Is your initiative financially and organizationally sustainable? If not, what is required to make it so? What is the potential demand for your innovation?
• Our school is not financially sustainable – yet, but is organizationally.
• In 2 ½ years, we are generating 21% of our operating expenses through micro enterprises.
• We will reach financial sustainability within 4 years through enterprises/ franchises.
• As founder, I am an entrepreneur; generating our support, guiding our growth. Created interesting model of a for profit supporting a non profit.
• I have created a strong organizational team.
• Our students are our future leaders – our most valuable asset.
• 20% of Ecuadorians have emigrated. Our educational model meets people’s needs and it will be replicated.
How is your initiative currently financed? If available, provide information on your finances and organization that could help others. Please list: Annual budget, annual revenue generated, size of part-time, full-time and volunteer staff.
• Financing for Yachana High School 2007:
o $122,000 project funding received for expansion.
o $18,000 represents 21% of operating expenses we generated through enterprises.
o $67,000 cash donations.
o $33,000 from Yachana Lodge in cash,
o $90,000 approximately in kind from Yachana Lodge
• Annual budget 2008: $202,000
o $107,000 for salaries and benefits for school staff.
o $19,000 for food beyond what we currently produce on our school farm.
o $76,000 for expansion and new projects
o Yachana Lodge will continue to provide major support in kind.
The Yachana Lodge has 27 employees, of whom 92% are native to local communities. 65% are indigenous. We have an average of 8 part time students who work on their days off doing internships to get better training. We have around 3 volunteer staff most of the time, usually teaching English in the school.
What is your plan to expand your approach? Please indicate where/how you would like to grow or enhance your innovation, or have others do so.
• Visiting Ecuadorian students participating in our Youth to Youth program become ambassadors for new initiatives, from bottom up.
• Replication in Ecuador first, probably Galapagos Islands, then internationally.
• Replication needs follow-up. Our students and staff are visiting and supporting communities where interest is developing.
• Our students will graduate and return to their communities or other parts of Ecuador and be multipliers in establishing “networks of change”.
• Our seniors spend weeks in work related projects during their last year in other locals throughout the country; generating a desire to replicate.
What are the main barriers you encounter in managing, implementing, or replicating your innovation? What barriers keep your program from having greater impact?
Barriers to our innovation of a totally new methodology of education are the difficulty of getting teachers and students accustomed to working with our program of practical relevant education and not theory. Once they do understand, it is working wonderfully. Financial limitations restrict the expansion of the program, making it more difficult to replicate. All challenges that are forcing us to reach self sustainability. Our program is still young, 2 ½ years in operation. Our first group of students graduates in August, the beginning of a much greater impact. Our Youth to Youth outreach will involve around 675 young national and international students this year. With more funds, and time to promote, this program will have a far greater participation and impact. Our conservation and sustainable development program for visiting students from the Amazon will reach 1,800 this next school year, but limited by lack of funds to cover transportation and expenses of the program. Replicating the innovation is limited by fear of many to make a change. Our program of a “revolution in education” and creating “networks of change” within communities will help get more involved and feel confident to bring about change from the bottom up.