the technology and the business means to become more profitable and have the quality required by the leading markets.

Who is benefited by the initiative? (Please highlight the type and number of beneficiaries, and their role in the tourism value-chain.)

The beneficiaries would be direct and indirect.
The direct beneficiaries would be the 134 partners and the employees of the community firms and their families as well as all the companies in the service value chain: housing, eating, activities, etc
The companies that are directly benefited by this are: Asociación de Prestadores de Servicios Ecoturísticos de Guicán y el Cocuy Aseguicoc, en el Parque Nacional Natural-PNN Cocuy en Boyacá; Corporación Mano Cambiada, en el PNN Utría en Chocó; Organización comunitaria Naturar Iguaque, en el Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque en Boyacá; el Grupo Asociativa de Trabajo en Ecoturismo “El Santuario” en el Santuario de Fauna y Flora Flamencos; y la Organización Comunitaria Nativos Activos, en el PNN Corales del Rosario en Bolívar; y la Asociación Comunitaria Yarumo Blanco, en el Santuario de Fauna y Flora Otún Quimbaya en Risaralda.
The indirect beneficiaries are the product providers and services providers that complement them –that is the integral offer of the communitarian firms.

How will the project's results assist the region’s tourism sector and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises?

Varios Ways:
• Conformation of a “club de producto” in each of the six protected areas: eco tourism offer of high quality, founded base don confidence that assures the use of sustainable resources, and is a base of inflow for the community.
• Six eco tourism firms of high quality, that will have a contract with UAESPNN.
• Digital platform reaching the six community firms to sell their services in and outside.
• This would demonstrate that eco tourism is possible as well as profitable, taking into advantage information technology tools.

A. Total Budget (100%)


B. MIF Contribution (up to 50% of total budget and US$. 500.000 max)


C. Cash co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)


D. In kind co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)