Sustainable Tourism Schools: Strengthening agro tourism and improving livelihoods in Sani Isla, Yasuni National Park.

Sustainable Tourism Schools: Strengthening agro tourism and improving livelihoods in Sani Isla, Yasuni National Park.

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.

Sani Isla, the quichua community where this project take place, already has a communitarian hotel that benefit them with social investment; Nevertheless, if they had a system to guide the tourist when visiting the community, they could increase their benefits from tourism, and could get an extra income for their livelihoods. The tourists will also benefit from this experience because they would fe

About You
Conservación y Desarrollo
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Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name


Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


Organization Name

Conservación y Desarrollo

Organization Phone

593 2 2243183 / 593 2 2240902

Organization Address

Carlos Guarderas N47-340 y Gonzalo Salazar

Organization Country
How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on
What makes your innovation unique?

The Sustainable Tourism Schools are a unique and innovative methodology. This methodology has proved to be 70-80% efficient when applying new knowledge. Traditional ways of training fails by disconnecting from local realities and its issues. The STS takes into account the community interests and what they want for their own development and from there set up a participatory structure to reach those goals.

The Community Sani Isla is looking for ways to get more benefits from tourism. We want to develop with them a structured day tour, so tourists will know more about the community traditions and how they make their way of living.

There are about 400 people in Sani Isla. They also live from diverse agriculture and have cacao farms. They have a collection center where they gather their entire cacao and are planning to build a handicraft house. The purpose of using STS is creating a day guide tour with the community that will put together their initiatives and that will probably benefit them by charging a low fee. This fee could be used as a fund to finance future initiatives or capitalized the up going ones. The tour may well include visiting a cocoa farm, their collection center, and in a short future, their handicraft house, where they could enjoy having a fresh made cup of chocolate and buy the handicrafts made by woman.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

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Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

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Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?

The first step would be designing three workshops under the methodology of STS. The first one would count with a survey to elaborate a baseline that will take into account the communities opinions about agro tourism, how they want to manage a group of tourist, and which sites, places and aspects they consider essential to show in this process. We will design in a participatory way the tour and stops and set up the responsibilities of the communitarian guides. It will be the base to elaborate a Step by step manual of communitarian agro tourism. The second step will put into practice with a group of tourist the design of the tour and the performance of a communitarian guide selected by the group. At the end of this practice we will have an evaluation survey for the tourists to know what they like and dislike. Then, with the training group will have a discussion about the tourist’s suggestions and the things they observed by their own. This way, we got an external feed back to improve what has been done. In the third step or workshop we will run a final survey to measure the same aspects measured in the initial survey to realize what has changed from the initial perspectives and what has been the most important thing from this experience. In this workshop, we will show the preliminary Step by step manual of communitarian agro tourism that will compile all the experience. The objective of this activity is to get the feedback and suggestions from the community and validate the manual as a participatory product. We will put into the consideration of the community how much they think the guided tour will cost for a tourist and the need of a communitarian fund to manage further initiatives. This will probably required to develop a further work. At the end, we will have the “graduation” of the group.

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

1- Innovative educational approach for a participatory management of agro tourism
2- Three workshops under the methodology of STS
3- 25 people trained and improved abilities
4- Communitarian and participatory design of a daily guided tour
5- Signalizing the guided tour
6- Strengthen communitarian guides ability
7- 2 Surveys (baseline and end line) and 1 external evaluation
8- 1 discussion to create a fee per tourist and communitarian fund (This may require further funding)

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 innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?


If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

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What stage is your Social Enterprise in?

Idea phase

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your Social Enterprise

18. Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with businesses? (no/yes)
Yes, we work creating networking among the tourism value chain. In that way, we worked with large, medium and small tour operators.
through organizations such CORPEI, INIAP and agreements with local governments
Partnerships are always crucial to scale up the success of a project. If the project has a good turn out, we could create the links with tour operators such as Metropolitan Touring, Surtrek, Tierra de Fuego or others currently working in that area.
Yes, through organizations such CORPEI, INIAP and agreements with local governments

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

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

As an NGO our main compromise is poverty alleviation and we strongly believe that education is the key to live in a better world. In Conservación y Desarrollo, we spend a huge amount of time thinking about ways to reach people, how we can motivate them to act upon their challenges and go further.
In December 2009, I was working in a workshop in Sani Isla. There were about 150 people. The workshop was about developing new economical opportunities for the community. All of the participants had great ideas about how to do it, and I wonder it why they haven’t done most of those yet. Why financial assistance or support groups haven’t finance any of those ideas yet.
There are great ideas all over the places if you look: some of them work, some of them don’t, and our challenge is get to make a good idea work. If you do not connect to people and connect with their reality, if you don’t hear what they say, nothing will change. This idea is not mine belongs to the community. Our input is to put this idea in a structure.
Everyone seems to want saving the Amazon from deforestation. But deforestation is happening and advances faster than our efforts. We have this beautiful place, the Yasuni National Park, probably the place with the highest biodiversity per meter in the planet. What is happening? Poverty is happening.
We believe that if we work together with the community, and develop their idea, and if they show results by their own, it will be feasible to connect them with tour operators functioning in the Amazon.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

I am a social communicator that puts in words and give a structure the Sani Isla community idea. I have worked for about 3 years in the Amazon, and about 2 years with Sani Isla, coordinating a regional project called ICAA, Initiative for the Conservation of the Andean Amazon, funded by USAID. If I have to describe the social innovator of this idea, I will have to talk about 400 people, and I guess that words won’t be enough. I just would like to say that is an innovative idea and we can make it work.

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