TUL reflorestation for conservation of Lake Atitlan riviera ecosystem

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TUL reflorestation for conservation of Lake Atitlan riviera ecosystem

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Preserve the ecosystem by planting riviera tul, which provides the following environmental services: natural filter pollutants from the beach; control blooms of cyanobacteria as a natural competitor for phosphorus and nitrogen consumption, habitat animal species (fish, crustaceans and molluscs) of economic importance to human populations and the ecosystem of the lake, source of raw material for various crafts of the area; component of culture and tradition of communities on the shores of Lake Atitlan . Promote an interactive visitors center, to share with visitors the wonders of the ecosystem of tul, as well as cultural and spiritual resources of the plant. Involving tourists in the process of planting through a volunteer program.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Tul over-exploitation for many years to extract material for the production of various crafts, the lack of a regulatory body and the lack of regulations governing use of this plant has caused a significant decrease in the population of the bank's net Lake Atitlan. This decrease in net immediately affected the natural habitat of local waterfowl, fish, crustaceans and hostel used by migratory birds. Soil contaminants, particularly chemicals, flowed into the lake without natural barrier meant tul, increasing phosphorus levels in the body of water that ultimately benefited the cyanobacteria blooms in the lake. Without a natural barrier pollution problems worsened, this situation caused a significant decrease in the influx of tourists to the area promoting the breakdown of hotels, restaurants and local tourist agencies.

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

• Our efforts is to give impetus to a natural measure to reduce the presence of cyanobacteria through the planting of natural filter Tul that allows the integration of stakeholders to assist in the recovery of Lake Atitlan. • It makes use of local material, which results in saving time and money. Furthermore, the population is familiar thus encouraging ownership. • Revitalization of traditional practices, the net has not only environmental, it also has a cultural role in the Mayan population. Tul is a plant that is used in local sacred celebrations. The re-population of tul supports the rescue of ancestral practices and strengthens the local culture. Educate tourists about these practices provides a unique window into Mayan culture. • Raises a resource solution, adapted to the environment, the tul is endemic to Lake Atitlan which means it has naturally evolved into the lake. Serves as fixation of nutrients from external contaminants into the lake, while taking advantage of cyanobacterial blooms as nutrients for their development. This means that treatment will provide control of pollutants with natural systems. On the other hand, the tul is the habitat of birds and shellfish from the lake, which will enable the recruitment of those who have lost their habitat. • Free Acting nature. Being an endemic plant, only needs the time which nature provides for their development.
About You
Asociación Ati´t Ala´ ONG
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



Asociación Ati´t Ala´ ONG


, SO

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Asociación Ati´t Ala´ ONG

Organization Phone

(00-502) 4145-9426

Organization Address

Barrio Chinimayá, San Juan La Laguna

Organization Country

, SO

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, SO

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?

Tourism activities have increased the incentive to conserve the ecosystem of Tul through repopulation. These activities are mainly: 1) tourist tour to learn about the species in the ecosystem: the waterfowl that have their habitat within the town of Tul and fishing, 2) the production of handicrafts tul, which are an attraction for tourists, through a project to design innovation, 3) the repopulation of the ecosystem of tul caught the attention of national and international media, which have conducted interviews, documentaries and soon an exhibition, which has drawn tourists to come and visit the areas.
To realize the service has been organized Chupup Chajil Association ("Guardians of Tul" in Spanish) who are responsible for organizing and providing tourist services related to Tul. Moreover, this association is responsible for the protection, conservation and rescue of the Tul on the beaches that are within the municipality of San Juan La Laguna. Ati't Ala 'works closely with this partnership and with other associations around the lake.
On the other hand, they have organized a recruitment of volunteers, approximately 750 people during the months of September to November of 2010, including many tourists. It has also promoted a media campaign at national and international volunteering for the rescue of Lake Atitla.


We have developed a study that determined that the Tul is a natural agent capable of filtering pollutants from the soil, has great ability to compete with the cyanobacteria by phosphorus and nitrogen and is natural habitat for fish, crustaceans and local and migratory waterfowl.
With this knowledge have been organized in coordination with other local organizations and government, more than 10 days of repopulation of tul on the banks of the lake, this translates to approximately 15,000 net sown plants in places where the ecosystem ran the risk of disappearing. These workshops were made possible through the work of volunteers, including many tourists and citizens of other departments, but especially local population. One of the first benefits observed with the repopulation of tul is to protect habitat for fish, shellfish and waterfowl, on the other hand, the attention and awareness created in tourists visiting the area.


We hope for 2011 to:
1) Develop a visitor center for Chajil Chupup, including educational materials on the net ecosystem;
2) Develop and market craft tul particularly aimed at the tourist population;
3) Participate in a national exhibition to raise awareness about water issues in Guatemala, focusing our efforts to keep the tul;
4) A campaign of reforestation of about 3,000 plants Tul, including:
• 6 municipalities of planting;
• An estimated 6 local groups organized for planting;
• A campaign volunteer with an estimated 150 people;
• Income generation time 160 people by the activities of planting and harvesting of seed and stone;
5) Develop an education campaign aimed at children and adults about the importance of this ecosystem;

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

The success of this project lies in the ownership of local people in conservation and protection of the population of tul. To make this possible it requires a level of organization by the population, the recognition of this organization by local authorities and the regulated operation of recognized standards for the population of the lake.
Success also rests on the participation of volunteers who do not inhabit the area, between tourists and local visitors. It is therefore necessary to promote volunteer days at the time of year to become a tradition for the conservation of Lake Atitlan.
Interagency coordination is necessary to include NGOs, decentralized state sector and environmental authorities, to join or support the restocking of tul. So far this coordination has been effective.
Participation of international cooperation and involvement of the private business sector with commercial and economic interests in the area is also very important.
All this requires a promoter or facilitator of the process, for that matter, Ati't Wing 'has been positioned as such so far. During the process we realized the importance of working with young people and children and we believe that activities such as environmental education would support the success of the initiative. These activities require social financing and interest of the rescue of Lake Atitlan.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

During this experience, we found that one of the most important dangers is the variability. Hearty winter this year, has raised the water level in at least two meters high, in addition to productive land floods of the river, water has submerged the town of Tul. The submergence of newly planted plants did not survive, as the plants, although water, need to hold in the ground and process oxygen. In addition to the water was no wind that similarly affected the population of newly planted tul.
Another "danger" is the need for leadership of some organizations, which does not allow adequate coordination with regard to the recruitment of tul. In addition, environmental authorities bureaucracy and slow political action are also a threat. This has led the plantings to be mande out of season, which has exacerbated the adaptability of the plants.
Finally, there are many factors that affect tourism around the lake: the global economy, insecurity in Guatemala and other factors contributing to the cyanobacteria prevail, as the inefficiency of the wastewater plants, the use of phosphate-rich fertilizer and laundry detergents. With a drop in tourism, we would not have a strong market for the visitor center, selling crafts and volunteer participation.

How many people will your project serve annually?


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

Less than $50

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?

Operating for less than a year

In what country?

, SO

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Asociación Chajil Chupup

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 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 community sector and NGOs:
The social organization is crucial to the success of reforestation of Tul, in this regard have been organized local interest groups in eight municipalities.
We are working on developing a management plan, together with organized groups, which will be the proposal that will rise to the authority in charge of the Guatemalan National Council of Protected Areas CONAP. This initiative links to the political field is another area where local innovation in this initiative.
We are working with the tourism commission of Solola and local tourism businesses to create a program of best practices with environmental standards, socio-economic and cultural. We are raising awareness about ways to maintain the health of the lake, and the promotion of cultural tours and volunteer opportunities.

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

1. This innovation requires a regional regulation that links the national laws of environmental protection and international agreements to protect biodiversity and indigenous peoples. These rules may be applied to the permanent population, the population occasionally (tourism), industrial sector (agriculture), service providers (hotels, restaurants, etc.) and economic sector, in order to make this initiative sustainable.
2. The mobilization of resources by private enterprise, State and cooperation to ensure that seeds reach areas for reforestation.
3. Increase awareness of the importance of tul through environmental education and marketing campaign

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

Although the actions of Tul began stocking more than five years ago it was made for the purpose of controlling the operation of the plant for textile use, we identified it as the stage of rescue and preservation of Tul, especially in San Juan La Laguna, uses raw material.
However, the cyanobacteria blooms in the water body of Lake Atitlan, led to subject the plant to a series of investigations that led to the planting of tul helped to decrease the potential for blooms of cyanobacteria, in addition to complying with important green filter for pollutants from the soil of the basin.
The turning point of this innovation is the very flowering of Cyanobacteria. From this budding were explored solutions to counter the advance of the Cyanobacteria and the advancement of pollutants into the lake. In this context, all sectors related to the lake were willing to support initiatives to rescue the lake, so it is relatively easy to organize and boost reforestation activities Tul because of its high benefit to the body of water.

From this time have been adding interest organizations and volunteers in the rescue and conservation not only of the lake, but the net as an agent that helps to control this pollutant.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Ala Ati't team has a long history of innovation. When the three first team members arrived in San Juan la Laguna in 2002, there was no business and tourism did not exist. When the main economic mechanism of the people, coffee farming was destroyed by Hurricane Stan, our staff worked to create a viable alternative. That was how the tradition of weaving flourished in the house, working with women to establish cooperatives and generate a niche in the textile market, focusing on natural dyes. The next step was the demand for these products and the diversification of micro-empresasde San Juan.
We have worked to develop San Juan la Laguna as a tourism destination in the EU example, we design an image for the people and have launched an association of local guides to support and develop different circuits: a cultural tour, a bird watching tour, a Maya ceremony planting trees, a fishing tour, planting corn, among others that allow tourists to share the experience of ancient Indian culture, while generating new revenue for the people

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Email from Changemakers

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

50 words or fewer

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

Fundación Paz y Solidaridad, Zaragoza, España.

Please classify the applicant organization according to the options below

Community based Organization

What problem-area does your project address?

Access to markets.

How will your project address this problem?

Today, tourism is the second most important foreign exchange earnings for Guatemala, after remittances from the United States. Panajachel is the third most visited by tourists entering the country, which generates a significant economic boost in the region. One of the biggest attractions of Solola is Lake Atitlan, which is affected by the rapid contamination explosive visible in the outcrops of cyanobacteria, which has led to lost tourism revenue. Planting of tul to conserve the ecosystem of the basin will help to keep this market up for tourism.
In addition, we are creating a visitor center on the ecosystem, with the hope of increased tourism demand genre for fishing tours and bird watching. In Addition, We Are Creating visitor center about the ecosystem, Hoping to create a tourist demand for fishing and bird watching tours
Finally, we are working with producer organizations to craft the marketing of craft products nationally and abroad and hope to create a demand for products made from tul.

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

Directly: 160 fishermen in six municipalities that are responsible for the planting of tul, seed extraction and their management.
The 25 members of Chajil Chupup the municipality of San Juan La Laguna will benefit from the new visitor center.
At least 8 organizations.
An unquantified number of people involved in the tourism sector, which constitutes approximately 55% of the economy of Lake Atitlan.
Indirectly more than 50 thousand people live in the municipalities of the lake's shore.

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

It has been shown that the polluted lake scares the domestic and foreign tourism. For smaller organizations, it is more difficult to withstand the ups and downs in tourism. Because cyanobacteria, global recession, the perceived dangers of traveling to Guatemala, and storm damage agatha, tourism declined sharply last year and a series of micro-businesses approach us for help. The recovery of the water body has been shown to rescue the sector. By rescuing the lake has increased tourism activity and hence of micro-enterprises and linked to this sector.

A. Total Budget (100%)

US$ 35,000.00

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

US$ 17,000.00

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

US$ 10,000.00 en salarios de técnicos y especialistas.

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

US$ 8,000.00 en mano de obra no especializada y valoración de voluntariado.